The Day The State Split Asunder - 51
The Day The State Split Asunder - 516 mins 186 6 mins 186
Outside, the sun was shining and the people in the old city began their business chores. Dressed in blue jeans with a black Denim shirt, Karthik stood in the balcony and watched the kids going to the school in a group from the above. Few men and women were carrying breakfast parcels and the streets became chaotic as usual.
While the old city started getting busy, a million thoughts were running through Karthik's mind: Sanjana's birthday is just three days away and how can I manage to close the chapter of this Dhyaneshwar? And will Dr.Kiran be available today? If he is available will he tell me what exactly happened to Sanjana's father on that day?
The phone rang. It was from his mother.
'Hello Amma!' Karthik said.
'Karthik, where are you?' asked his mother.
'In old city,' he replied.
'Is there an old city in Mumbai also?'
Karthik bit his tongue. 'Yes Amma! Old Mumbai is called 'Old city' here.'
'When are you coming to Hyderabad? You told me that the work is going to be for one week?'
'I will come next week. There's heavy work over here and there are many complications.'
'And why do I always get your mobile out of the coverage area? Yesterday I called you five times.'
'Sometimes I don't get the signals while I am inside of the room,' Karthik saw Swamiji entering the gate. 'Amma, I will call you later. My manager has come.' He disconnected the call and walked into the kitchen.
Swamiji arrived and sat on his chair. 'Raju, get me breakfast.'
Karthik took the breakfast plate from Raju and handed over the plate to Swamiji.
'Karthik you are still here? I thought you would have left to meet Dr.Kiran.'
'I was just waiting for you.'
'Waiting for me? Why?' Swamiji said, as he broke the idli into two.
'Uncle, I feel it's better you should have met Dr.Kiran instead of me.'
'Karthik, tell me one thing. What you want to do when you get old?'
'Well!' Karthik said, running his hand through his hair, 'actually, I never thought about it. Better you suggest me what to do?'
'I think you can figure it out by yourself?'
'By going to the old age home,' Swamiji smiled. 'See Karthik, don't take these meetings for granted. You are where God wants you to be at this very moment. Every experience that we experience is part of his divine plan. This is not only a part of our fight against Dhyaneshwar but also to learn the truths about life. Just don't take this meeting for granted. Who knows this can be a turning point?'
'Already we experienced a dangerous turn yesterday. I can't say how scared I am when inspector Arjun came over here and moreover this MadhuSudhan's escape.'
'The plans we make often look good at the outset. But many times when it comes time to execute, it will not turn out exactly as envisioned. The larger the operation and the more complex the parts, the more likely that something significant will go wrong.'
'We need to be extremely careful uncle.Anyways I am leaving for now. Hope this meeting will be fruitful.'
'All the best and also take some fruits for Dr.Kiran. Don't forget.'
'Uncle I am already late and by the time I reach home it may be late. Apart from meeting Dr.Kiran I have lots of other things to do.'
'What are those other things?'
'A little bit personal,' He looked down at the floor all shy and then looked up at Swamiji. 'I will tell you as soon as I am back.'
'Do whatever you want and go wherever you want to go. But we need Dr.Kiran's confession at any cost and also if possible try to visit the Peddamma temple.'
Karthik agreed to visit the temple. He then clamped the bike keys from the shelf and started on his bike to the old age home situated in Jubilee Hills. On the way as advised by Swamiji he purchased a set of fruits consisting of apples, oranges and dry fruits.
He parked his bike outside of the Brundavanam old age home sprawled over an area of five acres. He walked into the office room and enquired the founder of that old age home about Dr.Kiran. The founder asked one of the caretakers working there to take Karthik into Dr.Kiran's room.
On the way he glanced at the dormitories inside which were in a pathetic condition and everyone inside were aged above seventy with a lot many confined to the wheelchairs.
'Are all these people abandoned by their sons,' Karthik asked.
'Not only sons, even daughters. Some couldn't bear the tortures of their daughter-in-laws and they came here voluntarily,' replied the caretaker.
'Really this Kaliyuga has to end as soon as possible. What can be worse than witnessing things like these?'
'This is the room sir,' The caretaker said, 'and he is Dr.Kiran,' she pointed to an old man lying asleep on the bed dressed in a lungi with stitches on his chest. 'Ten days ago he underwent a minor heart surgery. Please don't trouble him too much.'
'Don't worry, I will not trouble him.'
Unlike the dormitories, Dr.Kiran had an independent room with one bed, chair, television and a table. There is one window facing the east with the view of a big eucalyptus tree in the background.
'Dr.Kiran,' Karthik said in a low tone.
Kiran slowly turned his face towards Karthik. 'Young man,' he spoke softly, trying hard to focus and his tone was unclear. 'Who are you? Do you know me? I don't think we have met before?'
One of the helpers entered and brought bread along with some pills. Kiran looked at them and sighed. His eyes were more sunken and his cheekbones more pronounced. This gave him a harsher, older look-until he smiled, of course, and the sagging cheeks gathered up like curtains.
'Sir, everyone is a stranger until they are not,' Karthik said, placing the bag containing fruits on the table. He then pulled the chair close towards the bed and sat on it.
A serene, almost compassionate smile lit up on Kiran's face. 'What is your name dear?'
'My name is Karthik.'
'Karthik, good name. Did you come here to leave your parents?'
'No-No! As long as I am alive I will never do such kind of menial things.'
'Please forgive me dear, I have seen a lot of young people coming here to drop their old parents. Please don't take me wrong.'
'Never sir! I don't mind.' Karthik glanced at the stitches on Kiran's chest. 'So, how are you feeling? I just came to know that ten days ago you underwent a heart surgery,'
'Feeling? This old age is the cruelest of all, which can't be defeated. We can only continue our fight. You young people won't be able to understand it. Once you become old, you will become a burden for your kids. But I don't blame my children for my current affliction. If there is anyone to be blamed, it is me.'
'Don't blame yourself uncle.'
'I should because it is I who brought this upon myself and I deserve it. God has a different way of teaching lessons for everyone. Previously I didn't take spiritual accomplishments seriously and now I am paying the price for it. Five years ago my wife passed away and my kids got so busy in their own lives that they are not in a position to take care of me,' he turned his face slightly towards the left, 'that tree outside, is the only friend I have in my loneliness.'
Karthik was startled and didn't quite know how to take his words. 'May be if I were in his position I would have done the same.' He thought.
'I often talk to this tree,' the old man continued.
'Has the tree replied any time?' Karthik asked anxiously in an attempt to make the old man feel comfortable with him.
'Yes dear!' he pronounced with elation. 'It once said to me that 'my strength lies in my roots'. Its fate is determined by its root and our fate is determined by our karma.'
'Well said uncle, Karma doesn't spare anyone. Be it rich or poor.'
'I wish I understood this logic when I was of your age. Hadn't I committed those sins maybe I wouldn't have to see a day like this.'
'Sir, it's never too late in doing the right thing and the time is always right to do what is right.'
Kiran nodded his head. 'Karthik, You're talking like a philosopher. You have learned life much better than us. You gained much wisdom in a short time.'
'All these things were taught to me by Satyanarayana Goswami.'
'Who is this Satynarayana Goswami? I heard this name before. Isn't he the journalist?'
'Yes he is a journalist and also he is the best friend of Akella Raghavendra.'
'Akella Raghavendra!' Kiran's eyebrows arched in surprise. 'Yes, I remember him. It is I who has performed the post-mortem and...' his voice flattered off and fell silent. 'Did you come here to ask about Akella Raghavendra. Years ago this Satyanarayana Goswami approached me, and asked me about the truth behind Raghavendra's death.'
'Had Swami uncle met you before?'
'Yes, but I had sent him away.'
'So indirectly you are gesturing for me to get away?'
'See uncle, I am fighting for the justice of Akella Raghavendra. I really need your help in this. It is only you who knows the truth about his death. In your report, you said that he died of cardiac arrest. Did he really die of cardiac arrest?'
Kiran fell silent. 'Take your fruits back. I don't need it.'
'It's ok sir. I won't disturb you. Remember one thing, we cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves from ourselves. Hiding the truth is like hiding a crime, a person who hides a crime is a criminal and God will never forgive criminals,' Karthik stood up and touched the feet of Kiran. 'Please do forgive me for troubling you.'
Karthik touched the feet of Kiran, a gesture of respect that he has for the elders. 'Please take care sir.' He turned about and reached the door.
'Karthik!' Kiran said in a weak but loud tone.
Karthik stopped and turned back towards Kiran. 'Yes uncle.'
'Did I tell you to go away?'
'Just now you told me to take your fruits back?'
'I said to take your fruits back because I have lots of fruits in my fridge. I didn't ask you to go away. You took me wrong.'
Karthik once again sat on the chair beside Kiran's bed. 'Sir, your one statement will dispense justice to the innocent. Please do think about it.'
'Hmm...' Kiran groaned with a frustrating frown. 'I have never disclosed this to anyone, not even to my wife. But today I feel like sharing everything with you. Because the fight for justice is visible in your eyes and moreover I can't keep carrying that guilt no longer. Not anymore.'
'Sir, what exactly happened on that day you performed an autopsy on Akella Raghavendra?'
'Karthik, on that day while I was performing my duties in the general ward, I received an order from my senior officials to perform the postmortem of Akella Raghavendra. The police officials brought the dead body of Raghavendra. In my initial examination I could see a deep, oblique, long incised injury on the front of the neck. The carotid arteries and the windpipe were severely damaged, which caused the blood flowing through the hole in the trachea and into the lungs along with profuse bleeding. He literally would have experienced hell and I was writing the same in the report. While I was entering the facts in the report, my attender called me saying that there's someone waiting on the phone. I quickly rushed into my cabin and attended that call. I don't know who the person on the other side is. But what he told me was like, "We have kept a briefcase containing five lakhs under your table. Accept that amount and mention in the report that he died a natural death or suicide. If you fail to do it, get ready to face the consequences but I know you will not take those risks because your family needs you. Take care doctor!" That person didn't even give me the chance to speak. I bent down and saw a briefcase under my table. A minute later, a police official walked into my room. And said - "I hope you have received everything you need. Write in the report that Raghavendra committed a suicide or maybe like he committed a suicide and in that process suffered a cardiac arrest. Please issue the death certificate soon. We need to handover the body to his family."'
'So you wrote in the report that he died of cardiac arrest?'
'Yes! Because the person who spoke on the other side seemed very dangerous to me. To this day, I still don't know who that person is?'
'Sir, it can be none other than Dhyaneshwar.'
'Dhyaneshwar? That owner of Godavac Pharma?'
'Do you know him?'
'Of course he is the owner of the pharma industry and we doctors regularly attend the workshops conducted by the pharma companies. I happened to see him in one of those meetings.'
'Uncle, I am sorry for troubling you for one more time. Can you please repeat the story once again. I want to take the video of your statement. Your video will help us in letting the world know the truth behind the mysterious death of Akella Raghavendra. But only if you agree.'
'Turn on the camera. At least I can cleanse one sin in my life by telling the truth of Raghavendra's death.'
Karthik turned the camera on the video on his mobile and started recording the narration of Dr.Kiran's.
'This is going to be another nail in Dhyaneshwar's coffin,' Karthik thought while recording.
'Thank you so much uncle. Your statement will help in dispensing justice for Raghavendra.'
'No dear, it is I who should thank you. You came out of nowhere, but reduces the burden in my heart. I am feeling better now.'
'Without you, it is impossible to continue our fight against Dhyaneshwar.'
'Karthik, what promoted you to go on a revenge against Dhyaneshwar? Do you have any kind of feud with im?'
'I will better tell him the truth,' Karthik thought.
'Sir, I am actually in love with Raghavendra's daughter Sanjana.'
'I see, so you have already given your heart to someone.'
Karthik shot a shy smile. 'She is my everything.'
'Only true love can give the courage to fight against a man like Dhyaneshwar. I wasn't aware of Raghavendra's family at that time. Poor girl has been fatherless.'
'Not only fatherless, but also motherless. She was four, when her mother passed away and at age six, Raghavendra was murdered by that bastard Dhyaneshwar.'
'Because of my false report, Dhyaneshwar has escaped the punishment. I will provide you with all the necessary assistance I can, in your fight against him.'
'You have given everything uncle. Dhyaneshwar will not escape this time.'
'My dear friend, when are you going to marry Sanjana?'
'I can't tell you the date, but it's going to be very soon. '
'If you don't mind can I ask you one question?'
'If in future Sanjana asks you to drop your parents in an old age home. What are you going to do?'
'It will not happen because Sanjana is not that kind of a girl. Until my last breath, I will never let my parents dwell in a place like this. And sir, I have a question for you. Can I ask?'
'You said that previously Swamy uncle asked you about Raghavendra but you didn't tell him anything. But why did you tell me?'
'It's because of you.'
'Because of me?'
'See, at first when I refused to tell you the truth, you didn't get angry. And you even touched my feet before you decided to step out. It means you are from a well-cultured family and you respect elders. Even though I am older than you, you have gained much wisdom about life then me. All these factors naturally compelled me to open my heart.'
'Thank you so much uncle. I can't say how much your help means to me. I still want to spend a lot of time here but unfortunately my today's schedule is completely packed. Sanjana's birthday is just three days away and I have to plan many surprises for her. If you need anything just call me. No matter whatever the time maybe. From today you are my friend.'
'Do visit me whenever you are free.'
'I will keep coming,' Karthik gently tapped on Kiran's wrist. 'take care uncle.'
'You too dear,' Kiran said. 'And also if possible visit the Peddamma temple on the way. She is the most powerful goddess. All your wishes will come true.'
'Sure, I will definitely visit,' Karthik stood up and waved to Kiran.
He then walked into the office room of the old age home founder.
'Excuse me sir,' Karthik took out his wallet and gave ten thousand rupee notes into the hands of the founder. 'Keep this amount with you and please take good care of Kiran uncle. Please do inform me about the updates of his health and don't hesitate to call me in case you need anything.'
'We will sir and thank you so much for your donation.'
'You are welcome. And I really appreciate the service that you are doing,' Karthik replied.
Afterwards he came out and got on his bike.
Swami uncle told me in the morning to go and visit the temple and Kiran uncle also said the same. Maybe this is an order from the goddess he glanced at the time on his mobile. My work got completed in forty-five minutes and still there are a lot many things to do.Better to visit the temple.
He started on his bike heading towards the Peddamma temple.
To be continued...