Five Faces - Part Four
Five Faces - Part Four
Chapter - 4
Precap- A London-based Indian businessman has been murdered. Amit Sharma is the officer solving this case. He got the information that something similar had happened in India two years ago. He decides to find out the truth. He comes to India.
--The second case--
Amit came out of the Kolkata airport. Officer Tripti had come to pick him up.
"Hello, I'm Amit Sharma." Amit said, extending his hand for a handshake.
"Hello, Officer. Nice to meet you. I'm Tripti Banerjee". Tripti said while joining in.
"Nice to meet you too. Just call me Amit." Amit said.
"Sure." Tripti said.
They sat in the car. Tripti started driving.
"Why did you bother Miss Banerjee ? You could have sent your driver." Amit said.
"Please call me Tripti. Yes, I could have sent the driver but I like driving my car on my own and also I thought we could discuss the case." Tripti said
"Oh that's great." Amit said but he was not interested in discussing the case with her. He just wanted to see the files related to the case. He thought Tripti would be of no help. He wanted to solve it on his own.
He unwillingly described whatever he had found out till then about the London case. Tripti also shared the details of the Kolkata case.
The murder happened two years ago. Mr. Vikram Roy - owner of a famous chain of sweet shops in Kolkata was killed and robbed. He used to live with his wife and two kids. On the day of the murder, his sister was also there at his house. They all had gathered for a weekend get-together. The next morning Vikram was found dead. They were robbed. Documents were stolen except the insurance and their maid had gone missing. The robbed money was left outside the gate of an NGO. Tripti and her co-officers tried a lot but couldn't find anything.
Amit and Tripti had discussed all that they knew.
"How far is it ?" Amit asked.
"Not much. But due to traffic it may take 20-25 minutes." she replied.
"Why is this city so crowded ? They have a metro but still see the condition. Also, it's too dusty. How do you guys live here ?" he asked
"Well, it may be dusty and crowded but it is still called the 'City of Joy'. Once you fall in love with this city then nothing else will matter to you. The vibe of this city is ethereal. And this crowd is nothing. You must see this city in Durga Pooja. It is very crowded but still it is the most beautiful time of the year." she replied.
"I have seen Kolkata's Durga Pooja." he said
"When ? Did you like it? Isn't it the most amazing experience? Non-stop celebration for 10 days." she said excitedly.
"When I was a kid, I visited once. And yeah, as I was a child I loved it," he replied uninterestedly.
"Not just children. Everyone loves it. So, whom did you visit it with ? Your parents or cousins or friends ?" she asked.
Amit realised that Tripti is a chatterbox. "With my mom and maternal uncle's family. And can we stop discussing that. I'm not interested in discussing personal stuff." he said.
"Ye..ah. Sure." she said with less enthusiasm in her voice than before.
They remained silent for some time. Tripti started playing a song on the radio. A Bengali song "Tomake chhuye dilam'' was playing.
Amit was irritated. "Can you please..?" Amit said while pointing towards the radio.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. Just a minute." Tripti said and started playing a Hindi song- "Tum hi ho".
Amit was shocked. He wished he hadn't come to meet this officer who seemed a bit crazy to him.
"You are right. Kolkata is crowded. But now you are going to experience the most beautiful part of this city. Feel the wind and music. You will love it. We are going to cross Howrah Bridge." Tripti said and opened all the windows of the car.
Amit did not say anything. As soon as the car reached the middle of the bridge, a cool breeze from the Hooghly river reached his face. Arijit Singh's voice, the wind and the atmosphere was mesmerising. It took him to his childhood. His mom was from Kolkata. As a child whenever he used to visit it he would ask his uncle to take him to Howrah Bridge. His uncle would sing Kishore Kumar's songs while crossing the bridge. As a child, he loved the view from the bridge.
"Isn't it amazing ?" Tripti asked.
"How long will it take to reach the police station" ? Amit asked without replying to her question.
"Will reach in 10 minutes." she replied dejectedly.
They reached the police station. Tripti took him to his cabin. She gave him all the files related to the case.
"You can go through them while I complete my daily work." she said
Amit noticed she was upset. But he didn't care about anything except the case at that moment.
Amit went through the files. Tripti was busy with other files. After some time an officer entered the cabin.
"Ma'am, Bitto is crying again. I have told him that we won't be released till Monday but he is not listening." the officer said.
"Leave him and tell him not to repeat the mistake again. If he does that again he won't be spared." Tripti said
"As you say, ma'am". he said and left the cabin.
Amit asked, "What did he do ?"
"He was gambling with his friends. His mom is a single mother and is working hard for making his future bright. But he got into the wrong habits. So, I told the officers to catch him on Saturday. Put him in jail and tell him that he will have to stay there till Monday. He got scared and is crying now. I think this fear will be enough for him to not repeat the same mistake again. If he does that again we will inform his mom next time and won't let him go easily. But I don't think that will be needed, this fear will be enough." she concluded.
"This is how you work. Putting people in jail to scare them and then leaving them without giving proper punishment." Amit said.
"Yeah. If we do too much then the person will not get a chance to mend the mistake and if we don't take action then they will keep doing wrong things. So, I think this is the best way. And this is how I like to work." she replied
Amit did not say anything. Although he was still not completely convinced.
After some time another officer entered with a file. He gave it to Tripti.
"So, how is the preparation for your daughter's wedding going on ?" Tripti asked him.
"It is going very well. Wouldn't have been possible without your help. Thank you for those 50,000 rupees that you gave.." the officer was speaking but Tripti signaled him to stop.
"You have to stop saying it. She is like a daughter to me. Give my best wishes to her." she said. The officer thanked her and left the cabin.
Amit understood but didn't ask her anything. He didn't want to embarrass her.
Soon, it was evening. All the officers started to leave. Tripti still had three files on her desk and was completely engrossed in her work.
Amit had gone through all the files and was tired now. He wanted a break. He wanted to have food and needed some rest.
"Don't you want to go home ?" he asked Tripti.
"I still have some work. I'll go after completing it." she said.
"And where should I stay at night ?" Amit asked
"At my house. I have a huge bungalow given by the government and no one lives there except me, my house helper, cook and my driver. You can stay with us. If you want to leave, I can call my driver, he will drop you at my home. My cook has already prepared the food." she replied while still looking at the files in her hand.
"And then, how will you come ?" Amit asked.
"By local transport. I usually travel through it. I don't use my car daily." she said.
"No, I'll wait. Finish your work." he said.
Looking at Tripti, working like that, forgetting everything and doing overtime, he realised that she is just like him. Also, she said that she lives alone just like him.
"Don't you have anyone in your family ?" Amit asked.
"My parents don't live with me. They are in Darjeeling. And I'm divorced." she replied.
Amit decided not to ask anything further. He never liked intruding into someone's private life.
After some time she stood up. They left the police station. She went straight to a tea vendor whose stall was opposite the station. She talked to him for some time and then gave the vendor some money.
"Isn't it wrong to have such a young informer ?" Amit asked
"He isn't an informer. He is a hard working young boy. Whenever he doesn't earn much, I give him some extra money. He has a huge family. All of them are daily wage workers. If they don't earn enough they may not be able to get proper dinner. They send him to school only because one meal is free. Although he hasn't reached the legal age to work, if he doesn't, it will be tough for his family to survive. I can't change his destiny but I can make sure that he never has to sleep on an empty stomach." she replied.
Amit was amused. He suddenly had a newfound respect for this girl. But she wasn't as chirpy as she was before.
"I'm sorry for being rude to you before. It's just that I'm not much of a talkative person and also just like you when I focus on some work, I forget everything else. My focus was on the case." he said.
"It's fine," she said and her sparkling smile was back.
"Do you want to try famous Bengali sweets like Rosogulla or Mishti doi ? There is a famous sweet shop just in the next corner after a few miles." she asked.
Amit smiled and nodded yes. The chirpy girl was back. Although he didn't want to have any sweets, he agreed as he didn't want to kill her excitement. He noticed that she was very much in love with her city and he didn't want to spoil her spirit.
"You know it is still early. Most days, I work till midnight. I don't like that my cook should be awake for so long. And I like my food to be served extremely hot. So, most of the days I prefer to eat outside. And that is why I know all the good restaurants in the city. Tomorrow, I will take you to a famous puchka vaala" Tripti kept speaking without a break.
"So, you don't let your cook work on half of the days. You usually give a break to your driver. You are an asset to the Indian government. Saving so much of their money. " Amit said jokingly.
"Also, the money that they give you as salary is spent on the junior officers' daughter's wedding and on tea vendors. Looks like you don't want any money." Amit said
"What's the point when you don't have anyone to spend them on ?" she replied.
"Don't you send them to your parents ?" he asked.
"They don't take my money," she replied.
There was an awkward silence for some time until Tripti started speaking again about the art and culture of Kolkata.
Amit decided to stay silent this time and listened to the girl who had some sort of pain hidden inside her but still her spirit for life was commendable.
Soon, they reached her house. They finished their dinner.
"So, tomorrow you will take me to the Roy family, right ?" he asked.
"Umm..no. Actually, they are on a family vacation and will return on Monday." she replied.
"What? Why did you tell me to come here, then ? I would have arrived directly on Monday." he said.
"I thought you would want to study the case and would also want to go sightseeing in the city. And Sunday I was going to take an off day so thought of taking you for sightseeing." Tripti replied in a low voice.
"What? I'm not on some sort of vacation. I have come here for a mission. I have to find the murderers. Anyways, we are not going for any sightseeing tomorrow. We will study both the cases in a comparative way tomorrow and will try to find common links between them. And then on Monday, we will meet the Roy family. Is that clear? he asked
"Yes," she replied.
"Where's my room ?" he asked.
"Upstairs. The first one," she replied.
Amit went upstairs.
"You will have to come for sightseeing tomorrow. How else will I fulfill my promise, Amit ? I will find a way and you will agree to come. I will fulfill my promise tomorrow no matter what happens." Tripti said to herself.
Amit was climbing the stairs when he noticed something on the wall. He was shocked.
"Tripti" he called out in a loud voice.
To be continued..
Is Tripti really a good person or is there a hidden motive? What promise does she have to fulfill? What has Amit seen on the wall? Stay tuned to know more.