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That Girl..

That Girl..

8 mins 2.3K 8 mins 2.3K

Riya’s excitement knew no bounds as the aircraft touched the runway of Chhatrapati Shivaji domestic airport.  Finally, she had landed in her city of dreams, rather the city of dream of every Indian, Mumbai.  It was her childhood dream to work in this city.

Riya was born and brought up in Kota.  She somehow always felt that she didn’t belong to that place.  Her aspirations and thought process was different from other girls.  She wanted to be independent, earn, and explore the world and not just get married at the age of 20.  She was the eldest of 4 siblings; 3 sisters and 1 brother.  Her father had a garment shop and her mother was a homemaker.  Her father wanted to get his 3 daughters married off by the time they were 20.  Riya had to face a lot of opposition from her parents, specially her father, to study English literature.  She had later done a diploma in Journalism too.  She was a bright student and had applied for the position of a copywriter when she was giving her final year exams.  She had sent a few articles and to her astonishment she was selected.  She was interviewed via Skype and she couldn’t believe her ears when she finalized for the job.

Her father was not at all happy but she thought, “We get only one life to fulfil our dreams and I have to, for myself and lead by example for my siblings.”

She knew it was difficult to get accommodation in Mumbai and how expensive the city was!  Her immediate boss helped her with a broker’s number and soon after a log of negotiations she fixed an apartment which she would share with 2 other girls.  She had sold her gold bangle and chain to pay the deposit and brokerage.  Her mother was obviously very upset.

Here she was all rearing to be independent and earning in this city of dreams.  When she stepped in the airport she realized the magnanimity of the city.  She had never stepped out of Kota and here she was in this vast ocean!  But Riya was smart.  She knew she would soon learn the ropes of this city.  Soon she was in the cab zooming off to Malad, a suburb in Mumbai.  Since her office was in Malad, she had decided to rent an apartment close by to her office, although it was more expensive than few other suburbs.  Her cab stopped in front of an apartment.  She had already told her broker about her arrival.  Her broker, Shyambhai, received her at the lobby.

Riya scanned the apartment.  It was a huge complex comprising of 4 tall buildings, a garden, and a club house.  No wonder it was expensive, she thought.  Shyambhai ushered her to the 16th floor of Tower A.  Her flat number was 1603.  It was a 2 BHK (bedroom-hall-kitchen) apartment, furnished, neat, airy, and beautiful!  When the broker had gone, Riya screamed in excitement.  This was her childhood dream.  After a few hours, Shyambhai was accompanied by another girl who would share her room with Riya.  Her name was Swati.  Soon Riya and Swati got talking and within no time became friends.  Swati worked in an event management firm.

Soon, life was good for Riya and Swati.  Riya started enjoying her work and put her heart and soul to make a place for herself.  Swati had erratic working hours, sometimes returning very late.  Both would enjoy their outings in Inorbit or Infinity 2 Mall which was close to their apartment.  Life was fun!

One fine morning the doorbell rang.  Riya was alone at that time as Swati had gone to Pune for an event.  She opened the door and saw a pretty girl with her luggage.  The girl introduced herself as Anamika, their third roommate.  Riya asked, “Shyambhai didn’t accompany you?”  Anamika said, “He was busy today and asked his helper to show me the way.  His helper was in a hurry, so he left.”  Riya was happy that she would make another friend in this new city.

She offered Anamika tea and biscuits and soon they both started chatting.  Anamika said, “I work in a call center.  Earlier I was in another apartment but since the owner of the house wanted to sell the house, I had to shift in a very short notice.  My call center is located in Andheri, another suburb.  I generally work night shifts.”

That night when she came back from work Anamika had already left for her work.  She had cooked rajma and rice.  Riya was pleasantly surprised as most of the days both she and Swati would end up ordering from outside.  The food was delicious.  After an hour or so, Swati was back from Pune.  Riya told her about Anamika and served her the rajma and rice.  Swati’s expression changed when she tasted the food.  “What happened?  Didn’t you like it?” asked Riya.  Swati quietly ate and went to bed without uttering anything.  The food tasted familiar.  Riya was surprised.

Next morning, Riya woke up early and saw the main hall’s fan switched on.  “Why do I forget to switch off the fan?” she cursed herself.  She got ready and saw that the sink had unwashed utensils.  She felt annoyed at Swati.  Reluctantly, she washed the utensils and in a foul mood went to the office.  Swati called her up in the office stating that she had to urgently go to her hometown as her mother was serious.  Swati was from Chandigarh.  Riya said, “Don’t worry.  Aunty will be fine.  Please keep me informed.”  She uttered a small prayer and wished that Swati’s mother recover soon.

She went home a little early that day as she wasn’t feeling good about Swati’s mom.  When she opened the door, she got an aroma of home-cooked food from the home.  She went to the kitchen and saw daal and rice kept on the counter.  When she went to the bathroom to freshen up, she felt the floor was wet and that the towel had been used by someone.

She went to the bedroom and saw Anamika sleeping.  She didn’t wake her up as she knew she must be tired after a long night at work.  After having the delicious lunch, she also fell asleep.

Suddenly, the doorbell woke her up.  It was ringing continuously.  She woke up with a startle and saw that it was dark.  She looked at her mobile and it was 8 in the evening.  She switched on the lights and opened the door.  She couldn’t believe what she saw, police was at her door!

The sight of policemen scared her.  Before she could say anything, the inspector said, “Where were you at 7:15 p.m.? What were you doing?”  Riya froze.  She very nervously said, “I was sleeping.”  The inspector gave an annoyed look at her and asked her, “Didn’t you hear any loud noise or commotion?”  She said, “I was sleeping like a log, couldn’t hear anything.  Why, what happened sir?”

“A murder took place in 1604, your next apartment.  A young man was flunked off from his bedroom balcony.”  A chill ran down Riya’s spine.  She felt dizzy.  She said, “Sir, I will ask my roommate.  Might be she must have heard.  She is sleeping in the next room.”

The inspector went with her in the bedroom.  Riya switched on the light to wake up Anamika.  “Ana…”, Riya’s voice trailed off.  The bed was neatly done, Anamika’s luggage wasn’t there.  “Sir, my roommate Anamika was sleeping here.”  The inspector gave her a look of disbelief.  Riya froze as she was totally convinced that it was Anamika who had murdered the guy next door and was now absconding.  “There is no girl here.  Why are you lying miss?”  Soon, the inspector got a call from his junior; the fingerprints were traced from the murder site.

Riya stood numb and couldn’t move.  She didn’t know what to do now.  Suddenly, she felt so lonely without Swati in this huge city.  Just then, she saw Swati’s number flashing on her mobile.  She picked up the phone and before she could say anything, Swati spoke, “You know Riya, my mom is absolutely fine!  Somebody played a dirty prank.  No one from my family had given me a call.  My brother says he didn’t give me a call and had a tough time convincing me.  I am so pissed off.  I will talk to you later dear.  Take care.”

Riya was getting so many shocks in a single day.  She remembered Shyambhai and immediately went to his office.  She said, “Shyambhai, you must be knowing what has happened.  Please help me trace Anamika.  I am sure she murdered the guy next door and is now absconding.”  Shyambhai looked at her as if she was an alien.  “Who Anamika?” asked Shyambhai.  Riya replied, “Our third roommate Shyambhai.  She had joined us just 4 days back.”  Shyambhai gave an even more astonished look, “Riyaben, your third roommate is supposed to arrive next week.  Her name is Mita.”  This girl, Anamika, must be a fraud, a criminal.  Riya was about to faint.  All these days she was sharing her room with a criminal!

Anamika was happy, “I took my revenge.  I killed that bastard, Manish.  He had challenged me that he will destroy my sister’s life like he did mine by throwing acid on her face.  That's why he followed her and shifted in the apartment next to hers.  I couldn’t let my sister suffer like me.  You will be safe my dear sister, my darling Swati.”

She had protected Swati.  She didn’t want Manish to destroy Swati’s life by raping and throwing acid on her, just like he had done with her.  Anamika had taken revenge of her suicide…

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