Mar 29, 2023
Mar 29, 2023
by BS Murthy
Continued from “Ranjit’s Predicament”
Kavya, a child prodigy, was the only offspring of a financially hard-pressed couple from Kovvur, on the banks of the Godavari. As her parents went to lengths to groom her well, she began to live up to their expectations, and that prompted them to shift to Hyderabad to cater to her big-ticket talent. While her father became a clerk in a real estate firm, her mother took to catering for a couple of working women’s hostels, she strained her every nerve to top the school. But coinciding with her entry into the college, her father ventured into the real estate business, which by the time of her graduation in arts, grew into Oasis Builders.
Soon, her parents made her marriage their dining table-talk; her mother, wanting her daughter to have a better start than she herself had, was bent upon a well-heeled groom, but her father, still smarting from the snubs of his poor-groom days, vowed to give her hand to ‘a promising nobody with a potential to become somebody’, as he put it. Un-enamored of riches, as Kavya sided with her father, he soon zeroed in on Ranjit, and bowled by his looks, she batted for him against her mother’s objections. However, in deference to her mother’s wishes, she married Ranjit in Lord Balaji’s precincts at Tirupathi, but sadly, in the return journey, as her parents were killed in a road mishap, the Oasis Builders too landed in the groom’s ownership lap.
By the time Ranjit finished the recap of his life and times with Kavya, as they reached Road No. 69 in the Jubilee Hills that leads up to the Spandan, Dhruva brought the Esteem to a halt at the street corner. Letting Ranjit go down the desolate road, and wanting to be alerted on the mobile just in case, the detective stayed back to see if anyone waited in the wings. When it was all clear, Dhruva followed suit by focusing his torch all the way on the road, and entering the compound, he observed the rain-drenched pathway and said that Kavya had left home when it was still raining, and might have unwittingly hired an auto-rickshaw, lying in wait for her.
Then stepping into the Spandan proper and having scanned the insides, when Dhruva wanted to see Kavya’s photograph, Ranjit handed him her photo album; and struck by her stunning features stunning looks, he felt that they could be the portrayals of her fabulous persona. While envisioning the poise of the vivacious woman, who would have become his assistant in the normal course, the detective wondered whether her kidnapping would be the loss of his lifetime. But when the impropriety of holding on to the album dawned on him, he handed it back to Ranjit with the assurance that she would be back in her man’s arms before he started missing her.
Soon, revealing the opening moves of the Operation Checkmate to set Kavya free from her kidnappers, and leaving Ranjit thereafter, Dhruva called up Shakeel, on his mobile, wanting him to set the informers behind the usual suspects. However, as the cop broached the topic of Radha, recalling the mysterious trespasser, the detective wondered if the temptress was indeed a murderess and whether she would ever venture into 9, Castle Hills or not might as well lie in her destiny.
Back home, after a quick shower, with his favorite Old Monk with Thums Up for company, Dhruva began working on various moves of the endgame, and soon succeeded in affecting a mental checkmate of Kavya’s captors. But, the thought that she may not have any stomach left for the risky endeavors of a sleuth made him feel like he was back to square one in his quest for a capable hand.
However, after an unappetizing dinner as he retired to bed thinking about both the women in the same vein, he wondered if the woman ‘at the gate’ was indeed Radha, and felt that it was difficult to imagine her as a murderess. He thought; if only Shakeel had showed him her photograph that Pravar gave him, and wondered why he failed seek it himself? But feeling that it won’t behoove well to ask for it afresh, he cursed his lack of the presence of mind, but nevertheless thought that maybe, as a seductress, Radha could rival Mithya but there could be no temptresses like Kavya for sure. Besides, won’t Kavya be an invaluable asset even if she were half as cerebral as her husband pictured her? When it suits him to have either Kavya or Radha to assist him, what a bonus it could be if both of them joined him. Won’t it be real fun with both of them around but given the attendant jealousies, it could as well be a hard grind for him. But then, after all this mess, would she like to join him?
What with the myriad thoughts about them continued to storm his head; he had a disturbed sleep that long night.
More by : BS Murthy