could you do it?" Ankita asked as she was clutching her
trembling hands under the table, staring at the handcuffed Tarang
Ker. The dark dimly lit room was making it difficult for her to see
Tarang clearly and Ankita regretted it.
needed to see him and satisfy herself that the man was in pain. She
needed to know it. Ankita was almost sure that that was the only way,
the pain in her own heart, which she felt every day for the past
seven years would lessen.
as Ankita spoke, a dark vicious hatred spread through her heart.
Though Ankita did not stop this hatred usually, but right now, Ankita
was struggling to beat down her emotions. Being too close to the
bastard was bringing back memories...Memories which Ankita had been
trying to forget for the past seven years. Unsuccessfully.
her eyes adjusted to the dark, Ankita could see Tarang's features
clearly. The man was cuffed to the horizontal bar affixed on the
table and his hands and face were scarred. His brown eyes looked dead
and sunken, like he had not been getting enough sleep and his full
lips which laughed readily once, were now shrivelled and his sickly
skin hue was making him look ghastly.
for the first time, Ankita felt slightly better. The man deserved
more, but at least, prison life had taken a toll on him. The bastard
was suffering at least a little for what he had done. That was when
Ankita realized that Tarang with his sunken eyes still looked at her
with a strange expression. It was not an expression which Ankita
could identify. And Ankita was not the least bit curious to know what
it meant either.
beat down her hatred and felt strong enough to look at Tarang again.
She had come here to tell him what he had taken away from her life.
To make Tarang understand, how he had just snuffed out a beautiful
life, without a single shred of remorse. To make him understand,
what her sister meant to her. Ankita always felt that among the two of
them, Shreya was the more beautiful and the more talented one. And
Ankita adored Shreya because Shreya had never let Ankita feel that
Shreya, Ankita was her baby sister. A baby sister, whom Shreya had
protected fiercely from the bullies at school and to whom Shreya
never hid anything. They told each other everything - right from the
things at their school to Shreya's first crush.
that kind of a girl was now not here. Her life brutally cut short....
could feel her hatred almost threaten to consume her, as her eyes
were getting blurred.
She could not appear weak before this pathetic excuse of a human being,
Ankita told herself fiercely, as she ignored her stinging eyes
and cleared her throat forcibly. Tarang needed to know what he had
taken away from her life. "She was so...." Ankita started
speaking and stopped immediately because she hated her own voice
right then. Her voice was trembling with hatred, with anger
and...from fear. And she looked weak. Ankita's voice trailed away and
there was a very numb part of her brain wondering how she could
complete the sentence. Shreyawas so ...Beautiful? Bubbly?
Chirpy? Smart? Trusting?
could Ankita describe Shreya? Ankita was almost horrified as she
realized that she really did not know why she had dragged
herself here to see the bastard. She could tell him nothing. She
could explain absolutely nothing to him. Ankita realized that Tarang
was a disease. A sick disease, who was trying to ruin her life. He
had already destroyed her sister and he was doing the same to her
now. Just more slowly. Very, very slowly and painfully.
Ankita looked at Tarang wondering how he had done it. How could he
convince Shreya so well with so much evil inside him? How could the
usually astute Shreya who noticed everything misjudge a man so badly.
questions swirling in Ankita's mind could never end and they brought
the one phrase which Ankita had come to despise. The phrase which
always left her with a bitter taste in her mouth. A phrase which was
as sickening as the man before her...If only...
suddenly, Ankita was finding it impossible to breathe as everything
around her was getting blurred. Ankita was afraid that if she stayed
in the room any more, the darkness was going to infect her in some
way. The memories which she thought she had buried, surfaced almost
drowning her as all Ankita could remember was the red colour flashing
before her. The memory was as terrifying now as it had been when she
had seen it first. The bloodstained curtains, Shreya'slifeless body and Tarangbending over clutching
Shreya's dead body in his hands....Ankita was struggling to get her breath
out, as she pushed herself away, trying to get out of the room.
made a sickening discovery that she had made a huge mistake in coming
here. An atrociously stupid mistake. She had genuinely thought that
after seven years, the wounds would have healed and that she could be
brave enough to look at her sister's murderer.
was the reason she had approached the cop who had been handling her
sister's case – Nataraj Manohar. When Ankita first met Nataraj,
Ankita was glad that Nataraj had asked her no questions when she said
that she wanted to visit Tarang. Because Ankita was in no position to
articulate why she wanted to talk to Tarang. One look at
Ankita, and Nataraj had immediately agreed to take her inside the
prison to see the man. But then Nataraj himself had a personal
interest in the case. He was known to Ankita's family and there was a
time when Ankita thought that Nataraj was going to marry Shreya. But
that talk had never progressed any further, because Shreya never
encouraged Nataraj. Despite that, Nataraj had still remained a good
friend of the family.
right now, Ankita desperately wished that Nataraj had stopped her.
was not prepared for this. Nothing could prepare her for this...
Tarang's sunken eyes and watching the handcuffed wrists, the very
same wrists which once wore a Rolex, did not give Ankita the vicious
satisfaction which she had expected to feel. Burning inside her now
was not just her hatred. As
Ankita saw Tarang, she became aware of another painful emotion
churning inside her – Guilt. Tarang was paying a price for the
crime that he had committed. And it crashed into Ankita's head that
she was the one who was in prison – her mind never let her
forget and all she had done in the past seven years was replay the
murder scene as she had seen it, in a continuous loop. No matter how
far away from the country she had gone, how much distance she put
between herself and her people, the truth was that she had never let
her past go. She had never even known how the past seven years had
gone and she was captive of her mind. And she had not even done
least that was what she kept telling herself.
hands were trembling so badly, as she realized that her mind would
never let her forget the five missed calls which she had had from
Shreya, that evening seven years back.
sister had been calling her for help. Despearately. And Ankita had
heard none of it. Worse, Ankita was attending the party, enjoying
herself. The very party that Shreya had refused to come to because
Shreya had fought with her long time boyfriend and Shreya had wanted
some time alone after it.
what really hurt Ankita was that she had spoken with Shreya just
before entering the party. Shreya was in better spirits and she had
wanted to tell Ankita something important and Shreya had promised her
that everything was going to be alright and even promised to tell
Ankita some important news when Ankita came home.
the call, Ankita had put the phone inside the purse and had entered
the party feeling happy, ready to enjoy herself, thinking that
everything was alright with her sister.
seven years later, Ankita could not even figure out what Shreya had
wanted to tell her. That secret also died with Shreya. Because while
Ankita was enjoying herself, someone had killed her sister. Not just
someone...this very bastard, Shreya's boyfriend, the man whom Shreya
had wanted to marry – Tarang had killed Shreya. He had killed
Shreya with his own hands. Because Shreya had walked away from him.
please listen to me, I never confessed to the murder," Tarang's
words were desperately hoarse and it almost seemed like Tarang had
not spoken for a long time.
when Ankita heard what he had said, something inside Ankita
snapped. Tarang did not even admit to putting an end to a
life...."You son of bitch!" Ankita's scream was almost
who was behind Ankita, was shocked as Ankita pushed herself back and
her chair fell back with a thud as she moved ferociously fast to the
other side of the table and slapped Tarang viciously. In the same
move, Ankita brought her hand back in another slap.
her blows were so hard that the cop saw some blood in the killer's
mouth as the killer's head whipped hard on both sides as he looked
badly jarred. Tarang was cuffed which was why he could not protect
himself and he winced as he shook his head. But he said nothing more,
bending his head down, taking deep breaths as his hands were
was breathing hard and raised her hands again, as Nataraj came
forward, coming before Ankita, ready to stop her. Before things went
too far out of hand. With Ankita in this mood, Nataraj had no doubt
that things would get ugly real fast. But then, Nataraj seriously did
not mind what Ankita was doing. Nataraj genuinely believed that the
man languishing in prison deserved this... and a lot more.
didn't...." Tarang's voice was broken and he was struggling to
breathe properly as Ankita pushed Nataraj out of the way and hit
gasped as he was struggling to protect himself as Ankita snarled
angrily at him. "You were leaning over my sister's body
and the knife had your fingerprints." Ankita spat out
angrily as she realized that the son of a bitch pretended to not understand what he had done. But she knew. She
knew the entire case of the prosecution. She had attended every
single day that the case went on in court. Her parents had tried to
stop her from going to court, but Ankita had never listened to them.
But the bastard needed to know.... That was the main thought
in Ankita's head as she could not stop herself. "And you just
had a fight with her the day before...." Ankita screamed
angrily, but she could not continue as she chocked on her words.
smug bastard was just driving Ankita mad with hatred. Ankita moved
forward clenching her hands tightly in a fist as Nataraj looked at
her with a sad expression shaking his head, trying to stop her in
case she did something that she was really going to regret.
looked at Nataraj's face and nearly cursed but she was trying to
control herself as she was trembling from head to foot. Ankita pushed
Nataraj away and snarled pulling her hands back in another vicious
was talking to you about her pendant that day." Tarang said,
suddenly stammering slightly, as he swallowed painfully as he stared
at Ankita with a pretty pathetic expression on his face.
bastard was telling her this now. In a swift move almost defying
physics, Ankita shoved Nataraj out of her way again, as her face went
Tarang was not done torturing her, "You took Shreya's pendant
without telling her. I was there at that time that you were talking."
Tarang said in a pained voice.
felt a red film around her and a hatred envelop her. Hatred the likes
of which she had never even felt as she pushed Tarang hard on the
table, as she chocked the life out of the man. Slowly, painfully...
suddenly felt herself being pushed back hard.
relax!" Nataraj looked at Ankita holding her hands tightly as
Tarang was retching behind. No one paid attention to the criminal as
Ankita was trembling struggling to control herself.
I came there to apologise for our fight."
swore viciously and honestly he looked like he was going to kill
Tarang himself, but Tarang showed no signs of stopping, "I
apologized and I proposed!" Tarang was almost sobbing for
breath, "She accepted. As Shreya was speaking with you, I had to
attend a phone call. It was a business deal and I went out of the
house to talk through the deal. When I came back, half an hour
later...." Tarang chocked shaking his head. "I love
Shreya!" Tarang said swallowing looking painfully at Ankita.
"With my whole heart. She was the only love of my life. Why
would I kill her?" Tarang was looking at Ankita with a pathetic
expression and he was struggling to get the words out as he tried to
get near her, but his cuffs were preventing him from doing anything.
snarled and would have punched the man but the girl needed his
attention. She looked like she was going to hyperventilate. Her dark
face suddenly became unbelievably pale and her whole body was
one believed my story. They did not even hear me!" Tarang was
trying to come forward looking only at Ankita.
heard Tarang perfectly fine and he did not like what he heard. In a
fit of anger, Nataraj turned and slapped Tarang hard as Tarang
collapsed falling down the ground and hitting himself on his head, on
were convicted!" Nataraj blazed angrily at Tarang. "But not
before you made a mockery of the entire legal system. Your lawyer
tried to make us look like fools," Nataraj nearly kicked the man
who was blindly pushing himself back trying to protect himself. "Your
lawyer kept saying that there had to be a third person in the scene!"
Nataraj sneered angrily. "What stranger could come to that
house? We found you with the murder weapon in your hands. There was
no need to look any further. I was in the outskirts of the town and I
was the first one to arrive at the scene and I found you holding
Shreya. And I am more than sure that if I had not come, you would
have killed this child too." Nataraj said looking at Ankita
angrily. Nataraj looked angrily at Ankita, "Go home, kid!"
he said with cold anger. "I thought I was doing the right thing
by letting you see him. I thought I was giving you closure. I made a
mistake." Nataraj could barely control himself as he kicked the
fallen man again who winced terribly trying not to cry out in pain.
"This man is still lying. All these years he was in
prison and he still denies it! I wonder what he did with the ruby
ring he gave her, when he proposed to her!" The cop yelled
kicked Tarang again.
ring?" Ankita asked in a sullen tone, shaking her head. Nothing
anyone said was making sense to her anymore. She could not process
anything any more. She just wanted to go home and she wanted to cry
herself to sleep like she had done all these years.
didn't do it," Tarang gave a strangled gasp, pushing himself
back. Tarang gave a sobbing breath, not able to say anything else.
looked at Ankita and looked vicious. "That is the only
reason I did not want you to meet him. That sick bastard deserves to
be killed. Mercilessly. And just as I feared, if you let such
bastards talk, all they will do is bleat about their innocence
sir, I realize that coming here is a mistake," Ankita
interrupted Nataraj looking at him with pleading eyes. There were
tears in her eyes and she did not even seem aware of it. "I want
to go home."
am telling the truth," Tarang managed.
snarled turning as he flexed his fingers angrily but Ankita clutched
him loosely and she looked like she was looking like she was going to
will take you home, kid," Nataraj said angrily, spit flying from
his face, trying to lead her out of the prison room.
stared blankly at Tarang unwilling to move and her haunted expression
unnerved even Nataraj. "Ankita?" Nataraj asked shaking her
gently, pushing her out.
looked at Tarang and there was an impossible look on her face. One
that could not be defined.
didn't do it, Anki!" Tarang said swallowing painfully.
want to go home," She whispered and almost no one could even
hear what she had said.
that Ankita just refused to say anything as she was just staring
blindly at the walls. Nataraj saw that she regretted coming to the
prison and genuinely felt sorry for the girl.
he led her out of the prison and Tarang was bleating about his
innocence as the prison guards pulled the man away.
seemed like she just could not understand anything and as she seemed
to be in no condition to even drive her car, Nataraj drove her to her
new home – her new flat in the city.
the entire rise, Ankita was glazed, broken and tired. Ankita did not
even look like she knew that her home had come and she was stubbornly
staring out of the glass window, unwilling to talk.
Nataraj said gently as they had come to her home and she showed no
signs of getting out of the vehicle.
looked startled suddenly and without a second glance, she walked away
from there, stumbling. She did not even wish Nataraj. Nataraj would
have been very surprised if she had. The kid looked like she was not
going to surface for a really long time.
was desperately trying to make sure that her hands did not shake as
she dialled the number of the lawyer – the one who had been engaged
by Tarang. She did not know the lawyer personally. But from the
proceedings, she knew that the lawyer had tried. He had really tried
hard to prove Tarang innocence and tried to prove that the murder was
done by a third person. But the man had nothing to prove his claim.
Nothing at all other than surmises.
seven years back, Ankita had wanted nothing more than to kill the
advocate, for trying to represent an excuse of a human being. And
Ankita really thought that she was going to kill the lawyer, if she
ever saw him again.
Ankita was stuttering.
the voice on the other side was guarded.
Ker?" Ankita said in a rush. "Do you remember his case?"
Ankita was still stammering.
is this?" The lawyer sounded exasperated.
am Shreya's sister and I think...." Ankita said as she was
gasping for breath.
Sen, I am sorry for your loss but please I do not wish to..."
The lawyer interrupted her firmly as he continued.
think Tarang is innocent!" Ankita shouted because honestly she
could not control herself.
was a silence. A huge silence.
The lawyer's voice was a whiplash.
third person!" Ankita yelled. "The third person who could
have been there at the scene." Ankita said still heaving, "The
murderer was there the whole time that Tarang was there. And that
person waited for Tarang to go out of the house and then killed my
found no proof of it, Ms. Ankita Sen," the lawyer said angrily.
"I tried finding all the proof about it..."
could find no proof because the murderer was the very cop who
was investigating the case!" Ankita screamed suddenly as she
could no longer stop the tears in her eyes.
was a silence. A deep silence.
ruby ring!" Ankita wailed. "Nataraj said he was on the
outskirts of the town. Then he could not have been the first one to
come to the scene. But Nataraj was the first person in the scene.
That means he was lying. Nataraj told me that Tarang proposed to
Shreya and gave her a ruby ring. And the ring was found no where in
the scene. There was no mention of it anywhere in the case. Nataraj
should not have known about it. Not unless...."