Saturday, June 26, 2010

Murder at Bareilly XII

Chapter 3: Maiku
by Kali Hawa

Young Maiku always looked starved and in constant fear. He had a split personality; one that looked forward to taking risk and one that was fearful of failure, the contradiction always kept him on the edge. Maiku specialized in breaking encrypted codes on the net. He would often hack high security government and bank sites and then fear will overtake him; will quietly move away leaving no footprints. The by products of these adrenalin laced forays gave him some disturbing information which he had not bargained for, leaving him in fear of blurting it out to someone involuntarily therefore kept moving from one job to another. This constant movement did not get him good paying jobs therefore he was always short of money. Every now and then he would stay in Bareilly cooling his heels until next round of jeopardy brings misery to him. The other largely unknown characteristic of Maiku was his fear of the occult. He relied on, as well as feared tantra-mantra. The strange thing was his masochistic obsession for macabre objects relating to dark rituals, which he valued and also feared. His gullibility in such matters was phenomenal. Before coming to Bareilly he had met a tantric in Bangluru who had prophesied a large sum coming his way, the only lacunae was something brutal, gored and bloodied blocked the passage to it. This time his visit to Bareilly was tense, jittery and extremely edgy; burdened with a knowledge he did not seek and was unable to cope with ……….

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Double Murder at Bareilly III

Chapter 3
by Kali Hawa


Timsy worked in a pharmaceutical company as a research assistant. The boredom of repetitive work drove her mad therefore she became aggressive adventurer in stretching boundaries of sane behaviour. She tried psychotic drugs, would embark on difficult treks and climb rugged mountains; even tried forgery, shop lifting in order to bring some excitement in her bored life. There never was any remorse for these delinquent forays she occasionally indulged in. Progressively these endeavours would bring little joy so every next time she would seek a more daring avenue to gratify her whetted appetite for that elusive sense of thrall these non-conformist ways bring to life. Once she brought kitchen knife and confronted an appalled Shaheen to etch something on her arm. Timsy presented a study in contradiction; a façade conveying a meticulous and very skilful professional at the same time clumsy and inept in mundane dealings. Only her husband knew that she would pull her hairs and cry uncontrollably in isolation after every few months, this flummoxed and confused him no end. In contrast Shaheen never had difficulty dealing with life. He had focus and aims which he progressively reached some quickly some with effort and a lot of time but there never was any confusion about the drift life was taking. While he was young these aims and goals were set for him by his parents and now they are set out of reflex thinking. He never thought about philosophical complexity of life, keeping it simple worked fine for him. He never had enough free time to worry about boredom as an issue to confront. Before coming to Bareilly he had seen Timsy in one her blue moods……….

Shashi Vader

Shashi Vader had sharp criminal mind and an animal’s consciousness for self preservation. He never worked seriously at any place and the few places he worked, he swindled the owner without any remorse. Vader had a disturbed childhood. A prosperous and ambitious father trying to set direction to the drift of his life; mostly citing his own illustrious story as an example to emulate. Murlidhar was diligent and focused person who got lucky in life. In contrast Shashi Vader had fickle mind and short attention time, the constant reminder from his father to
focus on a goal only increased his irritation and resolve to break free. He dreamed of making good but through devious means and in a very short time therefore the gambling addiction. This driving urge to teach Murlidhar a stinging lesson made him put up atrocious stakes in the game of luck. He lost mostly went back to his father shamelessly and grew angrier in each round of the vicious circle of his own
creation. Eventually an angry and exasperated Murlidhar disowned him,vowed to deny him any inheritance and willed half of every thing he had to various temple trusts and the remaining to his close and trusted friend K D Sahib in the faint hope that if Shashi Vader made amends in his wayward life then K D will suitably reward him. Vader never forgave Murlidhar or K D Sahib in fact he swindled K D Sahib when he tried to set up a legitimate car parts business for him in Bareilly. Vader soon turned that swanky office in his dealership store into a gambling den attracting the hotshots of the underworld. Business dwindled quickly but Vader assumed KD Sahib to replenish the losses in the assumption of his legitimate right to Murlidhar’s
legacy. KD completely washed hands off him. Neck deep in debts to the underworld his survival instinct led him to flee Bareilly. The news of K D Sahib leaving him undisclosed sum in his will left him in a serious dilemma………….

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Double Murder at Bareilly II

Chapter 2
By Kali Hawa
Sir Prabhakar sat at the head of the table, Acharyaji flanked him on his right while CP followed by Dr Bhaskar, Atiputi, Simone, E Babu and Shishir sat on the other side of the table. Next to Acharyaji sat Sarita Devi then Maiku, Dr Golu, Shaheen and in the end a mystery guy closed it. As already described Timsy sat at a skewed corner between Attorney Sangam Lal Saxena and Shishir Caulla.

The mystery guy didn’t utter a word through the meal. After casual small talk conversation veered to mystery of Shashi Vader. Acharyaji was first to offer his opinion. According to him Shashi Vader is neck deep in loans he borrowed from the loan sharks and he doesn’t think there is too much left to him by K D Saheb therefore unwilling to risk his limbs and enter Bareilly. Sir Prabhakar interjected, “Serves him right!” Dr Bhaskar embarked on character analysis of Shashi Vader. He is a restless person with streak of criminal tendencies. He lacks a sense of balance like other people that make them socially responsible therefore the reckless gambling. The realization that such acts invariably result in dreadful backlash occurs to him when it is too late. Shashi Vader was known to steal from K D Saheb’s fancy watch collections and sell them through Shishir for a pittance. Strangely K D knew this but never took forceful steps to bring Shashi Vader to responsible ways.

At this point Sangamlal Saxena coughed and sought Sir Prabhakar’s permission to begin reading relevant portion of K D Saheb’s will. All eyes now focused on the attorney. He walked over to the mantle, removed sheaf of papers from the leather bag he had left there and began reading the document in his deep baritone making every word sound crisp and clear. The dinner hall submerged in deathly silence except the ringing voice of the attorney ricocheting across the hall.

I, Kedar Dutt Caulla in full control my mental faculty assert this operating part of my will as supplement to my initial assertion already read and hopefully in execution for the past fifteen years. At this point I cannot discount a remote possibility that Shashi Vader may not have claimed the sum earmarked for him in the opening part of my will, should it be the case, that sum which now becomes imperative to be disclosed, will remain isolated and lie dormant for another one year for that scoundrel. Yes, scoundrel because I have no sympathy for that heathen but as an obligation to an old friend who came to my rescue when I truly needed his help. Without Murlidhar Vader’s help I could not have raised this small estate of which you are all beneficiary. However at the expiry of this extended period this entire sum will go to Atiputi. My attorney may please open that envelop and disclose the sum at this point of reading my will.

Sangamlal Saxena fumbled briefly, fishing out a small vanilla envelop, tore its seal and removed a small piece of paper. He began reading from it:

I, Kedar Dutt Caulla, in my full senses and in full awareness of my responsibility towards my dependents, bequeath a sum of rupees five crore to Shashi Vader…………….

Everyone began to speak together causing a brief chaotic din, when Sir Prabhakar yelled in his authoritative voice, "Quiet!” Sanity returned to the table. Sir Prabhakar continued,

But Sangamlalji, where is the money?
Prabhakar Bhai, don’t jump the gun. Let him finish the document. K D Saheb must have known what he is talking about. Most of the estate worth lies in immovable assets, there never was enough liquid cash, certainly not five crores, I believe.
You are damn right!
‘May I make a suggestion’, CP interjected. Not many liked this unscrupulous hanger on. CP had no direct stake in the estate, only through his wife but that was not the reason for the general dislike. Everyone knew Meenakshi Devi had on several occasion public asserted absolutely no interest in inheritance accruing from K D Saheb’s will, but CP was quite another fish or should we say shark!.
You shut up! Yelled Dr Golu, vicious venom spewing from her quivering voice. Everyone was surprised by the ferocity of her reaction. CP knew Dr Golu indulged in unethical medical practice. She had done some clandestine organ transplants, abortions etc. Money attracted her, no matter where it came from. E Babu had a hunch, CP was blackmailing Dr Golu.

“Please be quiet gentlemen and ladies”, urged Sangamlal, ”We may discuss the will and its complete ramification once the document is complete read. Let me assure you that the content of this document is as mysterious to me as it is too. You may as well know that the document was witnessed by my brother and a clerk of our firm both of whom have expired.”
“Yes, of course! Please continue", egged Sir Prabhakar.
Sangamlal looked around importantly, coughed once and began,

I, Kedar Dutt Caulla, in my full senses and in full awareness of my responsibility towards my dependents, bequeath a sum of rupees five crore to Shashi Vader son of my close friend Murlidhar Vader. The money will be raised by selling 1904 Imperial Bank bonds. The bonds are of face value Rs 25,000/- which were already worth five crore in 1984 and the Reserve Bank of India is obliged to honour these bonds as assignees of erstwhile Imperial Bank. The bonds are kept in a safe within the Bareilly mansion. The safe can be located by carefully deciphering the following clues.

“The known Mersenne prime numbers form the matrix of mantle.”
“The number of Bridges in the Konigsberg’s problem will be the number of matrix horizontal element from left. “
“Zeno’s motionless runner paradox divides the distance by this number to get the vertical matrix element from base”

At this point a harried Timsy entered the hall, looked around for a seat, unable to find one, she cast a helpless glance at the gathering feeling very miserable; finally went out to fetch a chair. Timsy always looked harried, bewildered and lost as her mind worked ferociously at different tasks at the same time, so when she settled down at the table she had forgotten what was going on or why she was here. When Atiputi collapsed she felt relieved at attention moving away from her. After Dr Golu was through her macabre routine the quiet stranger got up, cleared his throat and said in his gruff voice,
‘I am inspector Manmohan from CID’, flashing his ID badge, ‘please remain seated in your place while I arrange for the investigating team’. E Babu looked at him approvingly. Sir Prabhakar informed the gathering that he had requested for CID presence as he had received anonymous threat of harm over phone.

E Babu found the motley group queer, desperate and pathologically inclined to crime. Every one of them except Sarita Devi, had an agenda, need for the money and some beastly ambition to match it. The queerest of them Shashi Vader, was keeping a low profile, while Acahryaji may have been manipulating Atiputi. He made a mental note; Acharyaji for ‘Chanakya buddhi’, CP and Dr Golu for being natural criminal needed to be watched very closely. All other were capable of murder, some by manipulation and some for bizarre reasons.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Double Murder at Bareilly

By Kali Hawa

The dinner table was full. Arriving late, Timsy had to pull from the lounge a plastic chair quite not melding with the mahogany furniture, set it at one corner of the table to make room for her. It wasn’t a very comforting arrangement breaking the aesthetics of the décor and as if this unbalance wasn’t quite enough, she knocked a glass on the table, spilling its content before settling down on the chair. A mixed look of despair, apology and eventually defiance crossed her countenance before freezing on a blank expression. Shaheen, her laconic husband didn’t say a word, offered a sympathetic glance as if the routine from Timsy was quite predictable. The commotion caused by Timsy came to an abrupt halt, replaced by stunned incredulousness. Atiputi had collapsed on the table, his torso slumped over the table, both hands dangling freely, foam spewing out of his mouth. Dr Golu immediately rose from her chair quickly reached collapsed Atiputi, after brief examination, declared nonchalantly, “No need to take him to hospital, morgue will suit him perfectly”. She had this uncanny knack for black humour. E Babu wasn’t paying attention to the commotion but scrutinizing every single face on the table very carefully. No one is above suspicion; he had internalized the idiom long back in his investigative career.

E Babu was guest of Caulla family gathering called to read key features of the will of the grand patriarch of Caulla clan, K D Saheb. K D Saheb had amassed a fortune in Bareilly contracting in logging the forest around the mofussil town when going green wasn’t a fad with the hoi polloi or the cognoscenti. Caulla cottage was built in the busy Rajendranagar area over plenty of land but with passage of time, area became cluttered with large and small shops mushrooming all around it. Now the Cottage alone has some open space, rest of the area, a busy but claustrophobic market place. K D’s will had some intriguing features, chief being division of estate and property to be done exactly fifteen years after his demise until then Sir Prabhakar was the sole executer of estate without any right to sell or make capital expenditure. How the division was to be done was described in a sealed envelop lying in safe custody of their attorney. Inexplicably the will earmarked an undisclosed sum for his rebellious nephew Shashi Vader even though K D never liked him while he lived. Strangely, where Shashi Vader was, nobody knew. The quantum of sum earmarked thus was also locked in an envelop lying with their lawyers had no such lock in period. Vader could have come and collected it any time he wanted. Why is Vader not coming to collect the booty, is the question that intrigued everyone in the room. E Babu had a theory; Vader was a prisoner of one of the vicious members of this household. Most of them looked brash, self centred and willing to take risk.

The only constant at Caulla lodge was a permanent guest; CP, husband of Sir Prabhakar's sister. CP was the unscrupulous machiavellian on whom Sir Prabhakar leaned heavily for advice, as a result, the estate was doing extremely badly. Sir Prabhakar had managed excellently in reducing the value of estate by three quarters in just the fifteen years and in the process made several enemies who had stake in K D’s estate. Dr Bhaskar who lived in Bareilly but not in Caulla lodge kept himself aloof from the goings on in Caulla home. He was soft spoken, not easily prone to excitement, mostly wore a blank expression but on rare occasions displayed uncontrollable raze. Dr Bhaskar was a renowned authority in exotic poisons. He particularly disliked CP for descending at his home for drinking binges. Dr Bhaskar valued his wine collection even though he was frugal consumer of alcohol. His very modern wife, Sarita Devi prided at being the only Caulla ‘bahu’ who could fluently speak English, was a Bareilly socialite who had absolutely no interest in Caulla intrigues. She was gullible and due to her tunnel focus, a prime candidate for easy manipulation by any of the villainous members of Caulla family. Acharyaji, Sir Prabhakar’s next in line sibling lived in Lucknow, had fine practice in fortune telling. He had warm demeanour, can easily hide emotions therefore difficult to rate his character. He also occasionally came to Bareilly, had an ambivalent relationship with Sir Prabhakar, but as already explained Acharyaji never revealed his emotions, was cast in Chanakya mould would sometimes raise issues of estate with Sir Prabhakar. The most pugnacious of the lot was Atiputi, very vocal and open in accusing Sir Prabhakar for complete mismanagement and squandering away estate wealth. His open book approach to life possibly cost him his life. E Babu thought Atiputi’s murder was a red herring, a stimuli to set in motion a predictable course of events that would benefit the killer.

To be Continues...........