FATE8 mins 9.0K 8 mins 9.0K
Arvind stood concealed behind the thick drapes in Vikram’s study, waiting patiently for him . The murderous rage he had carried in his bosom for so long, would finally be quenched in a few minutes.
Standing there, still and hardly breathing, he could see the events of the past flash before his eyes.
It was two years ago, on the first day of the new year. Arvind had not expected that his world would come tumbling down on the very day that was supposed to have been the most successful in his office.
Arvind had been working as chief analyst in a large financial services consulting firm, for more than a decade.
That morning, when he had entered the office, he had been pleasantly surprised to see the entire office standing up to greet him. A senior partner of the firm had congratulated him for being selected as the firm’s "employee of the decade’.
He had also been informed that a felicitation ceremony would be held that evening and that the firm’s founder, Vikram Shah, would be attending office to felicitate Arvind , in person.
Arvind had never met the gentleman, but he had listened, many times, in awe, to the partners recalling stories as to how their illustrious founder had created a huge flourishing firm out of nothing.
That evening Arvind had been overwhelmed with joy on meeting Mr.Shah. He had also learnt that a partnership position for him was on the anvil.
Returning home, he had shown his award and the photographs to his ailing mother. She had beamed on seeing the silver memento that had been conferred upon her son, but her face darkened when she saw the photograph. After a moment she started sobbing uncontrollably.
A worried Arvind asked her , “ What is the matter, mother? ”
Pointing to Vikram she said, “This is the man who deserted me when you were just a toddler. He ran away with all the jewellery and other valuables that I had brought with me when we had eloped. He left me a destitute in a strange city.”
Then she narrated how she had had to struggle to earn a living. She had to do manual labour as she was not very well educated. But that was not all. Being a single women ,deserted by her husband, the lecherous gaze of men had always been on her, both at the workplace and in the neighbourhood .
She continued to narrate her story as Arvind listened to her dumbfounded. That was the moment when Arvind decided that he would kill Vikram with his own hands.
But it was easier said than done. Vikram hardly ventured out of the house and ran the firm from his residence. The only way to get him was to gain access to the bungalow.
Two years had passed since Arvind had met Vikram. In the meantime, Arvind’s mother had succumbed to her illness. But the flame of revenge had kept burning in his heart.
A few days after his mother's demise, Arvind was called by Vikram to his residence.
On his arrival there, he was shown inside Vikram’s study by the valet .
“Welcome, Arvind. The reason I have called you here is to ask you whether you would like to work from my home. You see I have become old and I need a confidante who will always be with me and assist in the firm’s work.” Vikram said
Arvind became very excited that the opportunity he had been yearning for had, at last, arrived. He said, “Why of course, Sir! It will be a privilege.”
But it proved to be very difficult to get Vikram alone in the house. His bedroom which was on the first floor, was inaccessible.
Whenever Vikram came out of the bedroom, the valet, Kumar, was by his side. And when Vikram stayed in the study , Kumar sat rooted at his post just outside the door.
Then one morning, the much awaited opportunity came Arvind’s way. The french windows in the study overlooking the garden got stuck and could not be closed properly. The maintenance man informed that he could come only the next day.
At around 5.45 PM Arvind went to his bosom friend, Aryan’s office. It was just a 5 minute walk from the bungalow.
The receptionist at the office told him that Aryan was waiting for him in his chamber. Arvind entered Aryan’s chamber, and the latter immediately latched it from the inside. Aryan then called the receptionist on the intercom and said that they should not be disturbed . Then Aryan switched on the player containing a pre-recorded conversation, so that muffled sounds of their voices could be heard by the receptionist.
Arvind came outside the building through the window in Aryan’s chamber. It was already dark outside. Being a Saturday, all other offices in the building were closed and the building was deserted. There was no security at the back.
Arvind reached the rear wall of Vikram’s bungalow at 6.15 PM, through the back alley. In a jiffy he opened the service gate ,entered the back side garden and got into the study through the unlatched French window.
Like every other evening, Vikram entered the study exactly at 6.30 PM after completing his walk. After pouring himself a drink, he sat down to watch the evening news on TV.
Through the gap in the drapes, Arvind could see the back of Vikram’s head. He took out the cosh from his pocket and raised his arm to hit Vikram
The hiss from the movement of the cosh may have made Vikram turn his head. For a split second there was a surprised look on his face, when he saw Arvind, but then it turned into a look of absolute horror. The cosh caught him on his face and he slumped lifeless on the couch, without uttering a sound.
After confirming that Vikram was dead ,Arvind retraced his steps back to Aryan’s chamber.
At around 8.30 PM both of them came out of the chamber and went to the receptionist’s desk, who was busy, typing.
Aryan said to her, “ Madam, it is already 8.30 PM. It is very late. We are also leaving. You can finish the work on Monday.”
She glanced at her watch, thanked him and locking her desk, gathered her bag, went out.
Arvind returned home immediately. Kumar let him in and said , “Sir, I am worried , It is 30 minutes past Saheb’s dinner time. But when I knocked on the study door he did not respond.”
Together they forced the door open . Vikram lay sprawled on the couch, dead.
The police arrived on the scene within a very short time. The detective took their statements and then sealed the door.
Next day Arvind was questioned again, in the study . The detective was quite hostile .
“ What is your relation with Vikram ?” he asked gruffly
“ He was the boss of the firm where I am working”
“ Then why were you staying at his home ?”
“ He needed a confidante, who could be at his side always, as he was working from home”
“ Is your relationship with Vikram beyond official work ?”
“ Not at all. It is strictly official. We even had our meals separately, though we were living under one roof.”
“ What were your movements last evening between 6 PM and 7 PM ?”
“ Now look here. Are you suspecting me? Why, I do not have any motive to kill him. Why don’t you grill Kumar?”
“ We know our job, Mr.Arvind. But have a look at this”
The detective pushed a document across the table.
Arvind could see it was a will. He nearly jumped from his chair when he saw that Vikram had left his entire fortune to him.
Shaken ,he said softly, “ I was not aware of this”.
But inside he was feeling very elated. He had not only got his revenge , but was also going to get the spoils.
He then informed the detective about his movements on the previous evening. The detective took down Aryan’s contact details.
Just then a constable came to the detective and said excitedly, ”Sir, I found a CCTV camera concealed among those rows of books. Now we can get the footage for last evening.”
Arvind was not aware of this and his heart started to beat with trepidation.
The monitor and the recorder were located in Vikram’s bedroom, but to the dismay of the police there was no disk in the recorder.`
Arvind was greatly relieved. He was exalted that fate was on his side and he was meant to enjoy the fortune . He could hardly sleep that night and kept contemplating on different ways to spend it.
The next morning he started for his office where a condolence meeting had been arranged by the other partners of the firm, in honour of the founder.
He came to the garage and when he put his hand in his coat pocket to take out the car keys, he found a bit of folded paper inside.
“You must be interested to know about the missing CD”, read the neatly printed words on the note.
“ It must be Kumar. Blast him.”
But Arvind was not bothered much . He was confident that with his new found fortune, Kumar’s silence could be easily bought.
Just then his cell phone rang. It was from his physician who said , “ Can you stop by my chamber in the evening. Your annual check up reports have come”
He told “ Yes, Doctor” and disconnected the phone.
The doctor hung up the phone .There was a great sense of sadness in his face as he pondered over how to break the news to Arvind. The reports clearly conveyed that Arvind was suffering from an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer and had only a few months to live.