Who Clicked The Photo
Who Clicked The Photo
Shweta looked at the door of their bedroom which was partially open and tried to wake up Abhi, her husband, who was sleeping beside her on the left side of the bed. It was midnight and she had woken up because of a sound. She was startled because they were the only ones in their duplex house. She looked at Abhi and then at the door. It was dark inside the room and outside the bedroom as well so it was hard to see.
She was scared because the other day Mrs Sinha from around had told her about a burglary in a house in Sector 10, Faridabad. They had locked the family in one room while they looted the house.
Because of the lockdown her locality in Sector 9, Faridabad, looked like a ghost town all day so she woke up concerned after hearing the sound in her house. She was too scared to get off her bed. Suddenly she felt as if she missed a few heartbeats as the door moved and now it was half-open but she still couldn’t see anything outside as it was dark.
She tried to scream but the words were not coming out of her mouth. Though the AC was set on a moderate temperature she was sweating profusely and breathing heavily. She elbowed Abhi who simply was not in a mood to get up and turned to the other side to get comfy.
‘Wake up,’ she squeaked as she looked at the door in horror but Abhi didn’t move. She was breathing heavily and her eyes, wide open, hooked at the door. As her vision adjusted to the darkness her view of outside the room became clearer and she took a sigh of relief as there was no one outside. She again turns towards Abhi who was still sleeping.
‘Abhi must have left the door opened before we went to sleep,’ she thought to try to comfort self.
‘Some window must be open in the stairs and a gush of wind must have pushed the door open,’ she continued and this time almost mumbled in nervousness and smiled as she realised that she was talking to herself. She was barely able to smile. Due to fear her lips were trembling.
Shweta kept staring at the door for a while and then, gathering some courage, gets up and nervously walks towards the door. As she reaches the door she looks around and opens the door to peek outside into the lobby and quickly closes the door. She double marches back to the bed and takes a sigh of relief. She sits on the bed on her side and tries to relax to lower her breathing. Shweta then picks up the bottle placed on the table next to the bed and fills a glass of water; her hands were still shaking. Feeling much better after drinking some water she gets back in the bed with her eyes on the door and takes another sip of water and keeps the glass on the table. She looks at the door nervously for a while and then dozes off.
‘Wake up sleepy head,’ said Abhi as he tried to wake her up but she didn’t move. He kissed her on her cheek. Shweta felt the kiss, smiles with her eyes closed and stretches as if she was getting out of her beauty sleep. She opens her eyes looking lovingly at Abhi. As she gets back to her senses flashes from last night started playing in front of her eyes and she suddenly gets up startled looking at the door.
‘Easy there honey,’ said Abhi as he passed a glass of water to her. Shweta took the glass of water with shaking hands and looked at the wall clock it was 10:30 AM.
Abhi hugged her, ‘bad dream?’ he asked. Shweta takes a few sips and controls her breathing.
‘I thought someone was there in the house last night,’ she said in a faint voice. She was still shaken and barely able to speak. She then narrated the full story and Abhi felt awkward.
‘You tried waking me up and I didn’t wake up, haan?’ Abhi asked scratching his head.
‘If something like this happens again just slap the big J out of me and wake me up, you don’t have to do this alone, ok?’ he said comforting Shweta who was now feeling much better.
‘I must have left the door unlocked when I got up to use the washroom last night,’ said Abhi.
Abhi hugged her tightly and gently kissed her.
‘Good morning!’ he said as Shweta kissed back hugging Abhi tightly.
‘You stay here and let me make the breakfast in bed for you,’ said Abhi as he got up and Shweta held his hand.
‘And, make a mess like you did the other day?’ she said smiling and pulled him back in the bed.
‘You stay here Mr Sharma and let me do the cooking,’ she said.
‘Don’t worry I won't make a mess today, you stay here,’ said Abhi as he jumps out of the bed. Shweta smiles as Abhi walks out of the bedroom.
Abhi’s parents were stuck in Australia where they had gone to meet Abhi’s younger sister. Due to the Novel Corona Virus crisis, all flights were cancelled and they were stuck there so, Abhi and Shweta were alone in the big house. Not that they were complaining because they were married only six months ago and the lockdown time was a boon for both. The first few months they were surrounded by relatives and friends almost every day so, they both were loving the time together because it gave them a chance to understand and connect well. Though Shweta felt uncomfortable living in the big house without other family members but Abhi ensured she didn’t feel uncomfortable. The bedroom was on the first floor and the kitchen and the living room was on the ground floor.
Shweta was quite weary and the incidence of last night had shaken her further so she was feeling restless alone in the bedroom. It had been 20 minutes since Abhi had gone down and Shweta was getting impatient so, she gets off the bed and walks out of the bedroom. She shakes her head seeing the lobby lights still not switched on by Abhi. She switches on the lights in the lobby and the stairs. She was still shaking from last night. She walked down the stairs slowly looking at the glass façade in the stairs.
‘This can’t be broken, its toughened glass,’ she mumbled while gently hitting the glass façade and comforting self about the safety of her house. She looks out of the façade towards the main gate which was securely locked. She smiles and walks down. The stairs led to the living room. She quietly sneaks behind Abhi who was busy in the kitchen.
‘BOO…,’ she tries to scare Abhi. Abhi startles and turns around smiling.
‘See, no mess,’ he said looking at Shweta.
‘Now you go ahead and make yourself comfortable at the dining table,’ he said. Shweta smiles and goes towards the dining table.
‘Grab the newspaper, will ya,’ said Abhi as Shweta changes her direction and walks towards the main door. She opens the door and looks for the newspaper and finds it under the car in the parking area. She comes back inside and keeps the newspaper on the dining table and sits on one of the chairs looking at Abhi smiling.
‘You know I can almost sense that you are looking at me smiling right now,’ said Abhi and turned around. Shweta smiled back with an air kiss. Abhi smiles and gets busy in the kitchen. Shweta reads through the newspaper.
‘You know the count has reached almost 9000 in India,’ she said sounding concerned while reading through the statistics about Covid-19 in India.
‘Yes and it might go up further in the coming days,’ replied Abhi. As she reads further she gets fed up with the bad news all over the paper and keeps the newspaper aside. She picks up Abhi’s phone lying on the table. She wanted to find Candy Crush app to continue her game from last night. As she toggles through the running apps she suddenly stops as one of the apps running on the phone was the camera app and it was showing last clicked picture.
With trembling hands, she clicks on the camera app and then clicks on the gallery at the bottom left corner. As the latest clicked photo opens in the Gallery she screams, ‘ABHIIIIIIIII,’ and drops the phone on the table. She had screamed so loud that Abhi almost dropped the pan in his hand. He quickly rushes towards Shweta.
‘WHAT'S WRONG, HONEY?’ he asked as Shweta just kept staring at the phone. Abhi looks at her eyes and follows her line of sight and he too was horrified as he looks at his phone. With trembling hands, he picks up the phone and scrolls through the gallery.
There were at least ten photos of them sleeping in the bedroom and by the looks of it, the bedroom light was on when the photos were clicked.
‘I was right, someone did come in our house and used your phone to click our photos while we were asleep,‘ said a horrified Shweta while sobbing.
Without any delay Abhi quickly dials a number, ‘Uncle there’s been a break-in in our house…,’ he said over the phone and then narrates everything while walking around the living room. Shweta sat there looking at Abhi. She was right someone did enter their house last night and clicked their photos using Abhi’s phone while they were asleep.
‘Relax, he’s coming with his team,’ said Abhi as he turns towards Shweta. Shweta looks scared. Abhi walks towards the dining table and sits beside her. He held her hand. ‘Everything’s alright, don’t worry,’ he said comforting a scared Shweta.
‘Who could’ve done this?’ she asked sobbing.
‘I don’t know,’ replied Abhi as they looked around in disbelief holding her hand.
‘Let me check the terrace door,’ he said and tried to loosen his grip but Shweta kept holding his hand. He looked at her face, she was horrified. He smiled and sat beside her.
‘I’ll be back quickly, okay,’ said Abhi smiling and lovingly moving his head sideways as if he was talking to a child. Shweta smiled back with tears still rolling down her cheeks. He wipes her tears and hugs her.
‘Be right back,’ he says and walks upstairs. He comes back in a few minutes.
‘Everything is locked and there is no sign of a break-in,’ he said as he walked down. ‘How did anyone enter our house?’ he continued and walked outside. He checked the lock on the main gate and then the parking area everything was secured.
Their house was surrounded on two sides; the back and left side. On the right side, there was an empty plot. Main sector 9 road was on the front side. Their terrace and that of the house at the back was not connected and the house on the side had the high metal-mesh wall installed on the boundary wall between their houses so it was impossible for anyone to enter from either the back or the side house. Besides, their terrace door was still locked. So, the question was; how could someone enter without opening any doors or windows and click the picture and leave unnoticed. They had been living here for the past three years and this was the first time something like this had happened so they were quite shaken.
Abhi’s uncle, Sudhir, was the SHO at the Sector – 8 police station and a close family friend. He was there with his team in the next ten minutes. Sudhir comforted Abhi and Shweta. The three sat on the chairs in the front lawn quietly.
‘How's this even possible,’ asked Shweta as Sudhir looked at her. ‘I mean how did someone enter our home without breaking in any of the doors and windows and then clicked our photos while we were asleep,’ she continued sobbing.
‘They could’ve done anything to us,’ she said as Abhi held her hand.
‘Janab, nothing is broken inside. we are looking for the fingerprints,’ said a Hawaldar who walked out.
‘Take them to the lab for examination immediately and I want a PCR parked outside,’ said Sudhir.
‘Ji Janab,’ the Hawaldar replied and went inside.
‘Did you guys have breakfast?’ Sudhir asked looking at his watch. It was 12:30 PM now.
‘No, we were in the middle of cooking when I saw this in his phone and…,’ replied Shweta.
‘Don’t worry, I got this. I will ask Reena to quickly make something for you guys,’ he said and got up to call his home.
‘You don’t have to trouble aunty, especially during the lockdown. I will manage it…’ said Shweta getting up.
‘You guys get freshened up, I will ask your aunty to quickly prepare something and ask Rohan to bring it here,’ said Sudhir interrupting Shweta.
Rohan was Sudhir’s son and Abhi’s close friend. Shweta looked at Abhi who smiled and nodded.
‘Won’t be long, go get freshened up,’ said Sudhir. ‘In the meantime, we will wrap-up things here,’ he said.
‘Okay,’ acknowledged Abhi and holds Shweta’s hand. They both go upstairs. After a while, they come down and notice that the cops were still working in the house looking for a point of entry, fingerprints and other clues.
‘Chauhan,’ called Sudhir as he saw Shweta and Abhi walk down the stairs. Chauhan walked out of the kitchen shaking his head.
‘Not even a single print in the bedroom or on the ground floor,’ he said as Sudhir looked on confused.
‘It looks as if this place has been whipped out clean,’ Chauhan continued.
‘Did you guys clean the place?’ asked Sudhir turning around towards Abhi and Shweta who were standing behind him.
‘No uncle, we called you as soon as we saw the pictures,’ replied Abhi.
‘It looks like someone took the pain of somehow entering the house without making any sound and then went upstairs, entered the bedroom, switched on the lights, clicked the pictures, cleaned the place while going out, walked out of the house and climbed out of the house calmly?’ said Chauhan sounding baffled. He pauses and looks around confused while Sudhir, Abhi and Shweta look at him in disbelief. ‘This seems more like a cleaning exercise than anything else,’ he continued with a grin on his face. He looks towards Sudhir who gives him a look and Chauhan, getting the clue to shut up, quietly walks away.
‘What does this mean uncle?’ asked Shweta who looked even more concerned now.
‘Doesn’t mean anything, must be a crackpot. Don’t worry you guys, I will increase patrolling in the area,’ said Sudhir.
‘But, how did they unlock his phone?’ asked Shweta as Abhi seemed lost in his thoughts.
‘How did they manage to unlock your phone?’ Shweta asked again. Abhi, who was lost in his thoughts, quickly got back to his senses.
‘What? No, you think I am doing this?’ he said as everyone looked at him.
‘No we don’t mean that,’ said Sudhir.
‘You guys relax the food will be here shortly, we are taking the phone to the lab,’ said Sudhir.
‘You guys keep sweeping the house for prints,’ he said as Chauhan and his team got back to work.
‘Give me the guards number, I have to speak with him as well,’ asked Sudhir. Abhi took out the guard’s number and dialled it.
‘Shravan Ji this is Abhi from house number 1782,’ he said as the guard answered the call.
‘Jai Ram Ji ki sahib,’ the guard replied. Abhi had put the phone on speakerphone and Sudhir introduced himself. Shravan stood up in attention position as he heard Sudhir on the other side.
‘Did you see anyone suspicious moving in the sector area last night?’ Sudhir asked.
‘No sahib, everything was as usual; quiet. There was no movement from 18:00 to 06:00, till the time I was there,’ the guard replied.
‘Ok, I will call you again if required,’ said Sudhir and disconnected the call. Rohan soon comes with the breakfast and Abhi narrates everything to him. He goes through the entire house to ensure everything was secured.
‘I can stay here for the night,’ said Rohan as Shweta and Abhi ate at the dining table.
‘No it’s alright, don’t worry,’ said Abhi. ….. It was 19:30 and Shweta was getting restless. The TV was on but she kept biting her nails thinking about the events. Abhi walks in the living room from outside looking distraught. ‘What did uncle say?’ asked Shweta restlessly.
‘No other prints except for ours on the phone or in the bedroom,’ he replied as Shweta looked on.
‘He thinks it might be serious as whoever has done this might come back again. Uncle said that it might be a group of people who have somehow got access to our home. It could be our maid or an ex-maid who could’ve gotten duplicate keys made,’ he said as Shweta looked on horrified.
‘He has positioned a van outside our house permanently. It should be here shortly,’ said Abhi and he sits beside Shweta.
‘I am scared Abhi,’ said Shweta sobbing. ‘As long as I am here, no one can harm you,’ said Abhi comforting her.
‘I have also spoken to our neighbours and narrated them everything. Even they are shocked to hear about the incidence and they have said that we can wake them up anytime, day or night if at all it happens again,’ he continued. Shweta smiled though she was still concerned.
‘We must thank Sudhir uncle for sparing his men, especially during these times when they are already hard-pressed because of their duties during the day time,’ she said.
‘Yes of course,’ replied Abhi and hugged her.
22:15 - Abhi was standing on the stairs looking outside through the glass façade at the police van parked outside the gate. It was dark outside so he couldn’t see clearly. He got closer to the glass and waved and someone sitting in the driver’s seat waved back as they could see him through the glass. Lights in the stairs were on. After a while, he went outside with cups of coffee, tea and snacks for the men positioned outside his house.
‘Thank you Abhi beta,’ said Hawaldar Raghubir from inside the van. He was known to Abhi.
‘No, thank you! Raghuvir Ji and everyone else who is here. I am indebted to you all. Thank you for being here,’ he said as everyone smiled and grabbed a cup of coffee or tea and munched on snacks.
‘If at all you need anything during the night please feel free to call me or ring the doorbell and shall bring it to you. Also, feel free to use the washroom in the parking lot. The main door will only be bolted and not locked from the inside,’ he said and went inside. ‘They are going to be outside all night so you can relax,’ said Abhi smiling as he came inside.
Shweta looked at Abhi with a faint smile she was still weary.
Shweta kept tossing and turning in the bed, she could not sleep. Abhi was reading a book.
‘Can’t sleep? Haan,’ he asked while still looking at the book.
‘I am scared Abhi,’ said Shweta while covering her face with the blanket. Abhi smiles and slowly uncovers her face by pulling the blanket away. She smiles as her face is uncovered. Abhi hugs her, ’I am here, you can sleep peacefully,’ he said. After a while, Abhi goes off to sleep while she still couldn’t sleep. She gets up and looks at Abhi who was sleeping peacefully. They had kept the bedroom lights on along with the lights of the rest of the house. She picks up the book Abhi was reading. She flips through a few pages and starts feeling sleepy.
‘No wonder he can sleep so peacefully, he reads,’ she mumbled and smiled as she continued reading.
Shweta slowly opens her eyes, she had doused off while sitting with the book in her lap. She firstly looks at the wall clock; it was 02:28 AM. The radium dials of the wall clock were clearly visible even in the dark.
She looks at Abhi who was still asleep. As she looks around the room, her eyes were wide open because the door was again partially open. She tries to call out Abhi but her voice is as if on silent mode due to fear and nothing comes out of her mouth. She stretches her hand and tries to wake-up Abhi by shaking him but he doesn’t budge. Suddenly, the sound of flush being used in the washroom about four meters away from their bed sends shockwaves through her entire body and Shweta freezes.
She turns her head slowly towards the washroom door. She looks at the door horrified as it slowly opens and stops followed by the sound of water running in the washbasin. Shweta was sweating profusely and breathing heavily at the thought of someone else being in their bedroom. All sorts of bad possibilities were running through her mind. While her eyes were hooked on the washroom door, she again reaches out towards Abhi sleeping on her left side. Her hand searches for Abhi on the bed. She moves it here and there and finally looks towards her left when her hand couldn’t touch Abhi. She looks at the bed in disbelief as Abhi was not there next to her.
‘Abhi,’ she calls him but only the lips moved, there was no sound coming out of her mouth.
Suddenly the bathroom door opens further and someone switches off the washroom light. Shweta looks at the door with her eyes wide open and tears trickling down her cheeks as Abhi walks out of the washroom adjusting his pyjama. Shweta looks at Abhi in disbelief and then looks at the left side of the bed and then again looks at Abhi. She starts crying inconsolably. Abhi quickly rushes towards her and tries to comfort her.
‘What's wrong, what happened?’ he asked hugging her tightly.
‘I am going crazy Abhi,’ she said sobbing.
‘Someone was here, but he’s not here now,’ she continued pointing towards the pillow on her left side as she was barely able to speak. She was still crying. Abhi quickly calls the van parked outside and enquires.
‘There has been no movement around our house, they have been patrolling the area,’ he said as he disconnected the call.
‘He looked just like you,’ she said sobbing.
‘What?’ asked Abhi.
‘When you were inside the washroom, a man looking exactly like you was lying here,’ she said as Abhi sat beside her scratching his head.
‘How’s that even possible?’ he said as he looked at Shweta in disbelief.
‘Check your phone,’ she said.
‘What?’ replied Abhi still confused. ‘Please check your phone,’ she said again.
‘My phone is not here, Sudhir uncle took it to the lab, remember?’ replied Abhi.
‘You need to relax, maybe you had a bad dream…,’ Abhi suddenly stopped talking as what seemed like a ring tone of a phone startled him.
‘What is it?’ asked Shweta.
‘Shhhhhh….,’ said Abhi trying to listen carefully.
As he listened carefully he looks at Shweta.
‘Where is your phone?’ he asked.
‘It right here,’ she replied pointing towards her phone lying on the table next to the bed. Abhi again listens to the ring tone carefully. Abhi was sweating and with a trembling voice, he said, ‘that is my phone, listen,’ he said as Shweta too listened carefully.
‘Yes, that is your phones ring tone. I had set it,’ she said.
‘Stay here, it’s coming from downstairs,’ he said.
‘I am coming with you,’ said Shweta and she closely walk behind Abhi. As they come down the stairs they are shocked to see Abhi’s phone on the dining table. It was continuously ringing.
Now even Abhi was scared and walks slowly towards the dining table with his legs shaking due to fear. As they walk close to the table he looks at Shweta who nods and Abhi reaches out to pick his phone. He picks the phone with shaking hands and answers the call.
‘Hello… hello,’ he says in a faint voice waiting for an answer from the other side. Abhi is shocked at what the person says from the other side.
‘What is it?’ Shweta asked shaking badly as if she was about to have a nervous breakdown. Abhi looks at her, disconnects the call, leans on the table, keeps the phone down on the table and points towards the calendar on the wall. He sits in the chair and quickly gulps water. Shweta looks at the calendar carefully and smiles. The curtain of the kitchen door is lifted and Rohan comes out shouting,
‘APRIL FOOL.’ Shweta turns around and sees Sudhir’s son Rohan standing with a cheekish smile and holding both his ears. She smiles and runs towards him lovingly punching him in his shoulder and hugging him.
‘Ahem, ahem,’ was the sound as she turns around and sees Abhi smiling and holding his ears as well.
‘You both made a fool of me?’ asked Shweta feeling awkward.
‘We thought of this prank as a way to break out the monotony,’ said Abhi. Shweta rushed towards him and hugged him.
‘Bro, though I am still wondering how you got into the bed after I went to the washroom, nice trick because she went ballistic after she saw you in the bed and then she saw me coming out of the washroom,’ said Abhi laughing hysterically.
‘She thought it was me who was in the bed with her and it scared the big J out of her when she also saw me coming out of the washroom,’ he continued laughing.
‘What bed? I was here hiding in the kitchen all the while,’ Rohan said confused but his voice was lost in Abhi’s laughter. Meanwhile, Shweta served tea and the three got busy chatting.
‘What bed? I never came in the room today,’ Rohan whispered standing close to Abhi.
‘Nice try man, that was hilarious, and good job with removing your fingerprints. Were you wearing gloves last night and how did you clean the house? Now that was freakish,’ said Abhi ignoring what Rohan was asking and laughed. They all chatted and laughed through the night. After a while Abhi’s phone rings, ‘excuse me,’ he said and goes to the kitchen to receive the call as Shweta and Rohan were chatting.
‘Hello,’ said Rohan as he answered the call and the call was disconnected immediately. He looks at his phone confused and receives a text message.
‘Check your phone's gallery,’ the message read. Abhi swipes through the gallery and clicks on the last clicked photo. He looks at the photo, horrified. He drops the phone and the phone hits the floor with a bang shattering its screen.
He stared at the phone without moving. It was as if he was stuck in one place. He slowly bends down in disbelief to have a look at the photo. The phone screen was cracked as it fell but the last clicked photo was still visible.
It was a moving picture clicked from near the bedroom door and was clicked when he was coming out of the washroom. Shweta was visible sitting on the bed and so was he walking towards the bed from the washroom. He zooms the picture further and falls backwards as he clearly sees the face of the man lying next to Shweta; IT WAS HIM lying next to Shweta in the picture with a wicked grin on his face.