His behavior was normal or nothing that would catch the attention of the authorities but his unspoken words had led to many speculations in the past. He had a sling bag across his shoulder which from the outside, looked as if it was empty. But it was not.
Adjusting his bi-focal, wiping his fore-head, he took out the press card from his pocket and showed it to the security officer outside the office. A quick customary glance at the card and the officer thought of asking a question but he was interrupted by Vijay Phadnis pro-actively,a reporter for IndiaTomorrow.
‘yes I have an appointment with the minister.’ Vijay said. And showed the email confirmation from Madam Aparajita Banerji’s office.
‘everyone has’ said the inspector wryly still examining the card.
‘yes but I have to speak to her on a very urgent matter’ Vijay remarked.
‘yes everyone's issue is important’ inspector looked at his counterpart and smirked.
‘you are right, the other day I got one whose cow had run away to another field,and they refused to give her back ~’ they broke out into a snigger. ‘Oh my- cowuch’ added the other inspector continuing the joke.
Vijay Phadnis had a strange way of communicating with his eyes. They were intense. They were angry..but his face was still. As Vijay kept looking right into their eyes, the inspectors turned to look at Vijay and their laughter died down...something told inspector Balwinder Singh that there was something not right about Mr. Vijay Phadnis…but he could not point his finger on the dot.
‘what is it about ?’ Singh asked.
‘it is a matter of national importance’. Vijay replied matter-of-factly.
‘which is?’ Singh raised his eyebrows.
‘i cant share this with you - it is only meant for Madamji.’
‘why?' am I not important? am I not intelligent? am i not educated? am I not worth living in this planet?’
It even surprised Singh as to why he took off so suddenly. Inspector Singh spoke sternly, somehow his deepest insecurities came out. There was something in the tonality of the guy or the way he looked... he was not sure. But there was definitely something wrong and he was getting angry.
Just then the other inspector gestured to Balwinder Singh to calm down.
‘what are you staring at? Take your sorry ass and get out of here’ said Singh , trying to keep his voice low.
‘I will not go until I meet Madamji.’ Vijay replied quietly.
‘are you arguing with me?’Balwinder was getting furious now.
‘if I have said no it means a no’. Sensing an escalating commotion the other inspector remarked to Balwinder -‘we still have time before lunch’.
Balwinder looked at Vijay squarely in the eye…and after a few seconds to calm down he said…‘go to the reception desk and register yourself' the inspector said pointing to Pinky.
‘We should alert other officers,I find something fishy about this guy.’ remarked Balwinder quietly to his counterpart.
‘Naah nothing to worry he’s just an old journalist trying to save the nation on his big strong shoulders’ remarked the other inspector sarcastically.
After a brief moment of silence ,exchange of cold glances, Vijay Phadnis went to the reception and registered his name. Pinky could smell Polo green on the gentleman. She was sure because she 'd gifted one to her lover in the party.
It wasn't until much later that it would strike Pinky why the perfume and the man seemed an odd combination.
When Pinky woke up – she saw blood spattered on the wall, Balwinder Singh lying on ground dead .A plethora of bullets had strewn his body and his counterpart had been shot in the head.
The door to Aparajitaji’s cabin was ajar..
Shocked at the sight she barely managed to get out of her groggy self & dragged her feet to peep inside the room – only to see an open window and bullets strewn on the carpet…with no sign of Aparajitaji….or the stranger…
She frantically searched for her mobile and pressed the redial…in horror..
‘Hello Pinky – what happened’? said a dark voice from the other end.
‘Balwinder and Shindey are dead and I was gagged’ said Pinky trembling.
‘Damn you’ screamed the voice.‘you have failed the mission – killing Aparajita was our only option to win the election’.
‘No Darling please listen to me.... we were on track, we had cancelled all other appointments,kept the area clear of all people, and we were on the clock… but this strange guy came from nowhere and showed us a letter from Aparajita herself’…
‘what ? who came? What letter? The dark voice interrupted.
‘some Vijay Phadnis had come. Balwinder tried to wave him off but he didn’t agree…so instead of creating a chaos and raising an alarm ,Balwinder thought of getting this over and done with quickly and quietly... and he sent him to my desk for the usual process of registration... and I think that’s when the perfume’ ….she trailed off…
‘WHAT ? how could it be Vijay Phadnis? Yelled the voice. ‘Vijay Phadnis is dead. I killed Vijay Phadnis 20 years back.! How could he be walking into that door?
Shocked Pinky slumped to the ground…and as the wind gushed in from the open window..the pages of the register turned and the scribbled name…. showed Jatin Banerji.
Gyanban Thoughts - Read about Aparajita - I ?
This post has a lot of questions unanswered - and it is deliberate. Possible sequel ? Yes thinking on those lines. The story is shown from two angels and depicts how the meaning changes and impacts the crux of the story.Each untied thread is a clue and leads to your imagination about the various outcomes. Note the first name and last name of the characters..this too will give you some clues.They have a meaning inculcated in the story.
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