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ravi s

Drama Crime Thriller


4  

ravi s

Drama Crime Thriller


Chapter 10: Seema and Mrs. A

Chapter 10: Seema and Mrs. A

23 mins 92 23 mins 92

The biggest and the most important piece in this puzzle was before me and I recognized her. She had no way to recognize me; I was just a layman wandering in the market. She did not look behind once so she was not suspicious of anyone following her. Why? Delhi police were on the lookout for Seema and would have alerted the police of other states also, particularly UP as Seema was born here. But I understood that even for the police, it was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Her scandal was a public affair blown out of proportions on the media and surely people of this village would have seen pictures of her on TV? What if someone recognized her and tipped the police? This is how absconding criminals are always caught.


Seema seemed carefree, for she had not tried hard to disguise herself. Yes, the pictures showed her in salwar-kameez and jeans with short hair. Her hair I could not see for she had covered her head with her sari as local women do in these parts of India. Yes, had it not been for my eagle eyes, I would have missed her. Maybe being a trained journalist makes me a keen observer.


Whatever it was, my journalistic juices were flowing fast and thick once again. I forgot about Lilawati and her problems. This was bigger than the biggest of stories and I would not miss out on this.


Seema was walking fast towards a predetermined destination, and the direction stumped me. She was walking towards the very house that I had left half an hour ago, Lilawati's house. Why? Was Seema going to confront Lilawati and take her hostage or kill her? Was this some weird revenge plan of hers? If so, Lilawati was in grave danger.


Seema must be a desperate lady, and desperation always makes people dangerous. She knew that her smart plan was over and exposed. There would be no money anymore for her. Her partners in the crime had been caught, and they had exposed her. It was only time before they will arrest her. Yes, she is desperate and I have to do something now to protect the poor and tormented lady who unfortunately was married to Swamiji. He had put his wife and children in grave danger and was sitting in Delhi distributing divine presents to his disciples. I could not have visited her at a more opportune time.


There was Mrs. A to reckon with. The mysterious Mrs. A whom only Seema can know and identify. Did A send Seema here with another of her brilliant plans?


We had reached the gates of the house by now and I was trembling with fear and excitement and loads of confusion in my mind. What if Seema was carrying a gun to shoot Lilawati and the children? My wife was trapped inside and was in danger too. Seema would not leave any witnesses alive. What if she was planning to plant explosives in the house and run away into anonymity? Highly possible. This would send a strong and clear message to the man who was her rapist and who could have made her rich by a crore of rupees or more. Seema was finished and she would finish Swamiji before going down.


I did not know what to do? I have never faced this kind of situation in my life and my mind was not helping me with any suggestive action. It was fear that was swamping me all over my body. 


Seema rang the doorbell. She did not seem to be in any kind of hurry to plant explosives and this confused me further. Why would someone planning to plant bombs ring the doorbell and expose her identity to the inmates? Seema did not seem worked up about the bombing, for she had not once looked over her shoulders to see whether anyone was following her. This was perplexing, her behaviour.


Sita opened the door, and my heart sank. I hoped against hope that Sita would recognize Seema and bang the door shut and raise the alarm. She did not. She was enquiring who the visitor was and passing on a verbal message to Lilawati about some woman from the village wanting to talk to her.


Lilawati appeared at the door and on seeing Seema she froze. She had recognized the woman who was blackmailing her husband and she would now raise the alarm. I urged her silently but frantically to shout to attract villagers. But she did nothing. She froze, but only momentarily and then hurriedly went inside the house with Seema following her. The stage, it seemed to me, was ready and set for a bloody showdown.

Before Sita could close the door, she saw me waving madly at her from the gate. She ran to me and I said:


"Sita, we must leave at once. Run."

"What? What is the matter? Why are you frightened?"

"That woman, she is Seema."

"You know the woman? Who is Seema and why don't I know her?"

"Idiot. Seema, the girl who filed the case against Swamiji."

"That Seema? But what is she doing here? I thought she was running away from the police."

"She is here to kill Lilawati and the children. We are in great danger and we must run now."

"Wait, wait. How do you know she will kill Lilawati and her children? You spoke to her?"

"No, but I know. Now run."

"But she did not have any gun or knife on her. I cannot understand why you are so afraid? Look, if she is actually here to kill the family, we must stop her from doing it. Come with me."


Sita was an idiot, and she dragged me into the house putting us in danger. Inside the house, Lilawati and Seema were arguing about something and Sita interfered in a shrill voice.


"Seema, I know who you are and why you have come here, please do not do it. Look, you should surrender to the police and let the law take its course. You cannot gain anything by killing Lilawati behen and her children."

Lilawati was surprised and stunned and looked at Seema and then at Sita.

"What is all this? Who will kill us and why? Who is Seema?"

"Madam, I do not know who this lady is or what she is talking about. Why should I kill you?"

"She is lying behen ji. Ask my husband, he knows the truth. She will kill you and the children. Please get away from her and call the police. Call you servants now, behenji, before she does something."

"Rajesh Ji, ye kya ho raha hai? Please explain."


I was fumbling with words. How to tell her with a killer close by? 


"Lilawati Ji, I don't know if Seema is here to kill you and the children, but that she has come here proves that she has something dangerous in her mind. I think someone sent her here to harm your family, some lady called Mrs.. A. Only Seema knows her, and she is the mastermind behind everything that happened to Swamiji."


"Rajesh Ji, you are not talking sense. I know this lady because she works at my house as a cook. She joined only a month ago. She came here to cook food for us not to kill anyone. Please calm down."


I did not know what to say. Have I made a terrible mistake somewhere? Was this not the woman I thought she was? Have I goofed up? I was looking positively silly and sheepish. Sita was staring at me with daggers in her eyes. She must have felt humiliated because of me.


"Behen Ji, we are so sorry. Actually, my husband was frightened for you and your family. He has been obsessed with the case for a long time now and feels it is his responsibility to protect you and the children from any harm. I think he mistook this woman for the criminal. We are sorry. What is your actual name behen? We apologize for shouting at you and calling you a killer."


"My name is Anamika. It's ok, I can understand. Madam, can I go to the kitchen now?"


The two ladies followed the cook to the kitchen, and I sat on the sofa with a thud. It blew me to pieces, and I had no face to hide. It was shameful of me to have jumped to conclusions and maligned an innocent woman. But how can two people look so strikingly similar? Anamika,I still maintain, looked at the replica of Seema whose picture I can never forget. 


Anamika must be Seema's twin sister or something. Such similarities cannot exist because God had made everyone unique. Only people with the same DNA can have similar features. If Anamika was not Seema, why did Lilawati freeze when she saw her at the door? Or did I just imagine that too! I cannot believe that I mistook Anamika for Seema, it just cannot be.


Even as my disturbed mind was tormenting me for my blunder, something struck me. Anamika was addressing Lilawati as Madam, which struck me odd now. Why would a maid in a remote village address her employer as Madam? Madam was the word I had heard before in connection with something related to the case. The real Seema addressed Mrs. A as Madam in the video I had seen. The video shot by the driver where the conspirators were discussing plans and revenue sharing. 


This struck me oddly. The police believed Mrs. A to be the chief conspirator, but they did not have her details or know who she was. Seema, however, called the mystery woman Madam and Anamika here was addressing Lilawati as Madam. Could Lilawati be the mysterious Mrs.? A?


Plenty of sound reasons came to my mind. Her husband ditched and abandoned Lilawati. She had the right motives to harm Swamiji. Yes, she could be the mystery lady, the chief conspirator and Mrs.A.


I was convinced that Mrs. A, madam and Lilawati were the same. But the only way to prove it was if Anamika (or Seema as I think she is) confessed or Lilawati came clean and there was no reason they would do this for me. But what really bugged me was what if I was wrong once again? I did not want more egg on my face.


Those who are familiar with Agatha Christie will know that in the very end of her mesmerizing stories there would be a showdown and the actual culprit would stand exposed. But I am not Hercule Poirot and this is not fiction. I wanted to play the famed detective for once, but I do not have any justification for violating the privacy of decent people. I was not a policeman or a detective or even closely related to the principal characters. I do not have the personality or charm to talk people into confessing their crimes. How then was I going to solve the mystery of Mrs. A?


Lunch over, we once again assembled in the hall. The children were there too. Anamika was preparing some tea for all of us. I was edgy, and I knew that I was ready to burst anytime now. Sita was looking at me with great concern.


"Lilawati Ji. There is something that has been bothering me and I want your permission to speak about it. Since it concerns your husband I will understand if you do not want your children to be present when we discuss."


"Rajesh Ji, you can talk about anything freely. I am curious to know what bothers you. Sita mujhe achchi lagti hai, I have taken a liking for her and I have shared a lot with her. I have nothing to hide from my children. So, whatever you want to ask me about my husband, feel absolutely free to ask. I think you are bothered about the scandal involving your Swamiji. Please talk and we shall all listen. Let Anamika also be here."


"Well, how should I begin? Sita has been Swamiji's devotee, and she encouraged me to go to the ashram. Swamiji impressed me and soon we struck a personal relationship. When he got embroiled in the sex scandal, it disturbed me because my knowledge about Swamiji was limited only to the interactions we had which were pleasant for me.


For reasons unknown to me and which I cannot explain to you, I started taking an active interest in the case. I wanted to know more about Swamiji and I discovered that his journey from being born as Hriday Narain Tiwari to becoming the most revered Swamiji and then a union minister was fascinating. I even visited his birthplace and Mataji's ashram where I met a devotee called Anabelle.


I could put a lot of information together to draw the picture of a very ordinary man who, by chance or destiny, overtook his own spiritual guru to become more powerful. He was ambitious and believed that he could play God. He had grown big in stature but he was human. His fondness for women began, perhaps, when he was being worshipped like God in Mataji's ashram. Mataji knew about it but did not make it an issue. The godman had forgotten that all it takes to be good and God are the qualities that we all aspire to imbibe yet find it difficult to assimilate within us. He saw that his wife and children were no more relevant in his journey and they would be impediments to his progress. So he sent them away, much to his wife's chagrin. She knew about his weakness and reasoned with him, but to no avail. She realized that her husband had slipped into another universe of his own where the family was not present. Despite knowledge of her husband's transgressions at Mataji's ashram, she outwardly defended and supported him.

Women are not as frail as we often make them be. Why women themselves project the image of being frail and helpless. The hurt and humiliated wife bides her time in a remote village, weighing her options and seeking to heal her wounded feelings. She cannot afford to fight her husband openly because she knows his strength and influence. But she knows that the best way to avenge was through his weakness, and so she devises a foolproof plan where she would not have to show herself at all, yet deliver her husband a blow that would demolish him and his world.


She needed a weapon; not a gun or a knife but a girl who can work her way into her husband's bed and then strike him where it would hurt most. Death is not as hurtful as the destruction of one's identity. The plan was brilliant. The weapon had to be carefully selected by the wife and skillfully deployed. Luckily for her, there are people other than her, who had their own who had strong motives and a deadly agenda for the godman. People within his party hated him for the progress he had made within their ranks. The weapon she finally chose was a very good one. One that had the exceptional experience of lusting men, drooling men and weak men. She had known every kind of man there was since she was a child. She also knew powerful men and thus could befriend two men from the godman's party. The execution of the plan depended on the money those involved could make. Nothing was free. Where could the money come from?


Mrs. A's brilliance showed here. It is possible that even though she was no more important to her husband, he still had some love left for her and the children. Being mortal, he felt enormous guilt for what he had done to them. The least he could do now was to ensure that they were safe and comfortable. The knowledge that his wife had discovered his worst secret made him afraid of her, and he dare not antagonize her. She had the upper hand, and she knew it, but never tried to play the card on Swami. Instead, she publicly stood to support her husband.


 She proposed to fund the operation against her husband with his own money. To make it sweet for everyone, she would ask for a sizeable sum of money, five crores. She would make some excuse if he asked. She knew he would never ask.


Swamiji should have been alerted when his wife asked him for the money. Perhaps he was alarmed but hesitated to ask her. I do not know the reasons. He could not have managed the entire money in one go and so told her through his trusted aide Pyare Mohan that the money could only be sent in instalments. It suited the wife.


And so the plan to humiliate, expose and destroy the godman was put in motion by the cunning Mrs. A. Only the girl she had hired for the job knew she was the mastermind, and the girl had sworn utmost allegiance to Madam.


Nothing could have gone wrong with the plan. For one full year, the girl kept the Godman busy with her charms and was even recording the events for posterity. At the right time, she struck and struck hard. The world exploded for the Godman and he could do nothing about it. But god helped the godman and that too through the very girl who was destroying him. The girl was an effective weapon but forgot that it could destroy her too if it misfired. The conspirators' idea to have taped evidence of their complicity in the crime was perhaps disastrous not only for them but also for Madam. 


So, here we are Madam. This is my theory and I could be wrong for there is no evidence for what I have said."


There was a deathly silence in the room. My heart was banging against my chest as I waited for the storm that would come.


"Rajesh Ji. Assuming all that you said is true, what do you propose to do?" Lilawati's daughter spoke for the first time.


"Ankita, I am sorry if what I said about your parents hurts you and your brother. I had to get it all from my chest. You know, your father's case has been haunting me and I got dragged into it. Maybe because I am a journalist, maybe because your father made a good impression on me. As to your question, what I propose to do with the information, I do not know. Frankly, all my inquiries and investigations really had no purpose other than to satisfy my curiosity. I am not being paid for this nor have I been commissioned by anyone to write a story."


"Then you must be told the truth Rajesh Ji. Your narrative assures me that you will not put us in any kind of trouble with the police or public. I believe you. Most of what you have said is correct but there is much more to it.


I hated my father since my childhood. We were poor and lived in a slum in Delhi, a single room 

Shanty. We lived with our grandparents, and space there was not enough for all to sleep. My grandparents slept out in the open with my brother. I slept with my parents inside. My father started sexually abusing me when I was just ten. I didn't even tell mother about it till much later. When my father got involved in a potential scandal at the Mehrauli ashram, Mataji called my mother to tell her about it and I accompanied her. It was there that I told Mataji and ma about the abuse.

Ma spoke to father, and they had an argument over me and his deviant ways. We decided that we would not live with him any longer and it was ma who asked him to arrange a house for us in her village. Father was not sure whether to let us go because he was afraid that we may act against him. He was fighting an election and had separated from Mataji. He did not want trouble at home. Ma promised him that she would never speak about him to anyone as long as he maintained us and paid for anything we wanted now or later. He agreed but on the condition that we would maintain as much anonymity as possible."


Sita looked like she was in some kind of dream. This was something neither of us was expecting to hear. What lay ahead I did not know.


"Rajesh Ji". It was Lilawati who spoke. "I know you are impressed with my husband and have a lot of respect for his wisdom. But remember, even wise men have flaws. They hailed Lord Rama as Maryada Purshottam, a person with the highest of ideals. Yet, even today we cannot understand his decision to put his wife Sita on trial by fire. There are explanations for it but no justifications if you look at it from a woman's perspective. Playing god is one thing and being godlike is another, and we err in our judgements on this. Mataji was godlike. She adopted the girl who was abused by my husband and tended to her with affection. She considered herself guilty for what happened to the girl. She cried when Ankita told her how she was abused. I wanted to expose my husband but Mataji asked me not to. I told her it was wrong to keep silent about his crimes; we would become his accomplices. She told me not to take any action in haste, something she had also told the girl's parents. I do not know why I listened to her, but I did and let my husband go scot-free.


It was Anabelle who consoled me and told me that my time would come and so would his time come to be punished for his crimes. She writes to me often and enquires about our welfare, but she has no role in what happened. She knows only because I told her.


It was Ankita who planned the sting. The more we sat here in our solitary confinement, the more we felt that my husband should be punished. We could not let him spoil the lives of innocent women. But we did not know how to go about it.


Pyare Mohan ji visits us with messages and money from my husband. He was close to Mataji but left her to join my husband at his ashram.He has good knowledge about money and even for Mataji he was the one who raised and managed funds. He is honest, and he knew about my husband's fatal flaws. 


During one of his many visits, Ankita spoke to him about her plan. Pyare ji was close to my children, and he wept when Ankita told him what happened to her. It was Pyare ji who suggested that we should talk to a few party people who were against my husband. He did not want us to be involved. He suggested Seema who he knew from Mataji's ashram. Seema had met Mataji in her Mehrauli ashram and had sought help to change her life. She had done many bad things but was not at peace with herself. 


Pyare ji was adamant that none of us should get involved directly. Seema spoke only to Pyare ji, and the plan took shape. Money was a big problem as Pyare ji told us that the price would be high. But he had a plan for the money too. The ashram was receiving huge funding and it would not be difficult for my husband to fund this operation against himself. I could ask him to pay with no questions asked and he would pay. Pyare ji took care of that and since he is close to my husband, he ensured that the funds would flow with no problems.


Seema did her job well. She even enlisted the help of some politicians and got some funding from them. The blackmail plan was hatched so that my husband not only pays for the operation but also for what he did to his daughter and family. Seema told Pyare Ji that they should share the money from my husband with all involved so that there were no complications. The politicians were happy because they not only got their own money back, they would get much more as a bonus and achieve their dream of destroying him.


Only my daughter spoke to Seema and that too on the phone. There you are, Mrs. A. Ankita. Ankita never told Seema who she was or what her name was. She asked Seema to address her as Madam. It was Pyare ji who told Seema that madam was, in fact, one Mrs. A who had also been sexually abused by Swamiji. As for Seema, her motivation, apart from the money, was Mataji. She had grown close to Mataji in her own way and hated my husband when he destroyed her reputation, name and ashram. Though she had never ever met my husband at the Ashram, she developed negative feelings for him.


The video was a mistake for which we all must pay. It was the politicians' idea. They were apprehensive about the blackmail. Primarily, they had wanted only to defame and discredit my husband. They were not interested in getting any money. But the amount involved was substantial and aroused their suspicion. They refused to believe that it was Seema's idea and demanded to know who else was behind all this. To pacify them, Seema told them about Madam and Mrs. A and even volunteered to go on video to confirm her intentions. 


How the driver got hold of the video is a mystery to all of us. They shot the video on Seema's phone, but no one knows how the driver transferred the video to his phone. We, however, know that he first went to Pyare ji with the video and demanded money. Pyare ji was alarmed, but he also saw that paying the driver would not solve the problem. We did not know how many copies he must have made of the video. Well, the story is almost complete."


All this was gripping but a lot for me to digest. There are some missing links.


"If Seema saw none of you, how is it she is here with you now?"


It was Seema's turn to speak. "When Pyare Ji told me about the driver and his demand, my first reaction was that we should pay him off. But Pyare Ji was not in favour of this. The driver then went to the police and gave them the video clip and this led to the arrest of my partners. I knew that it would not be long before they also arrested me and I asked Pyare Ji to help. I did not have any place to hide, and I did not know where to go. Pyare Ji knew that if I were to be caught, he could also be in trouble, though his name has figured nowhere. It was in his interest to protect me as long as possible.

So, it was Pyare ji who arranged for me to come to this village. Even he never told me about Madam or Lilawati ji. It was Ankita who told me. She is a kind woman and knew that I had done all this not for money but for Mataji."


All of us had spoken, and there was little left to say. Lilawati's son Ankush had spoken nothing, and it was he who spoke now.


"Uncle, we understand that all this must have shocked you and aunty. I don't know whether what we did was right, but I know it is not wrong. All our religious texts and Puranas say that evil will be destroyed. Lord Rama killed Ravana. Lord Krishna decimated the Kauravas. To destroy evil, they had to bend some rules and break some. But we know that this is not Sat yug, and here evil many times triumphs. The police will eventually apprehend Seema and she will have to come clean. Pyare ji too will be implicated at some stage. We all will also be exposed and arrested.


What will happen to my father? His name is already tarnished, but for how long? When we all get exposed, the public at large would sympathize with him. He was the victim of a sordid sex-sting and blackmail conspiracy, hatched by none other than his own family who he had disowned long ago. People do not know about us or our reasons for committing the crime. Ma will become a jealous wife trying to discredit her own husband with the help of her children."


Sita, who was all the while listening to us wonder-struck, seemed to be galvanized into action.


"I am so ashamed that I was a devotee of that fake and perverted Swamiji. I did not want to come here, but I am glad I did and had the chance to meet such wonderful people. All this sounds like a story to me, you know, fit to be made into a movie. Perhaps Rajesh will write a novel and it will become a bestseller!


I know that all you poor people are in a messy situation and there is nothing we can do to help you. We will both go back, keep thinking about the story for some time and then perhaps forget. But it is still an open case. Once you are exposed you will all have to face punishment. I hope God finds a way that you don't get caught or punished in this life. I have heard that our Karma always follows us and every Karma, good or bad, has its consequences. But I also heard that the karmic cycle can be really long in certain cases and that is why sometimes crimes go unpunished by law or men. I hope your karmic cycle too is long. At least it seems long enough for our Swamiji as he is placed comfortably amidst all this chaos that he had created. If any, his punishment seems to be instant and short-lived."


"I am sorry for what is happening to you all." I finally spoke. It seems someone engineered it in such a way that Sita and I too got involved in your case, what for I still do not know. I shall tell the story as it is to be told, that is the least I can do. All we can do now is wait for the inevitable to happen. I will pray for you. May God give you enough strength to bear whatever is coming your way."




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