DARE & SNARE
DARE & SNARE
DARE & SNARE
Yesterday –(Thursday) 2 p.m
Shyam, Gokul and Nimmy got into an urgent conference call.
Gokul: Hey, look we have two more periods of math and science. At sharp 4 after online school closes – tell your moms some excuse, let’s meet at the old church in the park.
Nimmy: I am so worried… Arun did not attend online class today. I tried his phone – it’s switched off! Guys…I think we need to report to the police….
Shyam: SShhhh – Nimmy shut up ! We can’t discuss this on the phone for God’s sake! We will talk when we meet at 4:30 in the evening. I will tell my mom that I am going to do a science project with Gokul and get away.
Gokul: Wear your masks and also change into ordinary clothes. Don’t come in school uniform. OK? Let’s meet at 4:30. Bring your cell phones guys. I have some very important things to tell you.
There was an old abandoned church – nearly in ruins inside an old park that no one visited anymore. The church was locked and boarded up. They locked their bikes under a tree outside the park and walked the silent path up to the church. Dry leaves crunched under their feet as they walked quickly. The park was unkempt as the gardener worked only occasionally. Luckily, he was nowhere to be found and so the kids hurried to the old crumbling church. They walked around the side of the church where they jumped to reach a window that was partly open. They pushed it open and holding on to the sill, they hoisted themselves up stepping on the cracked bricks of the church wall. They managed to climb into the dark and dusty church hall. There was nothing left in the church except a few broken pews and remnants of an old carpet, huge cobwebs and empty spaces. Shyam, Nimmy and Gokul walked up to the cool marble altar and sat crossed legged facing each other, their expressions worried and tense.
To find out Why this secret meeting took place…. Read on…
The Day-before-yesterday ( Wednesday) 5 p.m.
Well, they had done something terrible! A new boy named Arun had joined their school. He had shifted from Melbourne, Australia. They had not met him face to face yet, as school was only online these days due to the Corona scare. But they had come to know that Arun was an ACE Monster-slayer player. Monster-slayer was the latest action-packed online multiplayer game. Teams of 4 or more could play. In fact, he was even better than Shyam, Nimmy and Gokul – who were famously known as the INVINCIBLES. These three prided themselves to be the champions of all online games, especially Monster-Slayer game. Now, in walks a new boy and a champion with so many new tricks up his sleeve! That made the trio feel a bit insecure.
Arun missed playing with his old friends in Melbourne due to the time zone difference. He was a friendly boy and he had wanted to group up with INVINCIBLES for the upcoming Monster-Slayer world tournament. A team like that was sure to win. The prize money was in lakhs. However, the trio were reluctant to let him lead their team and so, it was Gokul who came up with an idea. During a group chat with Arun – he let Arun know that they would accept him into INVINCIBLE team, if he would do a DARE!
The DARE was – Arun must go at midnight to the haunted cemetery. He must also send them a live stream video of his dare. They had never thought Arun would accept the challenge. But he did!
On the evening of Wednesday, after school, Arun and the other three met in a video conference call. Shyam gave Arun clear instructions: You must go alone. You must not tell anyone about this dare. You have to spend at least 15 minutes in the graveyard at midnight. You must find the grim-reaper statue grave and must send a live stream video and then get back home.
And so, it began! At 11pm that night, Arun made sure his mother was asleep, then he wore his mask and quickly fastened the head gear video-camera that was streaming live. He then silently slinked out of his house, got on his bicycle and rode the 5 kms to reach the old graveyard that lay at the foothills. It was a full moon night. The roads were totally empty. On either side of the road were sprawling paddy fields and corn fields. Owls hooted and there were occasional howls from stray dogs. Arun’s heart raced as he rode along the silent roads.
Nimmy, Shyam and Gokul had put their phones on “mute” and silently watched Arun – live streaming. Suddenly Gokul excused himself and typed – “I have got to go now; my mobile phone data has exhausted. I cannot stay online. We will meet at online class tomorrow morning. All the best to Arun. Good night”. And suddenly… B l i n k… he disconnected his phone.
Nimmy and Shyam continued to watch with bated breath as Arun raced on his bike in the dark windy night toward the graveyard. They saw Arun reach the Cemetery’s gate and park his bike. He used his head gear camera’s spotlight to lead his way. He walked around the compound; stepped on a rock and hoisted himself up the wall. He sat silently surveying the graveyard … there were hundreds of graves with different types of head stones and crosses. It was totally silent except for the swaying trees and their moving shadows. Arun felt a shiver run up his spine. Nimmy and Shyam were fascinated to see the graveyard through Arun’s live-stream video. Arun pointed his finger toward the Grim Reaper statue grave so that Nimmy and Shyam would know he was headed in that direction. The statue looked scary even from this far. Arun’s wrist watch beeped indicating it was midnight. He jumped down from the compound wall and landed with a thud. He then dusted himself off the grime and started walking.
Nimmy watched the scene unfold from under the covers of her bed-sheet. She was gripped with fear – she wanted to tell Arun to head back and that it was okay! He had proved he was brave enough! But, she could not place a call as it would alert her elder sister who was sharing her bed. She typed out an urgent message to Shyam and Arun telling “This has gone far enough, let’s call this off”. But, Shyam who was very fascinated’ messaged back , “No! He has to finish what he has started. A dare is a dare!”
Nimmy and Shyam watched Arun head towards the grave. . However, no one had noticed a lone figure – that sat on the compound wall watching Arun with unblinking eyes.
Arun was really brave… he walked to the grave and stood near the statue of the Grim Reaper. He then took out his phone and clicked a selfie.
It was then that there was a sudden commotion and a sound of running footsteps.
Shyam and Nimmy were terrified – what was happening? They heard Arun yell – leave me, let me go. They heard something that sounded like a growl or was it a low-pitched yell? Then a thud! After that there was total silence and darkness.
Nimmy and Shyam did not know what had happened. They tried to reach Gokul – but he did not respond to any of their messages. So, they had no choice, but to wait until the next morning and try to talk to each other to discuss this very serious matter.
Now, lets get back inside the church – where the 3 friends are sitting…
Nimmy : Gokul – you signed off last night – after that we sent you so many messages – you never saw them ! Do you even know - Arun suddenly vanished from the cemetery! His camera just stopped recording and streaming and his phone also is switched off.
Shyam: Oh My God! They call it the haunted cemetery and we made him go there. Now the evil forces have got him. What do we do? Shall we go and tell his mom or the police?
Gokul: Guys, listen up! Don’t get hysterical. I need to tell you something very important. I think Arun is in danger. We need to try and find him. We have to go to the graveyard NOW!
Nimmy: What! Go to the haunted cemetery? Whatever is lurking there- will get us too. Let’s call the police…
Gokul: Listen up guys… I got a confession to make. I was there last night when it happened.
Nimmy & Shyam : What !!! You were at the graveyard? When?
Gokul: I lied to you both. After I disconnected from the video chat, I took my bike and went to the haunted cemetery to make sure Arun was ok. I peeked from the compound wall and saw Arun walking toward the gravestone. That is when I heard the screeching of brakes. I saw an open jeep with three men in it. They stopped near the compound wall too. Before they could catch sight of me – I just scaled the wall and jumped inside the cemetery and hid myself behind a tall headstone. That is when I noticed that the three men also scaled the wall and jump inside. Two of them were carrying bulging gunny bags. I was terrified – because I felt they had spotted me and had come looking for me. But, when I heard the three of them casually talk and laugh as they walked confidently zigzagging through the gravestones, I realised they probably were grave robbers. I kept a safe distance and silently followed the men. They went toward a big banyan tree and I could see that they were sliding and pushing a heavy stone slab off a grave. That’s when I realised, they were not grave robbers.
Nimmy : How do you say?
Gokul: Well, they actually dumped the two gunny bags into the grave and once again pulled back the stone slab and sealed the grave. Just as I thought they would head back to the jeep, they started heading in the direction where Arun stood. I could see Arun clearly in the moonlit night. In order to alert Arun, I sent an sms to Arun. But he did not notice it. So, I made a phone call to Arun presuming he would have put his phone in vibrate mode…but no, his phone rang shrilly and the men got alerted.
The three men ducked behind a tree and were peering at Arun. Arun had just turned the phone on, but before he could talk to me, he caught sight of the 3 men and he panicked and tried to run. But one of the men caught hold of Arun by the scruff of his neck and he flung Arun’s head-gear video camera into the dark. And he snatched Arun’s phone too and threw it into the darkness. It fell with a thud. I watched all this from behind a grave stone not far away. I was about to call 100 -the police, when I saw one of the men point a pistol at Arun. If I made even the slightest sound, I would not only have put Arun’s life in danger, but I could have got caught too! So, I kept quiet. The men spoke Hindi with a north-eastern accent. They questioned Arun, what he was doing there? Arun did not seem to understand Hindi – so he could not respond. Then, one of the men spoke to him in broken English – questioned him if – anyone else was with him? And Arun said: “ NO. I am alone”. Suddenly, one of the men said, its best they leave the place, just in case someone comes looking for this boy. They held Arun by the scuff of his neck, and dragged him along. After I saw all 4 of them scale the wall, I sprinted across to the compound wall and peered out. They had all gotten into the jeep and were driving off.
Shyam: OMG! What do you think happened to Arun? Do you think they would have killed him?
Gokul: I really don’t know. But, I got on my bike and tried to follow the jeep. I was far behind but wanted to know where it was headed. Once the jeep hit the dirt track off the highway – I could not follow them as it was too dark and the path - too uneven. But I do know that they travelled west towards the mountains. I then had to head back home. I almost got lost, thanks to google GPS, I found my way back and managed to let myself in using the spare key.
Shyam: So, what do we do now?
Gokul : We now go to the graveyard and see what we can find out. Come on guys, we have to reach there before sunset. Once it becomes dark, we can’t see much.
The three got out of the church and headed straight to the haunted cemetery. They kept to the side roads in order not to be seen on the roads by people. The lockdown had been partially lifted and so, it was possible that someone known to them would recognise them. Thank God for the mask that covered most of their faces.
At the graveyard, they parked their bikes near Arun’s bike that still remained propped against the gate – just as he had left it last night.
Gokul: Guys, lets first go to the Grim-Reaper grave – we need to look for Arun’s camera and mobile phone.
The three walked in different directions from the grave to look for the camera and phone. Shyam almost immediately found Arun’s mobile phone shattered to pieces about ten feet away from where he stood. It was almost 20 minutes later that Nimmy gave a squeal – “Guys – I found the camera… look it is caught up on a tree branch and is hanging by its strap”. Gokul carefully climbed the tree and got the camera off its branch. The camera was intact but for a few scratches. Then Gokul tried to orient himself to where he had seen the men pushing a large grave slab. They walked in circles and with the numerous graves and head stones, Gokul felt lost. He suddenly recollected a large tree that was in his straight line of vision from the compound wall from where he had jumped in. He then retraced his steps back to the compound wall and tried to recollect the path he had followed the previous night. He then looked straight ahead and there it was! A huge banyan tree! He ran toward the tree and yes, the grave slab appeared to have a slight gap. The three put all their strength and moved the slab. After some resistance, it slid sideways to reveal an empty coffin inside. And inside the coffin lay 4 large gunny bags.
Gokul : Four bags? They guys carried only two last night. Maybe they had left the other two here already.
The coffin was 6 feet below the ground and the bags were not easily reachable. With a fluttering heart, Shyam slid in and landed with a thud. It was dark and musty inside as they had slid the slab stone only about a foot or so, just enough to let one person through. He tried to lift a gunny bag – but it just would not budge! What did it contain? he wondered. He then tugged at the rope that held the bag’s mouth closed and then peered inside. He saw something that shone bright. It was an ancient idol of Lord Nataraja – doing the cosmic dance pose. It was made of some metal – that was too heavy to lift. He then opened the other three sacks to find more exquisite idols. One made of pure green jade. The other two of gold or some other yellow metal. They all appeared very ancient and priceless.
Gokul: Shyam, we can’t lift or take these away as its too heavy. And the thugs may come back looking for them. So, click pictures of the idols with your mobile camera and then tie the sacks again with the ropes and leave them just the way you found them.
Once Shyam was out, they pushed the slab back and closed the grave. The trio then headed to Gokul’s house. Luckily, Gokul’s parents usually returned late after they closed and locked up their family restaurant. Gokul’s elder brother was nowhere to be seen. They got the room to themselves. They plugged the camera to Gokuls’ laptop and played the recorded video of last night’s happenings.
They re-lived the scary moments – as they watched Arun start from home and go to the graveyard and just before he got caught – there was a glimpse of the three men heading toward him from the darkness. The clip was not very clear due to the dim lighting during night.
Shyam: Guys, my sister works for the state museum. She knows people who can enhance the quality of pictures… because in museums they constantly have to restore old masterpieces that have faded.
Nimmy: She will want to know what all this is about and if we tell her, she could reports us to the police – we are sure to go to jail. All three of us! And goodbye to school. They will give us TC for sure.
Shyam: My sister won’t tell anyone. Let me call her mobile number and talk to her right now…
Gokul and Nimmy listened on to one side of the conversation that went something like this…
Hello– Akka – where are you? What? Oh so, you are staying over at Priya’s is it ? Will you be going to work tomorrow at the museum - yes ? Good ! Well, I have something very important to share with you. I and my friends may have found some hidden treasure – some old idols – dating back several centuries… yes.
No, I can’t tell you anymore. In exchange for the full information, we need your help… to enhance and sharpen the images in a small video clip we have. Eh…..I can’t tell you anything more now. If you promise.. we will keep our end of the bargain and you will get all the credits from the Archaeological society for unearthing such priceless pieces of ancient art.
Ok akka ! see you tomorrow at the museum.
Gokul : Guys, we gotta bunk online class tomorrow. We have to go to the museum. I am going to transfer the video clip of the three thugs and the idol photos to a pen-drive. Guys… one more thing… we all need to delete all our chats and conversations, pictures of the idols and video call history with Arun, every single thing from our mobile phones has got to be deleted. Because, if he has not returned home yet.. his family is sure to report to the police. In case the police decide to check the phones of all his classmates… we could be in trouble. So, delete everything- right NOW !
Today - ( Friday) morning 4 a.m.
Latha, Arun’s mother – reached the police station at 4 a.m. She was accompanied by two of her work colleagues.
Latha: Sir my son Arun is missing from yesterday, this is his photo…I don’t know what to do… please help me.
Police Inspector: Madam, calm down…. Please get her some water, switch on the fan…constable. Madam, begin from the beginning… How old is your son and when did u last see your son?
Latha: My son is 12 years old and is a 6th standard student. It was day before yesterday -Wednesday night during dinner around 8 p.m. that I remember last seeing Arun. After dinner, he went straight to his room.
Police Inspector: When did you realise, he has gone missing?
Latha: Sir, on weekdays, my son goes to bed by 10 p.m. because he has to be up and ready by 8:30 a.m. for school online classes. I work in a bank and it is far away so, I wake up early, cook, leave breakfast and lunch on the table and drive to work by 7 a.m. On Thursday ( yesterday) morning, before I left for work, I checked in on Arun’s room – his bed was neatly made but he was not in the room. I presumed he was in the shower and left his chocolate drink on his study table with a note to him instructing him to run some errands for me.
Later that evening, when I returned from work at around 7pm, Arun was nowhere to be seen. When I return, I usually find him playing online games with his mobile or watching TV. That day, the house was very quiet when I entered. I called out to Arun and went into his room only to find the untouched glass of chocolate drink I had made that morning. I grew anxious and called Arun’s mobile phone. It was switched off. I immediately called Arun’s school teachers. They said he had not reported to online class in the morning and they had even sent me an sms regarding this, which I had failed to see.
Police Inspector: So, why did you not come to the police station last night itself when you found he was missing?
Latha: With the help of Arun’s teachers we got the numbers of some of the students of his class and we even called them. Unfortunately, no one seems to know much about Arun as he has joined only 2 months ago and has not met any of his classmates’ face to face. It has only been online classes due to lockdown. We even called Arun’s old Melbourne friends to find out if they knew anything. Unfortunately, no one seems to know anything about his sudden disappearance. With the help of some of my colleagues, I went looking for him everywhere last night and not finding him, I came here first thing this morning.
Police Inspector: Have you gone through Arun’s stuff and things? Did you find anything missing – like clothes, money etc?
Latha: Only his mobile phone, his bike and his sports shoes are missing. Nothing else is missing.
Police Inspector: Did your son have a laptop?
Latha: yes. He used that for his school work and online classes from school.
Police Inspector: Madam, I shall assign a team to work on this case. Don’t worry, we shall find your son.
The police Inspector called for a meeting of a team of 5 detectives. Duties were assigned. Two detectives were assigned to inspect Arun’s house, get his laptop and have the cyber team look for all possible clues. Another police man was asked to go to the telephone company and get the phone records of Arun’s mobile phone number; so that they would know if he received or made any calls. Alerts with photos of Arun were sent to all police stations in the city and also to other states.
Within a few hours, the cyber team cracked the passwords of Arun’s Gmail, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram accounts and were able to unearth several chats that Arun had been having with a group of 3 friends. The class teacher confirmed that the three were her class students.
The police immediately summoned Shyam, Gokul and Nimmy and their parents to the police station. The cyber experts were able to extract and get hold of the files and chats that had been recently deleted from their phones. Confronted with evidence of their chats with Arun, as planned earlier, all 3 students confessed that they had been in touch with Arun, but only discussing about the upcoming Monster-Slayer International tournament and the strategies they could use.
Police Inspector: Tell us without hiding anything and you will be spared… this is a very serious matter!
Shyam: Sir – Arun was new to the school and he was very good in Monster-Slayer online game. Because of the time zone difference, he was not able to team-up with his old friends in Australia. So he joined our team for a few games because we three (myself, Gokul and Nimmy) are one of the best teams. The world tournament of Monster-Slayer online gaming event is coming up and the prize money is more than one lakh rupees. So, we chatted about strategies. Nothing else.
Police Inspector: The phone records show that the three of you had been talking to him on phone and even had a video chat till 12 midnight on Wednesday. All three of you have tried to delete the video chat and call histories from your mobiles. Why did you do that? It seems suspicious that he went missing right after your video call. What were you discussing in the video call?
Nimmy, Gokul and shyam looked at each other. Gokul volunteered: Sir, we were discussing about the Monster-Slayer game strategies, and the tricks the rival team had used to defeat us last time. We were planning to practice some of the strategies that Arun had suggested on the next day. We just said goodnight and signed out. That’s all.
The police chief was not fully convinced, but they had to let the children go home for now. The children were warned that they could be summoned again for more questioning.
As soon as they got out of the police station, the trio took their bikes and headed straight to the State-run Museum to meet Shyam’s sister Sudha. Sudha, was an archaeologist and a museum curator. She was busy supervising, instructing the work of indexing and stacking of some old manuscripts that had been handed down to the museum from a private museum collection.
Looking at the worried faces of the three kids – she immediately knew it was an urgent matter. She took them to her room where Shyam showed her the pictures of the idols. Sudha was stunned. These were the very idols that had gone missing from some very famous temples a few years back. They were rare pieces of art worth crores of rupees.
Sudha: Where did you find these? Only these 4 idols were there?
Shyam: Akka, We cannot reveal the location yet, but yes, only these four were there. Akka, now coming to our bargain… we want you to help us enhance the picture quality of the video clip. Its all in this pen drive. Will you do it right away?
Sudha: You sound anxious. What is it Shyam? Are you in any trouble?
Shyam : No. We just need you to do this for us and we will give you more details about the idols.
Sudha gave the pen-drive to her tech department.
Sudha : It’s going to take at least half an hour to have the pictures brightened up. So, kiddos – I suggest you spill the beans. If you do not tell the location of these idols – you could be held for concealment of important information. It’s a criminal offence.
That is when, the three decided its best to involve a grown-up and Sudha was not the typical grown-up character who would rush to conclusions and presumptions and call the police. They trusted her. So, they narrated the entire story to her. They also mentioned how the police now suspected them of some foul play as they had tried to delete chats and call history from their mobile phones.
Sudha: This is serious guys! A boy has gone missing and it has been 2 days since he has gone missing. We have to go to the police.
Shyam: Akka – no. We will be put behind bars. And once you give us the enhanced picture – we can identify the criminals.
Within ten minutes the tech department gave them the pictures. The pictures of the three men were now visible clearly. They did not appear to be South Indian. And the video revealed an identical tattoo that each man had on his chest. It appeared to be a tattoo of a snake gobbling a ball. In the meanwhile, Sudha who had run these pictures through their archives of miscreants, found a matching picture of one of the three men. His name was Sheroo. A notorious idol and artefact thief. He had a history of breaking into various temples, museums and stealing precious idols. He belonged to an international gang of criminals involved in robbing idols.
Nimmy: Akka, I have a plan to snare these thieves. (All three looked at Nimmy) Akka, can you publish an article in the newspaper by this evening that some of the rarest pieces of idols from a new excavation site have arrived in this museum and that they will be displayed to public in a few days? And can you also show pictures of some of the rarest idols that the thieves may want to lay their hands on? We can actually set a trap for them. They are sure to try and break-in. We can lay in wait for them and nab them.
Sudha: We can do that, but we really need to involve the police now. As they have the manpower and expertise. I will ensure that you three are not held responsible. The photo of these criminals itself is a big breakthrough for the police. Come on, let’s go and talk to the police chief.
Shyam, Nimmy and Gokul felt dismayed, but that was the right thing to do. If they had to find Arun, they would have to nab the thieves.
Today – ( Friday) Afternoon 1 p.m.
At the police station – the inspector and his team of detectives listened with open-mouthed shock as the tale unravelled. They quizzed the trio separately to confirm that they all spoke the exact same details and sequence of events. The inspector was very annoyed with the children as they had concealed the truth, but now was not the time to reprimand them… the police had a lot on their hands.
A team of police men went to the haunted cemetery to cross-verify if the precious idols were indeed in the coffin; which they found intact. The police felt, in order not to arouse any suspicion – it would be best to remove the original idols from the gunny bags and safe-keep them in the museum vault, while they could fill up the sacks with sand and leave them there. Two armed police men, in mufti stayed hidden behind grave stones and head stones round-the-clock in the graveyard, in readiness to arrest the thugs if they arrived.
In the meanwhile, advertisements in many leading newspapers of the town displayed articles about some priceless, ancient idols that would be on display in the east wing circular room of the museum from the week end onwards. The daily evening news on popular TV channels also ran stories of the rare idols to be put up for public display form the weekend onwards. The TV channels even showcased the east wing museum room in which the idols were to be displayed.
That same evening, a group of 12 police men were deployed – six on the periphery of the museum and six armed policemen inside the museum. They hid and concealed themselves well, so that no one would suspect that there was a person hidden inside an armour or a masked policeman who appeared to be a wax statue. In the east wing circular room, behind secret doors, hid four armed police men. Powerful night-vision CCTV cameras had been installed in various points in the museum.
Tonight – ( Friday)– Night 11 p.m
Sudha, the trio and the police chief were huddled in the police control room, which happened to be one of the basement rooms of the museum. Their eyes were glued to the various CCTV camera screens on display.
It was post-midnight and there seemed to be no indication of any action. The children were charged with excitement. That is when, the walkie-talkie of the Captain or police officer came alive..
D1: D1 to Captain. Come in captain.
Captain : Go ahead
D1: Eyes on 3 suspects. Walking toward electric power room.
Captain : All on location.
D1: Roger that.
D2: Come in Captain. Suspects have switched off the mains. Museum on backup power.
Captain : Copy that.
D1: Suspects breaking in lock of side door. Suspects have entered the premises.
Captain : Eyes on, CCTV 3. Suspects inside museum main hall. Heading towards the East wing circular room.
D3: Roger that. On it.
Shyam, Gokul and Nimmy heard the walkie-talkie lingo and watched the CCTV that showed three men move stealthily in a single file. All three had a torch fixed to their head gear. All three wore black balaclavas. They carried large sacks on their shoulders and also what appeared to be a box of tools.
The trio sat on the edges of their seats not knowing what to expect. They observed the thieves move direcctly towards the east wing circular room as though they had studied the museum map well before they came. They used their tools to deftly pry open the door. The padlock was a simple flimsy one. They then entered the room and flashed on their torches to look for the priceless idols.
There were only clay model toys and no idols anywhere. They seemed confused. One of them took out a map and displayed that this was indeed the east wing room. Then they seemed to talk for a few more seconds discussing what to do. That was when, as though on cue, all the 4 secret doors flew open and out jumped armed police men who surrounded the three men. The main lights and head lights were turned on. The thieves were instructed to remove their masks and raise their hands up in the air. They did as they were told. The faces of the men were clearly visible. The trio immediately identified the thieves as the same men they had seen in the video last evening. Once this was confirmed, the three men were handcuffed and taken to the police station. There they were questioned about Arun. Without much ado, the three admitted that they had kidnapped the boy, fearing he may have seen more than he should have. They also revealed the location of where the boy was held captive.
A Police team along with the trio drove to the foot hills. From there began their night trek uphill into the dense forest. According to the clear directions given by the thieves, they were to head south-west for about 2 kms where they had built a shack. The thieves had planned to stay in the shack till they had traded all stolen idols to some of their regular customers.
Shyam and Gokul called out to Arun loudly and they could hear a feeble and muffled response coming from further down the path. They rushed to find Arun tied up to a post and his mouth gagged. They released Arun and hugged him. They were so glad that their friend remained safe and unharmed. The police team took possession of main evidences from the shack and returned to the police station. Arun’s mother waited there anxiously to reunite with her son. It was an emotional moment.
The police chief, in spite of his disapproval of the trio for concealing facts from the police (especially in such a serious matter) had to grudgingly acknowledge and appreciate their presence of mind and the brilliant trap laid to lure in the criminals.
And thus, commenced the INCREDIBLE friendship among the four friends. They then shared many more adventures together…