Diaries Magazine

The Tangled Mess - V

Posted on the 13 August 2014 by Rajrupa @irajrupa
Read Part IPart II Part III Part IV here.
When Jha pushed the calling bell in 2F, a woman in her thirties opened the door. Unlike the other apartments that he had visited so far in this building, this one was over stuffed with expensive furnishing. It looked as though the owner had lot of money to spend but didn’t quite know what to spend on.The Tangled Mess - VThe woman, Mrs Sharma informed that her husband was out in office and confirmed that they didn’t have the slightest familiarity with the murdered woman from 9B. It took Jha a lot of effort to restrain his eyebrows that were threatening to shoot upward but he managed. He decided to wait for Mr Sharma while his wife continued to talk. Mrs Sharma couldn’t stop raving about her husband. She spoke at a length about how Mr Sharma’s company had been begging him to accept the post of the Operations Manager and how after refusing for over a year he had finally agreed and that they were soon scheduled to travel. She also gave him a detailed account of all her neighbours and whom she thought could be involved in the case.It was pretty neat, thought Jha. Have an affair with a neighbor and when things got complicated leave the country with family. It fit in. But what remained to be seen was whether or not Sharma was the killer. It could be. Upon learning that Sharma was about to leave the country Aditi could have threatened to expose him to his wife. Seeing the situation out of control, Sharma could have seen no other way than to kill her. Jha decided to find out more details about Mr Sharma. But his wife had only words to worship him. According to her, he was attentive to her and their eight year old daughter’s every need, loved them dearly and never ever came home late. She broke down when she got to the health issues of her husband, she couldn’t understand why such a good man had to suffer so much and bitterly accused God for such injustice. What a two-faced neat liar this Sharma was – thought Jha.While leaving, his eyes fell upon a photograph that intrigued him. A group of men, all dressed in white t-shirt and shorts stood smiling in front of the housing complex’s gate. Mrs Sharma supplied the information he was looking for. It was Mr Sharma’s morning walk group. [next]
When Mrs Basu opened the door to find Inspector Jha, she could barely suppress her annoyance. But Jha ignored her less than welcome expression and entered with an air of someone who was regularly invited in this home.“Where’s Mr Basu?” Jha asked.“I sent him to the supermarket downstairs for a packet of tea. He will return anytime. Would you like to wait?” Mrs Basu looked as though she had just had to chew an entire branch of Neem leaves.“Yes. I have very important business with him.” Jha chirped.“Okay.” Mrs Basu turned to leave.“Mrs Basu, tell me one thing, what do you know about Mr Sharma, who lives on the second floor?”“Mr Sharma?” Mrs Basu replied and turned back, “Oh not much. He is my husband’s acquaintance. Why? Is he a suspect? Even if so, I expect you wouldn’t grill my husband much. He has a weak heart.”“Oh is it? Why? What’s wrong with him?”“My husband has had two surgeries in his heart already. He is very weak and delicate. I request that you keep that in mind.”“Sure I will. Thank you for letting me know Mrs Basu. By the way, I heard that Mr Sharma also had undergone a surgery recently?”“Oh yes. Few weeks back I think. My husband told me. Some problem was there in his pancreas. He’s started doing yoga in the open air on the terrace ever since. Morning also I saw him. Why, he went down the same elevator as my husband.”“Really?”“Yes! You can confirm that with my husband. But I think it was him only in the elevator.”“Thank you so much Mrs Basu.”While Jha waited for Mr Basu to return, a noise caught his attention. A woman was shouting at the top of her voice countered by an equally loud male voice.He peered through the open window. Downstairs, through the open space between the buildings and the main gate a constable was dragging the autistic son of the widow who lived opposite to the victim’s apartment and she was running behind shouting. Ambekar followed with quick steps. A lot of otherwise closed windows were open and many faces were dotted behind them.The woman tugged at Ambekar’s sleeve. Her voice, though unclear, was clearly pleading. Then a lot of things happened, in such quick succession that they were over even before Jha could pelt himself away from the window.Ambekar stumbled as the woman tugged at his sleeve. He flapped away his arm to avoid, and, Jha couldn’t tell whether it was intentional but his fist landed squarely on the woman’s neck, effectively knocking her down to the ground. At that instant the autistic son of hers wiggled himself free miraculously from the constable’s clutch and clamped his fingers around Ambekar’s neck. Before Jha could even begin to appreciate his height and strength, he had let go, hopped over the boundary wall with surprising agility and vanished into the woods that lay beyond leaving Ambekar on his knees. The two constables went after.It took Jha a moment to recover and then he was on his way downstairs. A lot of people – mostly housewives, unhinged by their husbands’ absence, were now coming down in the opening. Few of them sympathetic but mostly curious. When Jha reached, a substantial crowd had gathered, unlike the morning. The mother was still on the ground like a heap crying her heart out while Ambekar tried to talk her to get up.Feeling lost, even though a tiny part of him knew what was happening, Jha approached Ambekar. Seeing him, Ambekar threw both his hands up in the air and said, “Here you are. I have been looking all over for you.”“You could have called me. What happened?”“Her son,” Ambekar jerked his head toward the woman on floor, “you know the mental one? He is our killer. I came to arrest but he hit me and took off. I’ll make sure he gets the noose for this.” He gritted his teeth.“How do you know? How do you know that he is the killer?”“How do I know? Well, I know because I don’t ignore the calls that we take at the police station. He called after you had left. When I pestered, he confessed the crime.”“Confessed? What did he say?” Jha was amused and had to work a lot to keep from sarcasm.“He kept telling that she deserved it. That she deserved to die. When I asked why, he said because she did bad things to good people. Then I asked if he did it. He said yes he did it, he confessed that he put her there, to show the world. To teach them a lesson that bad things happened to people like her.”“He said all these?”“Well, not so eloquently. But I got the gist.”“You can’t arrest someone on the basis of a phone call Ambekar. That kid is five years old mentally, he doesn't even probably understand anything.” Jha was beginning to feel irritated. The woman on the floor gave a whimper and let out a wail at this point.“Oh no. I have proof.” Ambekar showed his yellowish nicotine stained teeth and held out a plastic bag containing a blood stained key. “The front door key of 9B. And I will get the prints from the apartment matched.” he said triumphantly.Love,
The Tangled Mess - V

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