The Girl In Room 105[CHAPTER 28]

 Chapter 28

Raghu speaks

I know this—whatever I say here, you will judge me as the bad guy. I am the villain of the story, and now you know it. I don’t expect your sympathy. After all, I did kill her. A vegetarian, Tamil Brahmin boy nicknamed ‘Bhondu’ actually murdered someone. I almost got away with it, though. With so many Muslim suspects around, nobody even considers the Tam Brahm. Prejudices, I tell you, can be used wonderfully sometimes.

I did it with my bare hands. I still remember the night. She had fallenasleep. It is easier to do this to a person who is asleep. You get a head start in cutting off their oxygen supply. As they are asleep, they don’t even realise what is happening for thirty seconds. After that, they wake up. They try to understand what is going on and panic. Panic makes it worse for them. Panic means they will thrash their hands and limbs around, wasting energy and whatever little oxygen they have. Zara panicked too. Her bird-like body fought my grip, my right hand around her neck. Her oxygen-deprived lungs became weaker by the second. Every time she tried to kick me, I gripped her neck tighter. She tried to hit my fractured left arm too. It didn’t make any difference.

I remember checking the time on my watch. One minute and ten second shad elapsed. If time flies when you are having fun, it crawls when you arestrangling someone. I had read several articles on how to do this on the internet. They said it could take up to seven minutes for a person to die.

Seven minutes is four hundred and twenty seconds.

‘Okay, stop shaking so much, Zara, it’s scaring me,’ I remember tellingher.

She should have conserved her energy. Instead of fighting, she should have tightened her neck muscles so her windpipe and carotid arteries wouldn’t be constricted as much. Of course, she didn’t know all this. My poor beautiful Zara may have been much better looking than me, but she was not as smart.

I am an introvert. I think, feel and say things in my head, even though I may not express them verbally. I remember I had a full mental conversation with her in those final minutes as she gasped for air.

Sorry, Zara, I didn’t bring a cake. I just couldn’t carry so much with me.

I had to climb that damn tree to come into your room. You and your ex may find such Neanderthal stuff romantic. I think it is idiotic. I did it though, see. I didn’t want you to feel I am any less of a man. It doesn’t matter that I run my own company with a hundred people. That I can give you what almost no guy in this world can. I even gave you a stake in my company. But until I climb a tree to get into your room, I am still a scared bhondu who is not a man. But look now, not bad for a bhondu, no?

I built triceps and biceps for a month for this. I had to practice climbing a tree using just one arm, so I could do it today, with the other one broken.

Maybe that is why my grip is working so well. You are protesting less now.

Your lungs have realised it. No matter how hard they try, there is no oxygen to be found. Like a fish out of water. Your body trembles for a few moments, then gives up. You like eating fish, don’t you, Zara? And other animals? This is how they feel before they die. This is why I am a vegetarian. Not because I am a wimp.

I didn’t want to kill you. You know I am not the type. I hate arguments, let alone violence. Remember how Keshav would call? He would try to provoke me. I never took the bait. Neither am I a person who will do something on an impulse. It is not like my mind is filled with jealousy and rage. No, it is not that at all. Acting on impulse is for fools. I, Raghu Venkatesh, am not a fool. I may be ugly, nerdy, black as a tawa, a chashmish, a father to potentially ugly kids (not my words) or a scared bhondu. But I am not an idiot. I have researched and planned this for weeks. As per my plan, the police or whichever moron tries to find your killer will go around in circles forever. Oh, and I know the perfect moron who will obsess about solving this and die of frustration. Zara, you have to be proud of me for this one. I almost wish I could release you right now. I want to tell you about my brilliant plan. I want you to be impressed by my intelligence. I want to hear your praise. Okay, two minutes to go.

You’ve stopped moving. That’s a good sign. Of course, you may not be dead yet, only unconscious. I don’t know what worked first. I am pressing your carotid arteries, which will stop blood supply to the brain. However, I am also choking your windpipe. So your lungs don’t have any oxygen. Maybe both these things are at play. I never took biology. Tech was always my thing.

Now one more minute to go.

You wanted to get intimate tonight. I said no, even though I wanted to, one last time. You looked surprised. You see, I don’t have time. Neither do I want to leave any traces. By the way, I never had a chance to ask you. How was I compared to him? I am no stud. I don’t have a six-pack or a six-feet-tall body. I don’t even have six inches of you-know-what. Is he big? I don’t know why am I thinking about this. Okay, seven minutes done. Bye, Zara.

I remember releasing my grip. The bruises showed dark red on her neck, like a bunch of nasty, oversized hickeys. I placed her body in the centre of the bed and switched on the table lamp.

I had come to her room at 1:50 a.m. I checked the time. It was 2:45 a.m.

I congratulated myself on what I had achieved in fifty-five minutes. I had chatted, pretended to fall asleep and murdered. All in under an hour. I am not only smart, I am also super-efficient.

According to my calculations, I had to leave by 3:30 a.m. But I had a few more things to do before that. First, I picked up Zara’s iPhone. I placed her thumb on the touch ID. Her fingers felt like sticks of ice. The phone opened on first try, though.

I messaged the person who I knew would respond like a loyal pup. I started a chat with Keshav Rajpurohit. He had an idiotic profile picture of himself with his fat friend. I sent him a message.

‘So you don’t even wish me anymore?’

He did not respond. I sent another one.

‘It’s my birthday. I hope you remember.’

As I waited for Keshav to reply, I rearranged the bed. I shifted Zara from side to side and changed the bed-sheet. She always kept fresh ones in her closet. I folded up the used one and tossed it into my backpack. I picked up the phone again. There were blue ticks now and I saw he was online. I knew it! I knew this lovelorn idiot wouldn’t sleep on Zara’s birthday. I sent him another set of messages.

‘Just was surprised you didn’t wish me.’

‘Anyway. Don’t know why I was thinking of you.’

‘I guess you are busy.’

He didn’t reply. I checked the time. I had to leave in twenty minutes. In desperation, I sent a few more.

‘Are you there?’

‘I miss you.’

A minute later, I saw him typing.

‘Wow. Really?’ he replied.

‘Excellent. The fish is biting,’ I said to myself. Ten minutes of mushy bullshit later, he was on his way to come wish Zara in her room.

With loyal pup on the way, it was time to make my exit. I picked up Zara’s phone and powered it off. I switched it back on again. This time the phone insisted on a passcode. That would take care of anyone trying to open it with her thumb. I placed the phone back to charge. I wiped anything I might have touched with sanitiser and tissue, and tossed all the used tissues in my backpack. I opened the window. Delhi’s cold February breeze hit my face. I checked the time—3:04 a.m. I am James Bond, I told myself, as I grabbed a branch of the mango tree and made my exit.

I walked out onto the Outer Ring Road. I was not stupid enough to take an Uber and leave a trail. I rubbed my hands in the cold as I waited for an auto. Ten minutes later, I found one.

‘Airport,’ I said to the auto driver.

‘Not taking passengers, just going home,’ he said.

I took out five purple two thousand-rupee notes and showed them to him.

‘What do you think?’ I said.

‘Sit. What will I do at home?’ the auto driver said.




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