The Girl In Room 105[CHAPTER 8]


Chapter 8

‘Keshav. Keshav beta,’ I heard my mother’s voice as I woke up. I looked around to orient myself. Despite the noisy police station, I had finally fallen asleep on a bench. The clock in front of me showed four o’clock.

‘Maa,’ I said and rubbed my eyes. ‘When did you arrive?’

‘Just now. What happened? Why are you here?’ she said.

‘Where’s papa?’ I said.

‘There.’ She pointed towards Inspector Rana’s office. My father stepped out of Inspector Rana’s room just then and walked over to me.

‘We called you ten times. You didn’t even call us back once,’ he said.

‘Sorry, papa,’ I said, ‘I just…’

   Before I could finish my sentence, I broke down. My father, unaffected, wiped his face with a handkerchief. My mother hugged me to her. Nothing had ever felt better in my entire life. I wanted to be in my childhood room and have her put me to bed.

‘Why are you creating a scene in the police station?’ my father said.

  ‘Sorry, papa,’ I said, extricating myself from my mother’s arms. I wiped my tears. Others in the police station threw me sympathetic glances, perhaps thinking I was about to go to jail for a long time.

  ‘What were you up to? We thought you were taking tuitions while looking for a job.’

   It wasn’t the right time to correct my father and tell him that I did have a job. I worked as faculty at a coaching institute, which sounds way better than

‘taking tuitions’.

‘I didn’t do anything wrong, papa, I swear on you and maa.’

  ‘You broke into a girls’ hostel. Drunk. All our friends and relatives know this. The whole country knows this.’

‘I mean, I didn’t kill anyone, papa. I didn’t hurt anyone.’

‘Big favour you did. Thank you, son. Thank you for not being a murderer.’

  ‘That’s not what I meant, papa.’ I started to cry again. ‘I swear I didn’t know this would go so wrong.’

  ‘That Muslim girl,’ my father said in a savage tone. ‘She spelt trouble from day one. I told you years ago. I thought you ended it.’

‘Yes, we had.’

  ‘Then? You lost your brain again? Going back to her! Wasn’t the shame you caused me last time enough?’

  ‘You are shouting, Rajpurohit ji,’ maa said. ‘Please let’s discuss this later. Can we leave? Come, beta, let’s go home.’

‘I can’t leave,’ I said. ‘Inspector told me I can’t leave.’

‘He agreed. I had to beg him,’ my father said.

‘Why did you have to beg?’ I said. ‘They know I didn’t do anything.’

  ‘They can still keep you. You and your friend better thank him before we go.’ My father pointed to the inspector’s room.

‘So,’ the inspector said, spinning his mobile phone on his table, ‘you are lucky.’

Saurabh and I nodded. We had resolved to keep our mouths shut.

‘The watchman. We have enough against him to make an arrest.’

Saurabh nodded again. The inspector continued.

  ‘The media will be satisfied now, hopefully. Arrest within twenty-four hours. Not bad, no?’

I kept nodding.

‘You can go now. But there are some conditions. Agreed?’

We kept quiet.

‘Agreed or not?’ he shouted.

   I guess like those websites that make you click on ‘agree’ without reading the terms, we had to do the same here.

‘Of course, sir. We agree to all conditions,’ I said. I just wanted to leave.

  ‘So, here they are. One, you will not leave Delhi. In fact, Keshav, you will come and report to me every day.

  ‘Two, no media. I don’t care how much they pester you. You do not talk to the media.’

‘Yes, sir,’ I said.

‘Three, if I need anything else, you help me. I don’t know how IIT

works, so if I need to, I will come to you.’

‘Yes, sir,’ I said.

   ‘Good. I think the case will be closed soon. We will have the killer behind bars.’ Inspector Rana stood up. We took our cue and stood up as well.

‘We can go now, sir?’ Saurabh sounded disbelieving.

   ‘Unless you like staying in jail,’ Inspector Rana laughed, probably for the first time all day, or week, or year or in his entire career.

   Saurabh dashed out of the inspector’s room. Before I left, I gathered courage enough to ask the inspector one question.

   ‘Excuse me, sir, did you find out more about the watchman? Why did Zara slap him? How do you know he killed her?’

‘Go home. You will find out in the news.’ He winked at me.




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