The rain was coming down really hard now. Trying to stay dry, Rajat pulled his jacket over his head. He was conscious of the packet that protruded from his left pocket. He had no other choice but to go out in the rain and buy it. The dealer was adamant about getting the payment today itself. Jumping over puddles, he made his way home.
He reached his home a couple of minutes later. His wife and daughter were away on their visit to her parents. His mother was on her visit to his sister’s place. This being the time of vacations had meant that their trip would be a little longer than usual. He had specially chosen this time for his plan. No one back home would know what he was doing.
He went in to his study and removed his jacket. Then from the left pocket, he took out a brown envelope. Getting drenched in the rain had been worthwhile. He had been able to get both the things that he had needed. He opened the envelope. His hand went in and with it came out a small bottle of injection. Out came then the syringe. He put his hand into the packet one last time. The thing that came out was the cause of this packet’s excessive weight.
It was a gun.
He had thought about this many times over in his mind. He had not told anyone about what he had in mind. Silently and discreetly, he had been working for the past two months on his new found mission; avenging his father’s death.
In retrospect, he never thought he would come this far. To be frank, he had started off with absolutely no confidence of his plan’s success.
It was about three months ago when he had found out the truth. Till that time, he was a relatively satisfied upper middle class man, working in a reputed financial firm. He was an ideal husband to his wife and a great father to his daughter. He was an honest man, paying his taxes well before time, resisting giving or taking bribes, in many ways, the perfect gentleman.
But three months ago, a visit to the Police headquarters gave his life a shocking jolt.
He had been approached for a personal loan by a tricky customer. As per normal procedure, he had checked this customer’s background before deciding on the loan proposal. The customer turned out to be a suspicious fellow, with a shady background. Once he came to know this, he refused to oblige him. But the guy turned out to be a little more problematic than he first thought. He started getting threat messages. Fearing for himself and his family, he approached his boss.
“Don't worry Rajat”, his boss comforted him. “I personally know the Assistant Police Commissioner. We’ll go and talk to him.”
The next day he went to the Police headquarters. Not many people knew this, but this place was quite familiar to Rajat. He had come here a few times when he was very young. His father had been an honest and reputed IPS officer, before he died in a car crash 12 years ago...
The peon ushered him into the waiting area. Soon, the ACP called him into his office. As he walked towards the office, he realized that his father used to sit in the same room that he was walking towards. He clearly remembered his younger days when he would play with the hawaldars standing outside the office while his father sat inside looking after his daily work.
“Please come in Mr. Rajat”, ACP Sagar Sharma called Rajat in and offered him a seat. “Anant has told me about the problem that you are facing. There’s no need to worry. I’ll direct the station head of your area to round up this guy who is bothering you.”
“Thank you so much, sir. You never know what such people might do to your family. Actually, my father..” He could not complete his sentence though, as the door of the ACP’s office slammed open and two middle aged guys came in. Both of them were wearing traditional white khaki clothing, suggesting the fact that they might have been politicians. One of them wore a black pair of sunglasses while the other had a trimmed beard and a huge teeka on his forehead.
“So, Sagar ji..,” the bearded guy said in a husky tone, “It seems you have forgotten what all we have done for you. You suddenly have started avoiding us and our party workers.”
The ACP had suddenly gone pale. “How the hell did you get into my office without permission? Get out right now!!!”
“Don’t you raise your voice against us you prick!” the other guy was speaking now. “You clearly know what our deal was. Our family has looked after you ever since you started this job, and now you turn you back on us??”
“Shut up and get out!!” the ACP yelled. “I have nothing to do with murderers like you. Be grateful that I am kind enough to ignore your crimes in return of the favour you did me when I was under suspension. But don’t expect any more favours from me.”
“YOU BASTARD!!” the bearded guy had exploded with rage. He seemed to have forgotten that there was another guy in the room, watching all this, in a state of disbelief. “Our family supported you when you were out if money. Our father gave a worthless man like you a means of livelihood when you were suspended. We made sure that you got your job back and got steady promotions.
We have killed people that came in the way of our political ambitions but don’t think that you had nothing to do with it. And don’t forget, the first person we killed was your boss, that Vinay Gupta, who had suspended you. You gave us his location on the day we pushed his car into the river. You bribed the forensics in to saying that the driver was drunk. So don’t sit there and think that you are innocent. If you don’t play along with us, we’ll make sure that you join us in jail, you worthless piece of shit!!”
As the argument heated up further, what the quarreling parties did not notice was the expression on Rajat’s face. Rajat had gone numb. It was as if someone had landed a tight slap right across his face. These guys, these goons, rather, did not know what he had just realized. Shock was writ large on his face as he repeated the words to himself, “My father didn’t die in a car crash.. It was a cold blooded murder ..”
Vinay Gupta was his father, an honest and righteous IPS officer who served the police with pride. It was quite a shock to not only his family, but also the entire police fraternity when he suddenly passed away in a car accident. The car he was travelling in that night had hit a truck and dropped into the Yamuna River. He was investigating a double murder case in a nearby village. The case was political in nature and involved quite influential people. Rajat still had the memories fresh in his mind.
Once his father’s and the driver’s body had been taken out of the water, it was found in the autopsy that the driver was severely drunk when he was driving the car. Rajat had since accepted the fact that his father wasn’t there to protect him anymore, and had moved on.
But it all had come rushing back today. These criminals had murdered his father and were now talking about it as if it was nothing! How could someone be so cold blooded? Did these people have no sense of humanity??
The shouting voice of the ACP brought him back to the room. “Get out of my office!! Get out right now!! Or I will kill you!!” The ACP had gone red with anger. He looked as if he would go into a fit anytime. Thankfully, two hawaldars came in hearing the voices and forced the two brothers out of his office.
The ACP looked rattled. For a moment he even forgot that Rajat was standing in there this whole time. When he did realize this, he assured Rajat that he will look into his complaint and asked him to leave.
Rajat didn’t tell him that they had been talking about his father, about murdering his father. He was walking but couldn’t feel his legs. He mind was a total blank. That day, he didn’t return to his office. He went back home. He wasn’t sure if would be able to work after hearing this news. His wife kept asking him why he seemed so quiet and disturbed, but he lied. He didn’t want to shock the whole family.
The next day he went to work. His boss called him and asked him what happened with the ACP. He simply replied that the ACP had assured him personally about his safety.
“I had told you,” he said, “The ACP is a great man. No normal man can grow so fast in an organisation if he doesn’t perform exceptionally well.”
Rajat just smiled and went back. He decided to do a background check on the ACP. He had many of his father’s friends still working in the Police. Subsequently, he came to know that the ACP had started off as a sub inspector but quickly made his way up the ranks. He was famous for his contacts with the political class and he kept them happy by ignoring all the petty crimes that they committed. Rajat also found that he had been suspended by his father almost twenty years ago for accepting a bribe.
Within a couple of days of the incident at the Police headquarters, Rajat was consumed with a new emotion. Anger. Rage filled every corner of his body. His father’s murderers were enjoying their life without a care for what it had been like for his family.
There wasn’t anything that could be done to get justice. The case was almost two decades old. No lawyer would agree to fight for him. He didn’t have any evidence either. He was helpless. The pain of seeing his father’s murderers was killing him inside.
That was it. That was the spark which had now turned in to a fire. A fire that was hell bent on destroying his father’s killers. They killed his father just because he was about to expose their misdeeds. Well, now it was time for payback.
Yes.. he was going to kill them…
(to be continued..)