read part 4 here.
“Alok, Raman….” Baba’s thundering voice took them by surprise as they saw him and Mai emerging from behind a tree. “Stop right there.”
“How did you both come here?” Raman was surprised they should arrive here like this.
“Is this why I have lived so long, to see all this? Both of you killed Shyam? And now you are planning to kill him again?” he broke down.
Mai held him as he cowered down, sitting on the ground, hitting his head with his hands.
“Kamala called us and said she had come back to this village, and she lived here. She wanted to meet us here today, she had something to share with us,” said Mai, “But what do we see here? Are you really my children?” Mai was furiously beating her chest, wailing, “Oh lord, why didn't I die before I saw all this?”
‘Kamala called them? Why?’ Alok was confused why Kamala would call them and ask them to come to this place. ‘What connection did she have with this boy?’ he wondered. ‘And where was she? Why hadn't she come here?’
It was the day after Shyam’s funeral. Kamala had wanted to meet Alok on the terrace that night. She looked shattered. Her eyes were red and swollen with crying.
‘What is it Kamala?’ asked Alok.
‘Why did you have to kill my Shyam?’ she asked amid tears.
‘I know how you feel, Kamala, but who told you I killed him? I wouldn't do that to my own brother.’
‘I will go to the police, maybe then you will have to accept your crime.’ She threatened, her voice quivering with anger.
‘Suit yourself’ he replied, ‘but if I were you I wouldn't do that.’
She had gone to the police but had no proof against the brothers and Alok had harassed her enough to drive her out of the village. She had vowed to avenge Shyam’s death.
Was it a mere coincidence that she had called their parents here? Maybe not. Maybe she knew that Shyam would be here today. If Shyam had contacted them, he would also have contacted her. Yes that would explain the connection’ he reasoned.
Shyam walked up to Baba and helped him get up.
“Baba, Mai, let’s go home” said Shyam putting Baba’s hand across his shoulder.
“Not so soon,” came a booming voice from behind. Alok and Raman stood stunned as policemen surrounded them.
“We got a tip off that an old case that was believed to be an accident was actually a murder and we would find evidence here.”
The police bundled them off to the police station and began their investigation. Alok had successfully evaded the questions but Raman, the chicken among the two, soon owned up to the crime. Mai and Baba were aghast to know how the brothers had meticulously planned Shyam’s accident. The police recorded the statements of Mai and Baba and then let them leave.
Baba, Mai and Shyam watched the two brothers being put behind bars.
“The police have summoned me regarding the case,” lied Shyam as he took leave of his parents after dropping them home. “I’ll come back soon.”
He took a rickshaw and went to a small house on the outskirts of the city.
“Ma” he cried as he went in.
Kamala was sitting on the corner of an old bed face buried in her palms sobbing. She saw Shyam and ran to him. Mother and son hugged each other, tears streaming down their faces.
‘Because of you Gopal, justice has been served. Your father’s killers have finally been punished” she said caressing her son’s head. “Let’s go back home, far away from all this, we don’t want any share in the property, all I wanted is to punish Shyam’s killers” she said. “I am so sorry I put you through all this Gopal.”
Kamala and Shyam had secretly married a few months before. That day Kamala had found out that she was carrying Shyam’s child. They had both been overjoyed and had planned to tell the elders that they had got married and ask for their blessings. But then the accident happened. With Shyam no longer with her, no one would believe that she was carrying his child.
Alok’s harassment had forced her to leave the village and settle in a nearby city. She had given up all hopes of avenging Shyam’s death and had devoted herself to bringing up Gopal. As Gopal grew up she was surprised how he looked and behaved exactly like his father. When he had been old enough to understand, she confided in him and hatched this plan to make Alok and Raman accept their crime. She tutored Gopal extensively and as she looked back, she was happy that her hard work had paid off.
“No Ma, don’t be sorry” Gopal consoled her, “you did nothing wrong. Let us go to Baba’s house, Baba and Mai need me, now that Alok and Raman are in jail.”
“What will you tell them?”
“Leave that to me,” he winked, “just bring that Mangalsutra and Bangle which your husband had given you the day before he died. Mai had kept it for Shyam’s bride and she will recognize it the moment she sees it.”
“Hmmm…”she said, and then she froze as his words echoed in her mind.” Mangalsutra and bangle? How could Gopal possibly know that? She had never told him about that.