Chapter 1: Ketki with mysterious dreams:
Ketki all of a sudden woke up from the sleep. Her face was sweaty, breathing was fast, and heart was pumping like a machine gun. She could not first understand where she is, her eyes were searching someone, something as if she has been looking for it since many years and it was just with her some time back and now it is disappeared! After some lost minutes, she realized that it was a dream, the same dream which had screwed her last two months, the nightmare that she was having from last couple of months which had made her helpless, psychic and crazy.
‘Oh sheet! When this fucking dream is going to leave me? Who the hell is he and why I see him? Why his happy face makes me sick? Where is that damn garden? What’s the connection with me? Why me?’ Ketki had no answers to those questions.
She was at the peak of her frustration. The reason of this frustration was the dreams she was having from last couple of months. Those dreams had ruined her life. She had many sleepless nights, and even she had got addicted to smoking. She was turned from a gorgeous beautiful looking young girl to pale, tired, girl who was looking like a 35-40 years old woman. Initially, she had enjoyed those dreams because the man in her dream was handsome, and even rich. She was more than happy to get herself connected with him. But as the days passed, she started having the chain of three dreams regularly, which turned her joy, excitement into fear and ultimately into the frustration.
Ketki lit the cigarette and puffed couple of times. As the smoke passed inside her lungs, she felt bit relaxed. She saw the clock; it was 2 in the night. ‘Oh no… 5 more hours left… one more sleepless night… I am getting sick! God, please help me, I really don’t want it anymore…’ Suddenly, her mind went back to the first night when she had a first dream. It was a garden where there were many trees, flowers. The garden was very well maintained. Flowers were full of many colors – red, yellow, white, which were very pleasant and soothing. But she distinctly remembered the muddy ground near to one small lake there. That muddy ground made itself distinct from the rest grassy ground. It looked as if someone had dug there, and then again put the clay or mud onto it to fill it. It was specifically different from the rest part of the ground which was fresh and grassy. When she had this dream for the first time, she had not remembered these specifics of it, she soon had forgotten them thinking it’s just a dream. What made her remember this dream was the repeated occurrence of it. At that time, she didn’t know the beautiful garden what she saw in the dream, soon going to screw her nights. But this was not the end of it. Next day, she had one more dream, where handsomely looking man was driving a car. He was fair, good looking, and clean shaved man, any girls could have had a crush on him at first site. He was wearing full sleeve white colored formal shirt, black tie and black blazer. Ketki strikingly remembered his smiling and happy face. He was also talking to the person sitting besides him, but Ketki never saw that person. Except him, everything else was blurred. But Ketki had liked that man and wanted to see him again in the dream or face to face. Her wish was going to be fulfilled soon, in the next immediate night. That night, she got the third dream which completed the series of dreams. It was the same man, but sitting in a room, which looked to be a kind of meeting room or a conference room. He was eating with forks, knife and spoons. He was wearing the same cloths. And again, everything else besides him was blurred. Initially, Ketki neither had any problem with the dreams nor she really noticed any special linkage among these dreams. But as those dreams started appearing repeatedly in a series, once or twice in a week, the linkage and the specifics became apparent and those dreams turned into nightmares. She started getting scared. Kind of fear grew in her mind. Ultimately, it ended up in sleepless nights for her.
As the days passed, the dreams repeated in a chain, in the same sequence. So Ketki had started to look through them deeply, more carefully and also tried to link those with each other.
Ketki came out of her thought process and realized that one cigarette was finished. She lit second cigarette, puffed once and again went deep down into the thoughts. ‘Have I ever seen or met him?’ She struggled really hard to remember but did not get any success. ‘No, I don’t remember him. He is not worth forgetting. What does he need from me? Do I owe him something? Is he in this world somewhere? I don’t know… I will go mad… Oh my god…’ Ketki held her head in her two hands as she got severe headache. Naturally, tears came into her eyes. She saw the clock, it was 2.30. Ketki had no other alternative but to wait for the morning. ‘4 and half more hours…’ Ketki thought and sat back and closed eyes, inhaling the smoke deeply into her lungs.
Chapter two: Varun with mysterious dreams:
2 days before, somewhere in Ahmadabad, India
Varun was sitting on the couch in the suit of hotel, looking at the ceiling with his dead eyes. He was staring at the hook of the fan continuously without any single movement. It was a dream which had disturbed his sleep. To get distracted from that dream’s after effects he had come in the hall of his suit and was sitting on a couch. The glass of wine was waiting for his sips but he had not touched that. Since he sat on the couch, he was staring at the ceiling. ‘Who that lady could be? A pale, emotionless face… was she scary or scared… can not make anything out of it… Why I am seeing the same face again and again? Every time, that girl looked to be very tensed and sad… And, what’s the connection of her with that garden? Are these dreams some kind of indications? Some kind of warning? Some bad is going to happen with that girl and I need to save her? Naah… I am going too far. Dr. Mehta also has said that it’s nothing like that… just a game of mind… Work stress and hectic schedule are the reasons or may be I have seen her somewhere, on some day in the past and it is there somewhere back of my mind and coming out though the medium of dreams… This explanation looks convincing, but what about the garden? I clearly remember that I have never seen it or visited it… Maybe in some movie? But why these dreams need to repeat in certain interval and in certain order? First the girl in the restaurant, then travelling in the car… every time I see her, she is sitting quietly, staring somewhere outside… and unfortunately everything apart from her is not clear… in fact blur… How can I help her even if I want to?’ Automatically, his hand went to the glass of wine and he sipped it.
Varun was getting the dreams since couple of months. It was a series of three dreams – First, a girl sitting in a hotel and eating with some other people. Varun could never see the other people, but he could make out that there are some people with her. The girl was wearing a white shirt and having golden bracelet in her right hand. But that girl always looked to be very sad, depressed. There was also a shade of some sort of fear or tension on her face. In his second dream, Varun used to see the same girl, but in the car. In that dream, she was wearing same shirt and was wearing sun glasses which hid her feelings and fear more rather than acting as a sun protectors. She was continuously looking out of the car window, thinking deep about something. Varun could always see only this much in his two dreams. His third dream was about the garden, which he had never seen before. The garden was huge, full of many kinds of trees and colorful flowers. He always used to see only the same place of the garden where there was a lake and many trees and a huge lawn. He had even tried to concentrate on some particular scenes and places in his dream, but could not make out much from it nor could link the third dream to the other two and to his life. That was more frustrating for him.
Varun had consulted many doctors, psychiatrists, and even hypnotists. Everything was in vain. Among all the doctors, Dr. Mehta, a famous psychiatrist, was able to convince him somehow and had taught him to ignore the dreams. According to the doctor, it was a mere coincidence and work stress that Varun was seeing those dreams and it was just a matter of time, within some days, it would stop.
‘Hmm… may be I would stop getting these dreams some day… Let’s hope for the best!’ Varun took one more sip of wine. ‘Anyway, tomorrow I need to leave early, so let’s go to sleep’, he talked to himself. He finished the glass and went into bedroom.
Chapter three: Mystery turns reality
Next day, at Mumbai airport
Varun had severe headache the moment he landed in Mumbai. The journey was also very boring. He had to catch the flight very early from Ahmadabad and the flight reached one hour late at the Mumbai airport. Varun came out of the airport and searched for the board bearing his name. There was a thin man waiting near the car parking area with the board having Varun’s name. Varun saw him. ‘Ah, thank god, this man is not late; otherwise I would have fallen unconscious here. Oh, this headache… it’s killing me…’ Varun rushed to that person and introduced himself to that person. That thin looking man was not only thin but his face was so bony that Varun could guess that either that person was from poor financial background or a heavy smoker due to which his chicks were almost sticking to his face bones.
“Hey, where are we going first? To the hotel, right?” Varun asked.
“Yes sir. Chopra sir has asked me to take you to the hotel first and pick you up at 11.30 to take you to President Hotel.” Thin man replied.
Varun sat back and closed the eyes. He was very tired because of his meetings and travelling. Today, it was a business meeting with American clients. It was a discussion for a new product that Varun’s company was going to launch. The venue was President Hotel. ‘Just one last meeting... That’s it and then 5 days of holiday!’ Varun thought. He was going to just relax and enjoy with his girlfriend after that. ‘Really long time, I have not seen Geeta. Finally, it’s the very chance I am going to have today. Just one meeting away from the heaven... I am going to disconnect myself from the world, no business, no meeting, no phone calls… Only I and Geeta.’ A smile appeared on his face even in the stress. When he opened his eyes, his driver had stopped the car in front of a 5 star hotel.
“Your hotel sir.” Driver opened the door and pointed towards the hotel building. Varun looked at the hotel building and asked the driver to take the luggage out from the car. Varun watched the time, it was 10. ‘Fuck! The bugger flight got late otherwise I would have got at least an hour sleep. Now I need to hurry up and get ready for the meeting. I am not going to get even half an hour for the preparation.’ Suddenly a stroke of pain ran though his right side of head. ‘Oh…’ he murmured.
At sharp 11.30, Varun’s driver came to pick him up for the meeting. Varun had just managed to be ready by that time and look through the presentation slides. He almost ran to the car which took him to the meeting spot shortly in 15 minutes. Outside of the gate, there were two board members waiting for Varun and one more member. When Varun reached to the hotel, they approached him and greeted Varun and asked the manager to take him inside, in the conference room. Varun looked at the hotel building. It looked to be vintage hotel by its outside appearance, a British construction. There was a lawn to the right side of the hotel building and a parking area to the left side. As Varun passed by the lobby, he had a feeling of Déjà-woo. ‘Have I been here earlier? No, I don’t think so because I am coming in Mumbai for the first time.’ Varun talked to himself.
“This way sir.” Manager said when Varun was busy in observing the restaurant which was at the left side of the lobby.
“Umm? Oh, yes, sure.” Varun said and followed the manager. ‘I have seen this place somewhere…. But where? Damn, I recently have seen it!!’ As soon as he entered in the room, he got shocked… He got stunned. All of a sudden, he remembered that it was the same restaurant which he was seeing in his dreams for two months. ‘Oh, yes, that’s the damn fucking restaurant! How can I forget it? It has ruined my almost 60 nights. I need to see that girl, was she there? I could not see her when I passed by the restaurant… let’s check out.’ Varun thought and asked the manager, “I will come in a moment” and almost ran back to the restaurant.
As he was running to the restaurant, his mind went back two months when he had this dream for the first time. The restaurant, its chair, the pale looking girl… everything rushed through his mind. ‘Yes, this is gonna end here. I need to find that girl and need to ask why the hell she was coming in my dreams and spoiling my personal and professional life. What’s my relationship with her? Why she was bugging me? I am gonna get this answers today. To hell with meeting and to hell with Dr. Mehta and his philosophy.’ Varun reached to the restaurant and looked around to find that exact corner and table where he used to see the girl.
“May I help you sir?” One beautifully looking girl came and asked. Varun turned around, she was from hotel staff.
“Umm? No, no thanks. I will manage.” Varun replied, but his eyes were searching that girl. Finally, he could see that corner; it was at the right side of the restaurant. He could identify that easily. ‘Yes, this is it.’ But there was no girl sitting on that table, the table was unoccupied. He suddenly turned around and asked that girl – hotel staff, “Excuse me. I… I have a question…” That girl was going back, but she came back after hearing Varun’s voice.
“Yes, how can I help you?’ She asked.
“Umm, it’s really silly to ask, but was there any girl sitting there, on that table some time back or yesterday?”
The girl got surprised, and asked, “What?”
Varun understood that he had made a mistake, but he still continued, “There, at that table”, he pointed out to that table, “the girl was looking very stressed out, tired. She was wearing white shirt and a bracelet in her right hand. Have you seen such girl sitting on that table in recent days? And yes, there were few more people sitting on that table with her.”
Hotel staff girl looked very surprised by this question and answered, “I am afraid, but many people come in this restaurant, even on weekdays, it’s really difficult to say whether I have seen such a girl or not, in fact, I do not recollect any thing now. But, any problem sir?”
“No”, Varun didn’t want to disclose anything, so he said, “No, nothing… thanks anyway.”
Varun returned to the conference room. Clients were not arrived yet. But they were expected any time. Varun sat in the chair, lost, but his mind was still in the restaurant, revolving around that corner chair. ‘I am here, at this place but I am not able to find that girl… It’s more frustrating. What can I do?’ His headache became even more severe.
Somehow, he could manage the meeting and lunch and he gain rushed to the restaurant. But no luck again, the table was again unoccupied. Varun was really sad and depressed. But he decided that he would come here again in the evening, and for the next 5 days. Poignant, he was about to leave, he got the call on his mobile. It was Geeta. Varun got really happy by seeing her call, for a moment, he forgot his all worries and tensions.
“Hi Baby.” Varun said, “Where are you? Have you reached?”
“Yes sweetie, I am waiting outside of the hotel, come out.” Geeta said.
“Yes, off course.” Varun said and hurried out to the hotel. Geeta was standing out. Geeta was Varun’s girlfriend since three years. She was around 25-26 years old, very beautiful fair girl, blue eyes, and a well maintained figure – in fact, she was having everything that a man would want in his girlfriend. “Hi baby” Varun hugged her. “It has been very long time. I really missed you a lot.”
Geeta hugged him tightly, “Same here. It was really hard to reach here but somehow managed. I am too happy and relaxed now. Five days – five days, only you and I.” Geeta said. She was very much excited. She didn’t waste a single moment and kissed him on his chicks. Varun felt really happy and calm when Geeta kissed him.
“Let’s go. First, we will go to my hotel room, and then we will decide next.” He said.
Next noon, in Mumbai
“Hey Ketki, you are coming with us right?” Archana came into Ketki’s room and asked her. Archana was Ketki’s flat mate and a colleague in office too. More than a colleague, she was very good friend of Ketki and used to share almost everything with her. She was completely aware about Ketki’s problem and that’s why she always used to distract Ketki from that. Now also, she had planned a day outing with Ketki and couple of more friends. That’s why she had come into her room to remind her and check whether Ketki was ready.
“Yes, coming. I am almost ready.” Ketki said. She was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. She was actually very beautiful but those dreams had turned her old looking woman. But today, in her white shirt and blue jeans, she was looking stunning, as if she had got her old looks back. “Ah, I should have been a boy, should have grabbed you at this very moment.” Archana said. It was her patent dialogue. Ketki just smiled and asked “By the way, are we going now to amusement park?” Ketki asked. “Nah... I don’t want to. We will go for a movie and then pub? What do you say?” Archana asked. “Umm… ok. Let’s go then. Pooja and Armina must be waiting at the street corner.” Ketki said. “Oh yes, they had called me 10 minutes back, they could be there at any time. Let’s rush.” Archana suddenly remembered about their call.
Ketki and Archana rushed to the street corner where Pooja and Armina were waiting in a car already. “Hey gals, what’s up?” Archana said. “
Hey, late again!” Pooja complained.
“Leave it babes, you know our Miss Mumbai, Ketki”, Archana blamed. In fact Archana had taken more time to get ready, but she blamed Ketki and started laughing.
“Hey Arch, don’t blame me… Hey, I was not the one who got ready late, this Arch was...” Ketki shouted.
“Anyway, get in, we will have lunch first, am very hungry” Pooja said.
“Yes, let’s go.” Everyone sat in the car and car started going. All of a sudden Pooja asked, “By the way, where are we going for lunch?”
“Not to that regular roadside hotel, I am not coming there.” Archana said aggressively.
“Ok, ok, where shall we go Ketki?” Armina asked. “Umm…?” Ketki was not paying attention to the discussion that was happening actually, she was thinking about those dreams.
“Ma’m, she is asking, where should we go for lunch?” Archana repeated the question.
“Wherever you say… I don’t have any preference as such.” Ketki replied emotionlessly as if these things were not much important for her. Archana was about to say something, but Pooja almost shouted, “Gals… I know one place. It’s a 5 star hotel. Today we will go there, you haven’t been there, right?”
“Which place?” Ketki asked.
Pooja kept the suspense and said, “Wait! Let me take you to that place. You all will like it!”
Soon, they reached to the hotel which was a five star. The building looked to be an old styled built, but still well maintained.
“Yakk!! Where have you brought us Pooja? Is this a five star hotel? What do you say gals?” Armina shouted. Throughout this whole journey, Ketki was very quiet and lost. Armina’s yelling brought her back into the world. When Armina shouted, Ketki just had a look at the building. It was an old building, but something was very much striking in that. Ketki didn’t realize what that was but she felt as if the building was calling her. In fact she somehow thought that she was somewhere connected to it though she was visiting that vintage building for the first time. Strangely and unknowingly she said, “It’s ok Armina; let’s try it out this time.” This support of Ketki boosted Pooja. “Yes, of course, you will like it.” She said.
All girls went inside and searched for the table. Only the right sided corner table was unoccupied. “Let’s sit there”, Archana pointed to that table and said.
“Guys, you go, I will come in a moment.” Ketki said and headed to the washroom. While on the way to washroom, she saw some people were preparing for a conference in a meeting room. The door of the conference room was opened. Ketki had a glance at the room and she stunned there itself. Her eyes split wide open and her heart started beating with the speed of rocket.
That was the same conference room which she was seeing in her dreams. ‘He used to sit in the room, yes, in this very room and in that chair’ Ketki thought. She even could see the chair on which the man in her dreams used to sit; it was right in front of the conference room door. She almost rushed to the room and peek inside. There was a preparation going on for one conference, but she could not see that person. She went back to hotel management and asked about the person whom she was searching for. Unfortunately, no one could answer her positively. ‘Oh man! Is this real..? Or am I in dreams again..? How come this is possible? Same room!!! Oh god…’ Ketki was speechless for some time. ‘The dreams are not at all irrelevant or random, they are pointing to someone, something, may be something bad for that person? Where is he? I am this close to that person. I need to meet him at any cost. I need to see him. I am sure I will see him today itself as I have seen this meeting room.’ Ketki made her mind. She even declared this when she went back to restaurant table. Everyone was shocked when Ketki told them about the room. It was really an unbelievable for them. It was a golden chance for them to find that man today and close the issue once for all, everyone understood that. Pooja immediately inquired about the conference room timing. The conference was going to start in an hour. So, all girls purposely took time to finish their lunch so that the conference would start. But by the time their lunch was finished, the conference was started and the conference room door was shut. Ketki again inquired with Hotel staff about the man whom she was looking for, but in that conference, there were all middle aged or old people, beyond 40-45 years of age. No one was of the age which she was looking for. It really disheartened her. In spite of coming to the same hotel, she could not see that person. She left her contact details with the staff and requested to contact her immediately if they see a person whose appearance is matching to that of the man.
Everyone came out of the restaurant, silent and confused. They could not know whether their decision to come to this hotel was blessing in disguise or not. They sat in the car quietly. No one spoke anything for three – four minutes. Armina broke the silence and asked where to go next. Everyone came out of trauma by that question. Then they had bit of a discussion on it. Everyone wanted to come out of that weird feeling. Archana was in favor of movie and pub. But Pooja insisted about a resort, a day outing there. Finally, they all decided to head towards the resort and spend a day there. On the way down to resort, Ketki was thinking only about the hotel and the man. She was silent and her dead eyes were staring out of the window emotionless. Though she had put sun glasses, everyone could make out that it’s not for sun protection; it’s for hiding her feelings and isolating them from the view of external world. No one spoke with her anything knowing her state of mind.
Within some time, they all were on the highway and suddenly Ketki shouted, “Hey, the same road! Yes, same road, that’s the road, I know it!”
Everyone got surprised, “What’s so special about this road, it’s just a highway!” Armina said. “No, it’s that damn highway which I see in the dreams. Yes, on this highway that man used to travel in his car. Oh god! I can not take it anymore, please bring him in front of me! Please!” Ketki was about to cry. No one could understand how to console her. They just shared the glance.
Archana said, “Ketki, leave that; please don’t get depressed, we are here to enjoy, to take you out of those fucking dreams. See, you are seeing those places in reality, which means you may stop having those dreams, think in this way. May be this is the only purpose of those dream…”
But Ketki was not in a state of listening anything. “Leave me on my way… Don’t screw up your day… Drop me here; I will go back to room.”
She said. No one obviously agreed to it and took her forcefully to the resort. Though no one showed on the face, everyone was bit tensed now. No one knew what is next stored for them. They all soon reached to the resort. It was very beautiful resort, with small jungle at the back of it. The resort had all the facilities for day outing such as hotel rooms, restaurants, games, pub, disco, small lake. All the girls checked in and got a room for a day and immediately came out for roaming.
“Hey, we will go to the lake side and there’s also a jungle behind. I guess at this time no one would be there. Let’s have some fun there. What do you say?” Armina asked. Everyone agreed and they started walking alongside of the jungle towards the lake. Ketki was tensed from the moment she entered the resort. She had a weird feeling that she was going to see her third dream somewhere there. She was in fact searching that place right from the moment she arrived in the resort. So far, she had not seen that, but as they all went ahead near the lake, there was a lawn, a green lawn at the shore of the lake. Archana saw Ketki’s face as she knew what Ketki used to see in her third dream. Ketki’s face obviously was changed and she was hell scared. She just dropped on her knees and started crying, “It’s the lawn, my third dream. I have seen them all today. I really don’t know why me?” Everyone tried to hold her and consoled her. Her shouting and crying left all of them in very awkward position in front of all the visitors. The people around them stared all the girls and thought that these girls were drunk and helping out each other. They smiled and went ahead. No one else helped them.
Ketki was sitting on her knees still, unable to stand. Suddenly, a site flashed in front of Ketki’s closed eyes and her body shook with a shock. She opened her eyes and started walking towards the jungle which was at the right side of the lawn. All the other girls got scared and they started walking behind her, shouting Ketki’s name and trying to pull her back. But Ketki was not listening to anyone, anything. She just headed towards the jungle and stopped at the lonely place, which was end of the lawn and start of the jungle. But this place was quiet lonely, surrounded by a jungle. Ketki’s eyes were dead and stand still. It appeared as if she was walking in a sleep and someone was pulling her towards the jungle. Her movements were robotic. She came to the end of the lawn and stopped suddenly. Then she pointed to the part of the lawn which was distinctly different from rest of the lawn. It was looking as if someone had dug there and then filled up that place again with clay and mud. After getting there, Ketki came out of trauma and saw the place. She got scared and stepped back a bit. But this time, she looked more determined and pointed to that dug place and said, “gals, something is hidden inside this… we need to see…” Obviously, no one else supported her idea and they all decided to call the police and the hotel management staff immediately. Within some time surprisingly Ketki looked much stable and by the time, police arrived, Ketki was much more calm and normal.
Chapter four: The dark side of the dream:
Soon police arrived with sniffer dog. Hotel management staff was also present there already. First of all police cleared the place and dug out the area that Ketki had pointed out. The scene was horrible. Everyone’s eyes split wide open and no one could utter a word. They were seeing such horrendous site for the first time in their life. It was a dead body of a man. He was buried in the lawn. When police took his body out, Ketki almost fainted. She screamed very loudly and said, “This… this is the man I used to see… Yes, same shirt, blazer, same face… He is the one! Oh my god, he is dead! How… how… could…” She could not speak further and started crying. Archana hold her and tried to relax her. She took her away from the site. But Police had already heard what she had said and it was obvious that police were going to get her for more interrogation.
In the police station after some hours:
“Yes, Miss Ketki, tell us the truth, how do you know this man? I am asking this question again to you and probably for the last time. I need satisfactory and true answer.” Inspector Mohite was bit pissed off by now.
“I am telling the truth inspector. I have seen him and that garden only in my dreams; I have not met him any time before. Even that place where his dead body was found… it somehow flashed in front of my eyes. I really don’t know how I got there but. What I remember is, I was standing in front of that place. We then immediately called you and hotel management staff. Please believe me.” Ketki pleaded.
Inspector came out of the room, frustrated. Pooja, Armina and Archana were waiting outside, worried and bit scared. Mohite came out and interrogated each girl separately. From everyone, he got the same answer. “Damn… this is foolish! I am not going to believe it.” Mohite said and went into his cabin. He called sub inspector Kamble in his room
“Kamble, these girls are fake, I guess they are lying. We need to have a watch on them. Any identification of the man? Anything did you get on his body?” Mohite asked.
“No identification found from his cloths or on his body. We didn’t find wallet or purse from his pocket. Looks like stolen. On primary observation, it looks like a gun shot - the cause of death.” Sub inspector said. “But we have got the details about the man, his name and the phone number etc from the resort catalog.” He was bit proud while providing this information. “His name is Varun Shah. He is from Ahmadabad and the number given was of his mobile. It’s switched off now. He had come in the resort for a vacation. Now the most surprising part – he was with a girl.”
“What? A girl?” Mohite was surprised.
“Yes, a girl, who looked to be of around 25 years of age. But unfortunately, when Varun and that girl had checked in, the girl had covered her face with a scarf. Only one waiter had seen her face once when he had gone for room service. We are in a process of getting her sketch ready with the help of that waiter.”
“Hmm… any contact with his family?” Inspector asked.
“Yes, we have contacted his family; we have got their address and home phone number from the mobile company. They are on the way.”
“And what was the sequence of incidences before his death?” Mohite stopped Kamble in between and asked.
“We have the information about the incidences, right from their check in which happened yesterday. Nothing special happened yesterday. Today, after lunch they both went out and”
“Wait, on that time too, the girl’s face was covered?” Inspector asked.
“Yes, it was. Also, they had their lunch in their room, so no one could see her clearly during that time. So… once they went out, no one from hotel management staff actually knew where they went… They never returned after that. After some time, around 2 hours later, we reached there and found Varun’s body and the girl is still missing.” Sub inspector informed.
“The bugger resort management and security people… someone came in their resort, murdered Varun, that girl is missing and no one knows about it. It’s all ridiculous. Someone must know or someone from them is involved in this. Where is the staff waiting? I want to talk each one of them – Manager, receptionist, waiters everyone. Get them here – who were present today and who were on vacation – get them all here.” Mohite was furious. “And also get the sketch ready as perfect as possible and send to every police station in Mumbai and nearby police stations. Check the police records for a girl with matching description. We may need to send it to Ahmadabad police station too. So act fast. Check with Varun’s parents, friends, colleagues about the girl. Check Varun’s mobile call records, received, dialed and even missed calls. See if we get anything from it. We need to find that damn girl. And yes, keep a watch on Ketki. Just get her mobile details too, those may help. Whatever she is saying, about dreams and all, look bullshit to me. Get our psychiatrist and arrange a visit once with her. Let our doctor confirm it. Also show the sketch of that girl to Ketki, if she by any chance knows her. That’s it for right now.” Mohite gave orders so fast that it became very difficult for sub inspector Kamble to note them down and understand those.
Chapter five: Another shocker
Next day, in Mumbai, Ketki’s house:
Ketki came to the house, very tired, sad and depressed. She had a meeting with psychiatrist appointed by the police and she was also shown the sketch of a girl who was with Varun. It was another shocker for her, it was Geeta - Ketki’s college friend and police were suspecting Geeta as a murderer or guilty for a murder. ‘Oh my god! How Geeta can do this? She has murdered Varun? She was not like this… And why would she do that? Just for money? Oh!’ Ketki collapsed in the chair and drank a glass of water. She was not in a state of talking to anyone or listening anything. She just dragged herself to the bedroom and got herself disconnected from the world.
“Yes Kamble, what’s the postmortem report?” Mohite asked.
“Sir, as we expected, the reason is gun shots. Two bullets were fired from just some inches of a distance. Immediate death… After the death, Varun must be buried there. This was done on the same day when we got his body. Just couple of hours back. This confirms hotel staff statement.”
“Ok, hmm…” Mohite sat back and put his hand on his lap, tapping on some tune of a song. He asked, “We interrogated many people so far -. Hotel Management staff, Hotel’s guests, Ketki, her friends – Pooja, Archana and Armina. We even enquired Varun’s family members, colleagues, and friends. Surprisingly, no one really knew what had happened on the day of murder, no one saw the murders or that girl, and no one even knew that Varun had an affair… It’s really strange… at least Varun’s friends should have an idea about that girl, right?”
“Yes, that’s strange…” Kamble said with some uncertainty.
“Not only this, but Varun’s parents were thinking that Varun was in Ahmadabad. They didn’t know that he was in Mumbai from one day before his murder.” Mohite said.
“May be he didn’t want his parents know about his affair?” Kamble asked.
“May be… but I don’t understand the need of so much of secrecy here. I mean everyone will at least let his or her best friends know about any such relationship. But no one was aware. On top of that, those hotel staff people and their security – It’s such a famous resort and they didn’t even have the CCTV cameras. No one saw the couple in the afternoon, no one saw the murderers… It’s ridiculous.” Mohite stopped talking as some insect bite his hand. No one spoke for a minute after that. Then Mohite asked, “What do you make out of this case so far?”
Kamble didn’t say anything. Mohite continued, “See there can be three possibilities which we have to consider and investigate accordingly. First possibility - that girl murdered Varun for money and buried his body. But it’s completely impossible from practicality point of view. Why would that girl murder Varun just for 10-15 thousand? I am sure Varun must not be carrying more than that and also, it’s not a task of a single girl to kill him and burry him. So this possibility ruled out. Second – There must be some more people with her who would have done that. Practically it’s possible for three or four people to kill him and bury him. But again what’s the motive? Some small amount? No. That girl was Varun’s supposed to be girlfriend. So she could have got married with him to get tons of money. So this philosophy does not fit into the theoretical aspect though practically possible. So this possibility also ruled out. Third possibility could be plain theft and that girl was not involved in this. The thieves might be present there already and might not be having any target in mind as such. As it was the lonely area, no one must have seen them. When Varun and Geeta came there, those thieves would have threatened them and would have asked for money and those thieves might have killed Varun to destroy the proof. But then why Geeta is missing? If the murder was just for theft, first of all no one really would take a big risk of killing – not even for destroying the proofs. If the thieves had killed Varun, they would definitely kill that girl too. But we didn’t find her body anywhere in that resort area. So till now, not a single theory is conclusive. But, at this moment, the third possibility looks more practical and has some motive. But everything stops at that girl. We need to find that damn girl to crack this case. Oh yes and what about Ketki?” Mohite abruptly asked.
“Yes, our doctor had a chat with her. He also saw the reports. They looked genuine. She is…” Sub inspector Kamble fumbled.
“What she? Tell me everything.” Inspector shouted.
“She also is saying the truth. She used to have these dreams. But she could not remember the other person or persons whom she used to see in the dreams. They were always blur. But yes, she has confirmed that the girl with Varun is Geeta. She is Ketki’s college friend. That may help us.” Kamble said.
“Excellent! I knew that Ketki has something related to this case. And it will help us, not it may help us.” Mohite stressed on word “Will”.
“No, may not immediately. Because, she is Ketki’s college friend and they are not in the contact since they left college. But we are doing our best. We will soon grab Geeta.” Kamble was about to say further, but the phone rang. Mohite had a talk on the phone, as he talked, his face changed… He looked to be very delighted and excited. Once the call was done, he immediately got up and asked Kamble and one constable to immediately come with him. No one could guess what would have happened suddenly and why Inspector was very excited, but everyone followed him.
Glimpse of hope, but…
During their journey, Mohite said, “Just some time back, I got the call from the police station from the village near Satara. They have got one dead body in one of the farms. The owner of the farm was plowing the farm, where he found something buried in the corner of his farm. He then dug that part of his farm and saw a hand of a girl. He immediately called police. A girl was buried and the face of the girl is matching to the sketch and also the cloths on the body are identical to those described by the hotel management. This is the key development of the case so far because though she is dead, we can get some answers from her postmortem report and from the statements of the villagers who could have seen the people who buried her there. But surprisingly no one from her family has contacted police about her being missing. Let’s see if the investigation could be expedited still.”
“Anyone has seen some people who could have buried Geeta?” Kamble asked.
“There is a witness, who had seen 3-4 people coming out of that farm on the same evening when Varun was murdered. They had some equipment to dig the ground in their hand. That witness saw them coming out of the farm, they got into one Indica car and went in the direction of Mumbai. But the witness, who is a villager, neither reported this incidence to the owner of the farm nor to the police. That was his biggest mistake. That gave the chance to murderers to run away. He even didn’t see the number of the car. So these are the hurdles in front of us. But right now, the important steps are, getting there and inspecting the postmortem reports and hoping that some thing good would come out of it. I wish we really would get something positive.”
When they reached to the Satara Police station, it was evening. Sunset had happened already and it was almost dark. It was a long and hectic journey. In police station there were local police and two villagers sitting inside. The body had been sent for the postmortem and fortunately the reports were available by the time Inspector Mohite and his team reached there. Inspector Mohite saw photograph of the murder site and also of murdered girl and verified that it was the same girl. The cloths were also matching to those what Resort management staff had described. “Yes, this is the girl! Did we get any identification of this girl? Any clue we got so far? And how is she dead?” Mohite asked.
Local Inspector Raut was an old man, around 55-56 years of age. He was inquiring local villagers when Inspector Mohite and his team reached there. But unfortunately, though he had found the body of the girl that was very much wanted by Mohite, the findings were not much positive or helpful. “No identification found, no I card or nothing. No purse. Everything looks either stolen away or purposely taken away to hide the identity. There are some marks on her hands and on neck. Throat chocking is the reason of her death. It’s a clear cut murder.” He said.
“Hmm… so no identification, you mean? Any clue which will take us to the murderers?” Mohite asked. His patience was getting over because he had come the whole way and found nothing except the body.
“I am afraid, but no. Apart from the marks on her hands and neck, there are no apparent signs of fight or resistance. No blood marks or scars. So the clues really don’t take us anywhere. By the way, he is Dinkar Patil, the owner of the farm.” Raut pointed to a person sitting on the chair in the left corner. “And, he is Ram Rao, who accidently saw those four people at the murder spot.”
Mohite directly turned to Ram and asked, “When did you see them? At what time?”
Ram fumbled a bit with direct question and said, “At around 7 in the evening yesterday. It was almost dark, but I could see four people walking out of Dinkar’s farm. They had something with them – some kind of equipment to dig the ground. They came out of farm and immediately went by a car.”
“Didn’t you bother to inform police immediately if they were not from your village and if you thought they are suspicious? It could have helped us a lot.” Mohite shouted. Ram remained silent. “Anyway”, Mohite continued, “you could not see the number plate also?”
“No” Ram said.
“And they went towards Mumbai?” Mohite asked.
“Yes, they went into that direction. They took u turn and went that way.” Ram said.
“No one else was there apart from you? Who could have seen them?” Mohite asked.
“No, I don’t think so, because Dinkar’s farm is very far from the village. I was returning from a neighbor village, so I happened to see them. But at that time, no one else was there.” Ram said.
Mohite was bit disappointed. He turned to Dinkar and asked, “Ok, Dinkar, you found the body in the morning right?”
“Yes, while plowing today, I got stuck at something. So, I dug there and saw a hand of a girl. I got very scared and called police immediately.” Dinkar informed.
Obviously, the information what Mohite and his team had got was not encouraging. They had got the suspected girl, but she was dead. Also, there was no progress from the case perspective as such. Girl’s identification was done, but no contact with her relatives. So, the case was almost stuck again, it was stagnant.
Chapter six: Twist in the tale:
Mohite got the dead body into his possession for the case and started back the return journey immediately. Everyone was depressed and stressed out. It was a failure again. The case was not going anywhere. Now only option was declaring in the news paper about the girl and asking her relatives to take her possession.
“Who could have done this? It’s a double murder case. Certainly, it’s not only for money, there’s something else. Here is one catch, if they wanted money, why would they kill Varun and Geeta? Also, why would they bring Geeta from Mumbai to all the way to Satara? There’s something else missing… a vital link…” Mohite’s thought process broke by a loud ring of his mobile. The news what he got, gave him some relief and a new hope for the dead case but at the same time a shock! There was a complaint lodged by Geeta’s husband some time back in Bandra police station about Geeta being missing from three days. ‘Geeta was married?’ It was a shock for Mohite. Case was certainly getting new twists and turns everyday. The photo of Geeta that he had given was matching to Geeta’s sketch. But he was not aware about all the incidences that had happened in these three days. So, Bandra police had asked Mohite to immediately come to Bandra police station. ‘I hope, I hope something I would get this time.’ Mohite prayed.
After some hours of tiring journey again, Mohite and team reached to Bandra police station. Geeta’s husband was not there, but Inspector Panchal provided all the details. The information that he gave was encouraging and was giving some direction for further investigation. “Geeta was married to Ajit Thombre one year back. Geeta was working in a consultancy firm earlier, but quit the job after marriage. She was a housewife then. Ajit used to travel in various states of India for his job and he generally used to be out of town for 10-12 days a month. During these days, Geeta used to go to her friends’ house because she used to feel very lonely without Ajit. Every time whenever she used to go to her friends’ house, she always used to be in touch with Ajit. But this time, it was not the same. Ajit had gone for a small tour to Bangalore and when he came back to Mumbai two days back, he got a note from Geeta that she had gone to her friend’s house. She had mentioned friend’s name as Ketki. This was a new name to Ajit. He had never heard about Ketki. But he believed Geeta and tried to contact her. Her mobile was switched off. He tried many times to contact her, he even contacted two of her friends – Shruti and Monica – these are their numbers.” Panchal gave the two numbers which Mohite noted down. Panchal continued, “But these two friends also did not know anything about Geeta. They even didn’t know about Ketki – who she was. Ajit got scared but waited for one more day. Today also, when he could not contact Geeta, he informed us immediately.’
Mohite was in deep thought. He was trying to co relate all the incidences so far. All of a sudden he asked, “Can you show me that note written by Geeta? And I also need mobile numbers of Geeta and Ajit. We are going to Ajit’s house now. Would you also be coming?”
“Sure” Panchal said and gave the details asked by Mohite. In the way down to Ajit’s house, Mohite explained everything about the case and Geeta’s murder news.
Soon, they all reached at Ajit’s house. Ajit opened the door. His eyes were sleepy. It was obvious because it was around 4’o clock in the morning. He got surprised by seeing some policemen at his door. He asked them optimistically, “Anything you came to know about Geeta?”
Panchal nodded. As they went inside, he introduced Mohite and his team to Ajit. Ajit was a middle aged, of around 30-32 years. He was tall and having a good physique. The house was also very well maintained. There were many photos of Geeta and Ajit on the walls of the drawing room. Mohite had a glance at every corner of the room and then turned to Ajit and said; “We have very sad news to share with you.” he then fumbled a bit and said, “Geeta is dead. We found her body near Satara. She was murdered.”
For a minute, Ajit could not believe on his ears and then shouted, “What? How is this possible? And who would kill her?” He could not continue further and collapsed in the chair. No one spoke for a minute.
Then Mohite said, “We have something more to share with you – equally bad news. It seems that Geeta had an affair with one man – Varun. Both were together for one day in a resort in Mumbai, where Varun was murdered first and then we found Geeta’s body on the next day near Satara.” Mohite then explained everything to Ajit and asked him a few questions about their relationship, Geeta’s affair, her friends, and her behavior. It seemed that Ajit was completely unaware about Geeta’s affair. He could not even guess who could have killed Geeta, so there was no much help from Ajit from an investigation point of view. Mohite didn’t bother Ajit much and asked him to come to the police station next morning to take the possession of Geeta’s body. While leaving, all Mohite could see was a depressed, helpless Ajit, sitting on the chair, looked as if someone has taken his soul out of his body. He was sitting quietly; tears were coming out of his eyes.
At police station:
“Kamble, I need all the call details of Ajit. All mobile call details, Landline call details. We will inspect his office landline later. First, get me these two details and yes, the obvious step, keep watch on Ajit. You know how to do it, I need not tell you.” Mohite smiled and said, “Also, get me numbers and details of Geeta’s friends whose names she used to use for meeting Varun. Let me see if they can help us here. And finally, get our good old friend Ketki back in station tomorrow. Geeta had used her name, so she must be aware about something at least. Even if she doesn’t know, get her. We will see what to do with her. Oh boy, the case is getting very interesting.”
Chapter seven: Final destination:
Next day in the evening, the Police team again reached to Ajit’s house. Ajit opened the door. He looked a bit surprised seeing the police team again. Mohite entered inside and asked him to sit on the chair. Soon, the whole team surrounded Ajit. Ajit got bit confused because he could not understand what Mohite is up to now, but didn’t utter a word. His palms were sweaty and his legs were shaking. It was obvious that he was anxious and scared.
Mohite straight away asked him in a commanding voice, “Ajit, tell us, why did you kill Varun and Geeta?” There was a pin drop silence for some time.
“What? Oh rubbish!” Ajit shouted, “Why would I kill Geeta? And who the hell is that man… Varun? I even don’t know him… Why would I kill him too? And I know Geeta very well; the so called affair between Geeta and him is also pathetic and cheap trick of police… she can not do such betrayal. You are not able to solve the case and that’s why you all framed the so call affair drama and involved me in that as villain? I completely deny these allegations… Let me call my lawyer, he will talk to you.” Ajit was about to call his lawyer, but Mohite grabbed his mobile and shouted, “Listen Ajit, we are not blaming you without any reason. We have the proofs and most importantly, we have with us Kiran – your good old friend and the culprit in the crime too. Do you need some more proofs or you are going to tell us now about everything?”
Ajit was now scared after hearing name of Kiran. But he was still adamant and re iterated, “I want a lawyer and you can not stop me from getting him.”
Mohite said, “Yes, we can not stop you, but if you do not tell us the truth, you will not be in a position to call a lawyer. Then certainly we will not stop you from calling him.” Mohite’s voice was so raised that Ajit could not hold himself further and said, “Yes, I accept the crimes.” Mohite interrupted, “Wait, that’s not how it will happen.” He then asked the constable to note down everything and get Ajit’s signature on the same as an acceptance and then asked Ajit to continue.
“We were married for almost a year now. But she already had an affair with Varun. She didn’t marry him because he was Guajarati and Geeta was Marathi. Her parents had opposed her strongly and that’s the reason she married to me. I was completely unaware about this affair. I suspected first time around 4-5 months ago when Geeta had gone for picnic with old friends and one of my friends saw her only with Varun in Lonavala resort. They were staying there together for two days. I even got the same kind of news from my two more friends when Geeta and Varun were spotted together for one day or half a day or so in some resorts or hotels. Every time, Geeta used to tell me that she was going to her friends house or with her colleagues and she used to be away for 1-2 days and even nights. As I am always away from my home for 10-12 days a month, initially I was having no issues with that because I too felt that she must be getting bored all alone and needed friends. But when I came to know about her affairs, I could co relate it with her staying out for one or two days, I used to get so frustrated. But I didn’t have any proof as such except what my friends used to inform me. But this time, when she again left a note for me saying she was going to meet her friend, some Ketki, I got to know that it would be Varun again. Fortunately, I returned from Bangalore on the same day when she left, but just some time later. This time, I wanted to catch her red handed. I really didn’t want to kill her; I just wanted to bust her in front of all her relatives and friends. So, I immediately called Kiran and I followed her. I saw her meeting a man, it was Varun. They met in front of Presidency hotel and immediately sat in a car and left towards south Mumbai. We followed them. They went to a resort. I was boiling by that time with anger, she had betrayed me and also she was having fun on my expense. I was not going to let her as it is. I decided that she would need to pay the price for it, a heavy price. We stayed there for some more hours, but could not get chance to talk to them. They didn’t come out by that time. I was very angry and wanted to talk to her right at that point of time. But Kiran stopped me and asked me to calm down and revisit the resort next day. I was not in a state of listening anything. Other plan had already started developing in my mind - to end everything at one shot. I pretended that I was calm and cool and asked him to return back. We returned back to his house where I called two of my friends who were working in a garage where I used to send my car for servicing and all. Kiran also knew them as Kiran is also a driver in a Tours and Travel company and he used to often go to the same garage. Once we were all together, I explained them my plan. Plan to murder Varun and Geeta. No one was ready initially but I gave them offer of 2 lakhs rupees per person. Then they were ready for it. And…”
Mohite cut his confession and said, “I will tell you the next. You sent Kiran and one of your those two friends again to resort to have a watch on Varun and Geeta. They saw Varun and Geeta only once in the evening, roaming in the garden of the resort. Next day, you all got one ambassador car from Kiran’s travels company and went to the resort at around 11.30 or 12.00 in the noon. You waited there for Varun and Geeta to come out. In some time you saw them coming out of the resort and heading towards the Lake. That was the right moment and location for you. It was the afternoon, very few people were there and the lake area is as such at the corner. You all followed them and caught them red handed near the jungle, in a corner. You and Geeta started blaming each other. You were so angry and furious that you immediately took a gun and shot two bullets on Varun. Obviously silencer was on, so no one could hear the gun shot sound. Varun immediately died. Fortunately for you, there were no one else to see you and suppressing Geeta’s voice was not a big task for you. We have even got that gun which you had thrown while way back to Mumbai from Satara. Finger prints will tell us the truth. Then you dragged Geeta to your car which you had parked near to that lake area. You specifically chose the jungle way so that no one could see you. You put her in the car and went till Satara. In a village near to Satara, you stopped a car near one farm and dragger her out of the car and you, Ajit, brutally killed her. You chocked her throat till death and buried her in the same farm. You purposely killed her in Satara because no one would anyway hold responsible you for these murders. You also purposely took Varun’s and Geeta’s money and ornaments to show that the murders were done for theft. Unfortunately for you, one villager had seen you. But you were unaware of that and you then started your journey back and threw the gun in the river on the way. It didn’t go into the river but fell on the bank of it and our local police could get that with the help of local fishers. The bullets prints are also matching to those found in Varun’s body which confirms that the gun we found was used to kill Varun. Then as you entered in Mumbai, you all split and went on your own ways. On the next day evening, you lodged a complaint saying you were not able to contact your wife, her mobile was switched off and you tried checking with many of her friends but still could not contact her. That’s what made you our suspect. What you said was half truth. You had contacted many of her friends but just to show how much you care for her. But you had contacted Geeta on the same morning when you murdered her and you even talked to her. Also, there was a contact between you and her on day before in the afternoon. But you showed everyone as if you care for your wife and you were really sad without her. You even pretended shocked and depressed when we informed you about Geeta’s death. I also believed you for some time but something was obscure. You had also told us that you had gone out only for some time in the morning on the day of murder and you returned back in the afternoon. This lie and your other lie of no contact with Geeta trapped you. What do you think, we are fools? We talked to your watchman and neighbors who had seen you coming back late in the night. Also, we got all the mobile call records, and we found that you had called Geeta twice and had talked for 5-10 minutes during each call. You also had got one call from Kiran on the same day immediately after Geeta’s call. We have every track of your calls and activities. Based on those details, it was very easy to make you the prime suspect. How we got Kiran? I know you have taken a great care while planning the murder and also while communicating with other three people. Your over concern put you in trouble. How we got Kiran? By your mobile call details. You had got only one call in a complete day on the day of murder. Nothing very suspicious and striking, but… when we tracked the person from whom you had got the call, we got to know about Kiran. He was working in a travel company so obviously getting a car with his help was not at all difficult. So we first thought to catch him and we knew that he must have been involved. We first got the information from his company about where he was on the day of murder. We got that he was on a tour and had driven ambassador car. This was fitting our information what we had. We got that car and inspected it. Some clay and mud was there in the dickey of the car. This was a miss from your end. What else we needed? We got Kiran. He proved to be very poor pray and spot everything very easily. That’s it, our job was done. Soon your other two helpers will be behind the bars too. But what was the motive for these murders? Obviously, the murders were not done from money, who would kill both the people just for some change and take great pain to burry them at two different places? It was obvious that the reason is infidelity of your wife. I know what your wife did to you was wrong, but what you did is worse than that. You could have gone for divorce… But, but… you chose the worst path of all – murder!’
There was a silence for couple of minutes. Ajit was sitting on the chair, quiet, ashamed and very dejected. Police did the rest formalities and allowed Ajit to call his lawyer. But it was so simple and crystal clear case that no one could have saved Ajit from a life imprisonment or a death punishment.
Chapter eight: A fresh start
Next morning, in Ketki’s house:
Ketki got up at 8 in the morning. She watched the clock; she was already late for office. But she was not bothered about it at all. After long devastating two months, for the first time, she had a very good sleep at night, no dreams, and no nightmares! The dreams had got their purpose solved. But she was still wondering why she? There are some questions which remain unanswered for the lifetime and this was one of those! She didn’t waste her time on thinking over it because her dreams had helped her college friend, Geeta! ‘May be I had to pay back to her in my life and I did it in this way!’ Ketki thought.
‘Life is a mystery and more we try to solve it, more it gets puzzled. So let it be as it is!!!’