Continued from “Rags to Riches”
Waking up early and finishing his chores readily, Dhruva found himself in the portico, fixing his stare at the gate, though wondering at his obsession for an unknown dame, possibly a murderess. Having had his breakfast there itself, and weary after a long vigil thereafter, as if he became wiser to the hopeless wait, he retreated into his study and lost himself in fine-tuning the Operation Checkmate of Kavya’s captors. So, when Raju appeared at the lunch-time, he wanted to have his meal in the study itself; and after his prolonged siesta, grabbing the mail that was fetched to him, he found the expected application from Kavya and an unexpected letter from one Radha Rani, C/o. Begumpet Post Office.
‘How ingeniously inviting; is she the alleged murderess?’ he thought having read the latter. ‘But then Shakeel was referring to her as Radha and not as Radha Rani; maybe he gave a damn to the superfluous Rani, akin to the vainglorious suffix of Devi; but sans the suffix, could this Radha be the real one or merely her namesake? Isn’t the duality of the possibility intriguing, but whoever it is, can she be as good as Mithya where it matters? But of what avail her eagerness if she were to be a plain thing; why won’t she spare me the perils of attraction in the portals of proximity. At any rate, for man’s peace of mind the serene presence of an un-alluring dame serves better than the flirty tempest of a desirable woman. But then, sans the tumult of the heart, can there be life in life; oh, how the absence of woman is killing!’
Given her eagerness for the job, Dhruva felt that waiting for his reply, Rani could be right up there at the post office, and so he penned a call-letter post-haste and hurried Raju on the errand wondering what the future had in store for him. However, seeing Raju’s back, as he readily picked up Kavya’s post, he was amused at his fickle mindedness for having given precedence to an unknown woman over someone he fancied.
‘Added to the stream of boldness, isn’t there a strain of rashness to Kavya’s persona?’ he thought folding her letter. ‘If not for the fiasco, wouldn’t she have filled the gap that Mithya’s death had created in his professional life? Why foreclose the option, as all it takes is to see that my interview call greets her on her return to her Spandan, and who knows, after the dust settles down, she may not be averse to answer my call. Whatever, Ranjit should be cautioned not to let her know about my involvement in the Operation Checkmate for even if I were to click with Radha, nay Rani, why shouldn’t Kavya provide the second string to my investigative bow? What if I fall in love with her as well; so what, that would be the second one to the Cupid’s thing, what a welcome prospect that could be? But then, why place the cart before the horse, or horses to be precise, when life would take its own course anyway.’
When the clock struck four, attired in black trousers and a white shirt - Dhruva thought of dressing like Ranjit, and be present nearby the Tanesha statue every day till the D-day to let Kavya’s captors take him to be a regular - he stepped out of his abode to step into an auto. Soon reaching the Tank Bund, and alighting from it at the Nannaya statue, he walked up to the nearby Siddhendrayogi’s; and finding Ranjit at the Tanesha’s, he himself settled nearby on the lush green lawns where with a book in hand, and seemingly engrossed in it, he kept a hawk’s eye on the traffic and the passers-by alike.
Then around five, a white Maruti Zen, driven by a twenty-something guy, slowed down as it neared the Tanesha from the Ranigunj side, and before it was six, as that car of Karnataka registration made two more rounds in like fashion, Dhruva thought the one at the wheel could be the driving force behind Kavya’s kidnap. Since the suspect came alone to pick up Ranjit’s signal of consent, the detective reasoned that his accomplice, possibly the woman who penned the ransom note, might have held back holding Kavya in captivity. Though he suspected that the Zen could be a stolen one, yet he called up Shakeel to pass on the vehicle number, after which, he left the scene leaving Ranjit alone.
Back home, as Dhruva awaited Rani’s expected arrival, Shakeel came to him seeking his helping hand to close in on an inter-state counterfeit-note racket that came to the fore just then. Though he was disinclined to leave home lest he should miss out on Rani, if she were to show up, yet his proclivity to face professional challenges got the better of his need for courting the woman he enamored; so, briefing Raju as to how to deal with her, in case she turned up, he accompanied the cop to the Saifabad Police Station.
After burning a lot of midnight oil at the police station along with the cop, the detective developed a blueprint of the Operation Moolah for the former to fine-tune its logistical aspects; and thereafter as he reached home, fearing that he might have missed the date with Rani, Raju informed him that none came to see him.
‘How I hoped this woman would fill in the void; am I flattered to be deceived?’ he thought in all disappointment.
What with his obsession for Rani that accentuated the pain of his year-long loneliness occasioned by Mithya’s death growing by the hour; he became pensive thinking that she might have developed second thoughts about joining him. Soon though, as his thoughts insensibly turned to Kavya, he felt that had Oscar Wilde espied her, perhaps he might have paraphrased his smoking quote as an ode to her - the perfect example of a perfect beauty - and began to wonder what would have happened had she, instead of being kidnapped, made it to 9, Castle Hills.
Thus he spent the rest of the night imagining the possibilities till his tiredness induced him into a deep sleep.
Continued to “The Gatecrasher”