Monday, March 14, 2011

The Final Adieu - Part 6


Day 2, 08:00 am

Sagar was walking back and forth in the living room. Asheeta was sitting on the sofa and checking her blog in her laptop.

"Has anyone else commented, Ash?"

"I told you, I will get an instant email alert if someone commented. And for your information, this is the eleventh time you are asking this question in the last 15 minutes" replied Asheeta wearing an exasperated look on her face.

"How many views?" Sagar asked ignoring her remark.

Asheeta threw her hands up high in the air and said

"Give me a break Sagy. What is the use in knowing the number of views?"

"I am wondering why Kathir hasn't made the call yet"

"I don't know. But what I know is you are losing your grip. Just slow down and think"

"Alright! Let us focus" Sagar said and sat next to Asheeta. "Now think and tell me, how many members regularly comment on all your blogs, especially the TFA series?"

"Around 20"

"Fine! Out of them, how many comment within the first 2 hours of posting your story?"

"Um, 6 or 7"

"Hmm. Now this man, the real Kathir, is obsessed with your story. He believes you are writing about him. He waits for
7:00 every morning just to read your story"

"So?"

"Now listen carefully; I spoke to Sabitha's husband Rajesh this morning. He told that when he figured Sabitha did not return last night, he had checked Sabitha's mail id for any clues as to where she might have gone. The last mail that she received was from a friend, who Rajesh never knew existed. What if Sabitha was a member of this site and this friend is the lunatic who befriended Sabitha and then tricked her into coming to the beach?"

"What do you imply?"

"If we find Sabitha's site id, we can find the one id of the 20 members who reply to your story who is also in Sabitha's friend list?"

"That is under the assumption that Kathir comments on my story, right?"

"This man correlates with your Kathir character. He could not restrain himself from commenting”

"Let us hope your assumption is correct. By the way, how do we find Sabitha's site id?"

"No worries, I have her mail id. I have contacted Yamuna and she is on her way here. She said she will provide us with all the support required"

"What...You mean the WonderWomen site admin Yamuna?"

"Yes"

"Oh my God! You mean Yamuna mam is coming here?"

"What is so surprising?"

"Wow! When were you planning to tell me this?"

"I guess, just now"

Asheeta threw him an angry stare and ran to her bedroom mumbling about changing to some other clothes. Sagar could not understand what the hype about Yamuna was. And that was because he had never met Yamuna.

**********************
"Juice, mam"

The air hostess, who had seen so many film stars and models, decided she had never seen a woman like the one sitting before her. Yamuna had an olive complexion. She was wearing a white denim shirt and a dark blue denim skirt that came down to her knee. She was wearing a white gold, round shaped stud that had intricate flower designs and glittered like a diamond. She had let her hair fall free on her shoulders. Her hands were beautifully manicured and her legs were long and slender. The rigidity of a man and her femininity had blended well in the right proportions. There was no trace of make up found on her face, yet she managed to look extraordinarily stunning.

Yamuna looked up at her interrupter mildly irritated. She never liked being interrupted, especially when she was reading. But her anger vanished the moment she saw the smiling face of the air hostess. She briefly shook her head and resumed reading the book 'Practicing the Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle.

"Ask yourself what problem you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment?

You can always cope with the Now, but you can never cope with the future - nor do you have to. The answer, the strength, the right action, or the resource will be there when you need it, not before, not after"

Yamuna closed the book for a while and let the lines sink in her mind.

This was the sixth time she was reading that book. Every time she read it, she learned something new and felt rejuvenated. She always carried it wherever she went. And she knew it was now she needed the book more than any other time.

Yamuna was born in
Madurai. She lost her father when she was 2 and her mother when she was 3. She had only one elder brother left for a blood relation who ran away when she was 6. She later stayed in a hostel and studied. Her expenses were taken care of by her aunt and uncle. They never loved her, nor did they ill-treat her. They just acted as guardians but never once called her to stay with them for weekends or holidays.

When all the children of her age played with barbie dolls and teddy bears, she spent her time dreaming. All her dreams were different yet the same. In one dream, she was a little princess for who all were fighting among themselves to adopt her. In another dream, she was a charming witch and with one swoosh of her magical wand she got herself a handsome father and a beautiful mother.

When she was 13, nature took care to turn her into a beautiful young girl. She kept staring at the mirror. And she did not stop dreaming. But this time, it was not about her parents, but handsome young men competing for her proposal. She kept rejecting all the men in her dreams saying to herself that her man was none like the ones in her dreams.

When she was 17 she realized that just dreaming was not going to do her any good. She decided it was time to make her dream come true. Her uncle had told her that he could not afford for her studies any more. But he promised to get her a job or to get her married. Yamuna replied firmly with a bright smile lit on her face

"I am first going to become famous. The rest will follow on its own"

Her uncle thought for a while and asked suspiciously "So, how do you plan to become famous?"

"Simple...Media" Yamuna replied and walked out of her pathetic life with her head held high in the air.

She heard her aunt mutter under her breath "She will only become a s**t", but that did not stop Yamuna. She decided that nothing was going to stop her thereafter.

Yamuna flew to Chennai the next day. She always had a passion for writing. She wrote innumerable articles in her school magazine. When she sat and thought how she was going to attain her dream, she could only think of journalism. She started sending articles to news papers. Her first was rejected. Her second was also rejected. Her third, forth, fifth, every one of her articles were rejected. That was the time when she wondered if she was wrong. May be she should have got married like her uncle suggested. But she did not realize that with every article she wrote, her writing skills were getting sharpened.

It took her 13 failure articles to reach one successful article. When she was her name and article on print in one of the top selling news paper, she flew without wings. It was just a kick start for her career. From then on, she encountered only success.

She learned she could not survive in the competitive field without proper training. She did part time jobs and did courses as well. Her natural talent and her hard work paid well. She became a well known journalist.

One common thing that she faced wherever she went interviewing people was, women were not acknowledged. She once interviewed a female artist who said how much she yearned for one comment for her works from her friends and family members. There was another female chef working in a 5 star hotel who admitted reluctantly that her husband never complimented her recipes at home.

Yamuna met hundreds of women who had no one to share their works, exchange ideas and interact without any barriers. She wanted to do something for these women. It was on a bright Sunday morning that the idea of a site for such women to meet and interact popped in her mind. She raced to her friends to share about her idea. Most of them rejected saying it was the most stupid idea they had ever come across. Some, who encouraged her initially, backed off when she took measures to make the site come true.

Yamuna stood all alone yet bold and vivacious. Even before starting her dream project, she knew how she was going to call her site - WonderWomen.

At first, due to her persistence her friends joined WW. But after seeing the creativity and hard work she put for the site, they actively participated in the discussions. Word about WW spread through their mouth. Then it was banners and news paper advertisements that took care to bring in more viewers for WW. Women all around the world found almost all their questions answered from WW and only then did they turn to Google.

When WW reached thousand members, her friends thought Yamuna achieved what she had wanted to. But Yamuna was insatiable. She worked even harder. She introduced blogs in addition to the forums. She included many more sub-forums for nation wide discussions. WW grew enormously and there was no stopping.

The latest statistics states that WW has more than a million members and there were at least a million hits every month.

Yamuna was stationed at Mumbai for an interview with one of an upcoming model when she received a call from a police officer about one of her active members, but she did not give it much of her attention then. But one hour back she had received a call from the same officer who now claimed that a psychopath serial killer was making a story in her site come real. Such popularity was the last thing she wanted for WW. She had immediately booked a flight to Chennai.

Yamuna's mind was in turmoil and she was reading her favorite book to keep herself calm. The pilot flipped the seat belt sign. She knew her flight was going to land in a couple of minutes. She closed her eyes and prayed for the women and for WW.

**********************
"How do I look?" Asheeta asked Sagar adjusting her hair.

Sagar studied her closely. She was wearing baby pink georgette Kurti with sequins and crystal work and dark blue skinny jeans. A heart shaped silver stud adorned her ears. She looked dazzling as ever.

"Beautiful...!!" Sagar answered unable to move his eyes off her. Asheeta blushed instantly and she felt the need to change the topic.

"So, what were you doing all this time?"

"I was reading your story. Actually, I wanted to ask you something. You never mentioned about the call Kathir makes to all the women before kidnapping them...?"

Asheeta felt a sudden chill spread inside her. She remembered the call she received from an unknown number the previous day after meeting Sagar at the beach. She debated for a second if she had to mention about the call to Sagar. Then she decided against it and said

"Oh yeah, I...I forgot"

Sagar raised an eyebrow and eyed her suspiciously. He opened his mouth to say something when they heard the calling bell ring. Sagar opened the door. It was a woman in her late 20s.

She briskly marched into the living room and quickly glanced around the house. Then she turned to Sagar and said

"You must be Sagar?"

"Yes, and you are?"

"Yamuna, WW admin. I believe you requested my help" Yamuna smiled courteously.

"Oh yeah, sorry for the trouble"

"Absolutely not. And is this Asheeta?" she asked turning towards Asheeta.

"Yes mam, I..." Asheeta started but was interrupted by Yamuna.

"Just call me Yamuna"

"Ah...yeah...I am sorry, Yamuna"

"For what?"

"About this TFA series. I never thought in my wildest imagination that a serial killer will land up in my blog. I..."

"Oh no no, this is not your fault. Don't worry" Yamuna said and turned towards Sagar and said in business like tone

"So, what do you want me to do?"

"I have an email id. Can you get me the corresponding WonderWomen site id?"

"It is just a matter of seconds. I have an excellent team working with me waiting for my word. Please wait" Yamuna said and made a call on her mobile. Then she put it on speaker and prompted Sagar to continue.

"OK. I have an email id - cutesaby.r@gmail.com. I need the corresponding WonderWomen site id"

After a couple of seconds, a voice said

"Please take it down Sir. It is sabsneedhelp"

Asheeta saw the id, written on a piece of paper by Sagar, open mouthed. She picked the paper with trembling hands and looked up at Sagar terror stricken. Sagar immediately knew that something was wrong.

"What happened Ash?"

"This...this id..."

"Come on speak, what about this id?"

"She...she is a regular reader of all my blogs"

"Does she comment on your blogs?"

"No, she sends me a PM"

"What is a PM?"

"PM means Private mail. It works only within WW, for the members to interact and get personal" clarified Yamuna.

"Wow! We police officers are working our a** off to provide security and reduce crime, and here you have provided a site for criminals to barge-in victim's lives" Sagar said in a sarcastic tone.

"Oh really! And you were the one who let a serial killer kidnap a woman right before your eyes, right?" Yamuna retorted.

Sagar and Yamuna stood for a while glaring at each other.

"Alright! I was wrong. Sorry" Sagar said in a pacifying tone.

"Fine! Let us get back to business" Yamuna said.

"So, what do we do now?" Asheeta asked.

"Give me the id's of the members who regularly comment on your stories" Sagar asked.

Asheeta gave the list. Then they cross checked with Sabitha's friend list but found no match. They also checked with the few members who sent her PMs, but none matched.

"So, we are back to square one, I guess?" Asheeta asked.

"No, we know that the real Kathir never commented on your story" Sagar replied.

"What about the sender mail id to Sabitha's mail? We can check for the corresponding side id?"

"He might have used a different id. Anyways, let us get it confirmed"

Sagar was right. The voice on the call said that there was no id in WW corresponding to goldie.in4u@gmail.com.

There was a moment of silence for a while.

"Wait, you have a point" Yamuna said suddenly

"What?" Sagar asked.

"You accused me of providing platform to criminals to barge-in their victim's lives. But, tell me something. Four women from this site have shared their email ids with this man they have never met. Though they thought they were interacting with a woman, when will a woman trust another woman so soon?"

"What do you mean?"

"If I have a problem, anyone who interacts with me claiming she too has a similar problem will make me move closer to her, isn't it?"

"Hmm, true"

"So, if we could check the threads started by Sabitha and find out the one id who had been empathizing with her recently could lead us to the serial killer"

"But, why can't we find the other women ids that were killed and find the common friend?" Asheeta asked.

"Good idea. But the serial killer would have used different ids for each of these women. We need to match the ip addresses for the ids. That is a long shot" Yamuna said.

"But it still is a shot. Let one team work on that and another team work on what you said. I have asked my team to track the sender of the mail that I received. One of these should work" Sagar said.

Asheeta let out a sarcastic laugh and she broke into tears almost immediately. Sagar held her in his arms and said

"Hey, what happened Ash?"

"While framing the script of this story, I thought of making Kathir record all the killings and present it to his nephew. You know, it was so interesting to frame such thrillers then. But now I just can't believe it is happening for real"

Sagar did not know how to comfort Asheeta. He watched her helplessly when Yamuna barged in and almost pulled Asheeta from Sagar's arms.

"Is there anything else useful you can do other than crying?"

Asheeta looked at Yamuna perplexed for a while. The shock treatment seemed to work, as Asheeta had stopped crying instantly.

Sagar just then received a call on his mobile. He was on the call for a few minutes and then turned to Asheeta.

"Um, Ash, I need to go now."

"What happened?"

"I will tell you as soon as I get back, I promise" he said and hurried to the door.

"I am also coming" Yamuna said.

"No, this is..."

But Yamuna did not allow him to finish.

"I am not asking your permission. I am just informing"

Sagar did not want to delay any further, so he accepted half heartedly.

Sagar and Yamuna were traveling in the jeep. Yamuna waited patiently for Sagar to start the conversation. After a while, Sagar spoke.

"So, why did you want to come?"

"I wanted to see the body"

"What...what do you mean?"

"The other woman who was kidnapped, she was killed right?"

"How did you know?"

"The look on your face"

"Yeah, and I don't know how I am going to break this news to Asheeta"

"That is your problem. I will discuss only about the problem at our hands"

Sagar looked at Yamuna surprised. He could not understand Yamuna. But since there were more critical problems breaking his head, he ignored Yamuna.

They reached the location in 45 minutes. It was a new building in the ECR road where construction work was going on. It was said that due to some legal issues, the construction work was stopped temporarily.

They saw the corpse of the woman on the ground naked. The head was shaved. There were burns and knife wounds all over the body. The ring finger was cut from the right hand and was placed in a small polythene cover next to the body.

Yamuna let out a wail and she closed her eyes in disgust. She knew the sight she had just witnessed would haunt her for the rest of her life. Sagar studied the body for a while, and then he too turned away as he could not bear the sight.

An on the spot post-mortem revealed that the woman was alive all the while she was tortured. And the cause of death was found to be strangulation.

It took Sagar two hours to finish his interrogations. On their way back, both Sagar and Yamuna did not utter a word.

Asheeta was devastated on hearing the news. This time nothing could stop her from crying. Yamuna was holding her hands and offering comforting words, whereas Sagar kept wondering why Kathir went off script.

He opened WW and started reading Asheeta's story from the beginning.

It was the 9th part, where Kathir sent the suicide mail to police, that raised an alarm in Sagar. Sagar checked the mail printout he received the previous morning. A smile lit his face.

Sagar knew how he was going to trace the real Kathir.

**********************

Day 2, 01:30 pm


Sabitha was lying on the ground eyes shut tight and she was blocking her ears with her hands fiercely. Yet she could hear the screams of the woman who was tortured and killed hours earlier. The harder she tried to shut her ears, the stronger the screams wear.

She heard the woman scream for help, wail in pain and beg him to kill her. But the man showed no mercy. He kept shouting

“You asked for this Mother, you asked, you asked, you asked…..”

The screams went higher and higher until it reached a peak and then there was silence.

Sabitha opened her eyes. She glanced around the room for a while. She then looked down at herself. She smiled at herself. Slowly her smile turned into a wild laughter. She then started laughing hysterically.

Suddenly she felt a strong hand slap her hard on her face.

“What is so funny?” asked an angry and irritated voice.

Sabitha looked up at the man who kidnapped her.

“I know who you are”

“Really? I am myself searching the answer to that question. Why don’t you clarify?”

“You are the Yama and this is hell” Sabitha smiled deliriously.

The man smiled and knelt down before Sabitha. He moved closer to her and whispered

“For once, you are right baby”


1 comment:

  1. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.

    ReplyDelete