Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spirited performance....concluding part

read part 1 part 2 

The next day, Shalini and Sriram went to banks together and began the completion of the formalities. Shalini found that Sriram was a great help and he kept her spirits high throughout the entire period. At the end of the week, all the jewelery had been removed from the bank lockers, the deposits were transferred to her account and the transfer of land documents to her name was complete. He later helped her sell off the land and most of the jewelery which she did not want.

"Sriram, I can never thank you enough, you not only helped me reconnect with di, you also have been a wonderful friend to me as well. How can I ever repay you?"

"There’s no need for that, Shalini, had I married Malu, you would have been my sister in law. Anything for you, my dear."

"Thank you again, but I must give you something...anything that I can do....."

"Malu wants to say something," he interrupted.

Then turning to the space next to Shalini, he listened.

"Malu wants to know when you are meeting Alok chachaji in Kanpur? He is supposed to transfer some property to you."

"Ah! chachaji..."then she turned to face the empty space herself. "di i'll leave for Kanpur tomorrow, I want to stay with them for some time.”

“Call me when you are back, my dear”


It was almost a month and Shalini had not called back. She was sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee in her hands, eyes swollen and red, when she saw Sriram getting out of his car and walking towards her.

“Shalini, there you are…. I was so scared, why didn’t you call?”

“Oh, really..?”

“Ofcourse, and while you have been gone, I’ve been thinking about you the whole time. Malu was a support to both of us, and now that she’s gone, I wanted to…I mean, I realized, we could be each other’s support system.”

Dramatically getting down on one knee, he brought out a ring from his pocket,

“Will you marry me, Shalu”

 “Of course….but only in your dreams, you scheming b*****d.”

“How can you talk to me like this, Shalu, I really want you to marry me..”

“Hmm…so that you may ask me to transfer all my money to your account just like you asked di, isn’t it? And when I refuse, you can kill me too like you killed di?”

“What..? How did you..? What nonsense..! How can you say such things, you know how caring and helping I’ve been ever since Malu left us. In fact it was she who suggested that I ask you to…isn’t it Malu,”
He said turning to face the empty space next to him, eyes filled with pain.

“Shut up, you liar… and let my poor di rest in peace. I know there is no Malu di here and she never was.”

She pulled out a gun from her bag and pointed it at Sriram. “Why did you have to kill di?”

Suddenly the sympathy and pain in his voice was gone. In its place was a wide evil grin.

“Yes my love, you are right, there’s no Malu with us. I ensured that I sent her away on a one way ticket.”

And with that he burst into a deep throated laughter. There was almost a sinister ring to it.

Very deftly he picked up a cushion from the sofa and threw it on her face. As she tried to duck, he lunged forward and caught hold of her hand snatching her gun. The gun now pointed at her forehead.

“Poor baby, things like these don’t suit delicate hands like yours. Ha, no, let me correct that….inexperienced hands like yours” he sniggered.

With one hand holding both her wrists, he pulled her dupatta with the other and tied her down.

“Smart. Very smart…all these months you have been playing along with me, eh? All the while acting like a damsel in distress?”

“I realized your bluff the very same day, just before we met at shukravari talav. I had almost believed you, and the tale that you spun. Fortunately, since there was time, I started flipping through di’s picture album, reminiscing about old times, also wondering why she never told me about you. Suddenly I saw your photos. At Neeraj’s birthday party….”

“Neeraj’s birthday, yes…. “a smirk beginning to form on his face.

“There was a picture of di throwing a glass of lime juice on your face while you looked shocked and everyone else cheered. I was bewildered. I called up Neeraj and asked him about the incident. He told me how you had been following di around like a madman, pressurizing her to marry you. You knew she was earning very well, didn’t you? Di had refuted your advances and in spite of that you followed her to Neeraj’s birthday party that day. Neeraj told me how you had been trying to misbehave with her and how she had splashed your face with lemonade.”

“Someone actually took a picture of that? That’s clever…lucky it didn’t get splashed all over FB, or did it?”

“It will be, but all over the newspaper, you moron.”

“I realized she wanted to spare me the worry and also keep me protected from you.This got me all the more curious to find out why you were now meddling with me. I realized that you two were not on good terms with each other. I knew that you have been spinning tales about di coming back. So I playacted talking to di after you “left” knowing fully well, you would be just out there listening.”

“Ah, yes, I was indeed….or else how would I know about the property in Kanpur?”

“There is no property, and there is no chachaji, our father was a single child.” She smiled.
When you brought up the topic of going to Kanpur, I knew you had overheard me and you bluff was exposed.

You shot her didn’t you?”

“Oh….so you know that too?”

“I told you I am leaving for Kanpur, but I went to Lucknow instead.”

“You went to my house? How did you know…?”

“Did you forget that you gave me your visiting card when you first met me? When I reached your house there was no one there, just an old housekeeper. I told her I was your friend. She let me in and told me the family was away at a wedding and will be back the next day. That was my golden opportunity.”


“You mean, what did I find there? I found your room, and your cupboard, where you had hidden your gun and your blood stained clothes. I packed them off with me. I also found di’s diary that not only had her bank account details but also snippets of her relationship with me. So that explained how you knew the little details about us. But what I expect to find now is, why you did it. Why did you kill my sister?”

“The b***h was acting difficult to get. She was worth a fortune. I would be sitting on a virtual goldmine if I married her. All my financial difficulties would be over.”

“That is it? You killed her because she wouldn’t marry you? That is all a life is worth to you?”

“Oh don’t give me that emotional crap…”

“What did you get by killing her? Anyway you could never get her money after she was dead.”

“I know…I know….killing her first was a mistake. But once I did it, I figured I should get a fake marriage certificate and then get access to her account as her husband.”

“But you realized that I was the nominee in all her accounts….so you came to me with your story”

“Clever you…”

“The gift and the blink of the car headlights....That was you, isn’t it?”

“I had to make you believe your di, was back, right? How difficult is it to gain entry into your house with the duplicate keys that I found in your sister’s apartment?” and the headlight trick, Oh! I know that, she’s done that with me before, and I used her remote car key right under your nose when you were begging for a sign… how dumb can you be?

“You tried to act friendly and helpful, and ensured that I sold off the land and jewelery and every bit of money was safe in my account? And how did you think I was going to turn everything to you?”

 “Oh, that’s the easy part; I’ll show you how….”  He took a cheque book out of her purse and threw it on the table.” Sign these, my love and spare me the pain of having to shoot you too, or if you are very eager to meet your sister, I’ll bear the pain …with a heavy heart of course… .”

“Never, you leech…” and gathering all her strength she landed a hard kick on his groin.

He yelped with pain and fell down dropping the gun. She loosened the dupatta before he could get up and ran to grab the gun. He recovered and leapt towards the gun too and both tried to gain control over it. In the melee, the gun went off and Sriram fell down writhing in pain, the bullet piercing through his abdomen. He was about to catch hold of her legs, when they heard police sirens and heavy sounds of footsteps.

Suddenly there were policemen everywhere, and Sriram was now being accosted away.

“Are you ok Shalini?”

“Neeraj…. thank god you are here.”

“Shalini, the fingerprints on the gun matched Sriram’s and blood from his clothes match Malu’s. Do you realise how incredibly brave you have been to do this.”

She was in a daze, quite shaken and not appearing to listen to him.

He sat her down.” Relax, sweetheart, I’ll get you some water.”

Shalini slumped down, hands trembling and lips quivering with the thought that she could just have shot dead her sister’s killer. She felt nauseated and suffocated. She slowly got up again and walked to the window to get some fresh air.


Startled, she looked down at her garage, tears streaming down her face.


From Malu’s di’s car...

Flickering twice….

Like she always did…..

"Soak no more in your own tears....for you know not what power they possess..." 

Malu di's favorite song playing in the background.

                                                                 the end
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