“I knew it. She wasn’t right, that old hag! I knew it.”
Karan was almost happy to find that Mrs. Virmani was no more to be endured, though it increased tenfold the mess they were already in.
“But Karan… she’s holding all the cards. We can’t do anything to her, she needn’t speak, whatever she knows she can very well keep it to herself. Thanks to all that ruddy police protection.” Jeremy was full of contempt. He didn’t like to be cheated especially when he trusted. The fact that Mrs. Virmani was herself a shooter’s aim seemed to bother neither. “Damn, I risked my life to save her.”
“Don’t worry about that witch… We’ll find out what we need from her anyway. Starting with the fucking relationship between her son and her…. Sick. And after all, having the law so thickly around can never be a good thing. No.. she’ll talk.”
Jeremy was sitting expectantly. Naturally, he was waiting for Karan to formulate a plan. But Karan said nothing.
“No… not right now. There’s some other thing I need to see to today. Need a few hours… and anyway, she isn’t going anywhere.”
Jeremy looked away. He had never felt challenged by an old, inactive woman before. He too needed some time to compose the sudden vigour that was jolting his body. He really needed to finish this thing now.
Karan drove down to the site silently. He knew they were dong it today- he had kept the contact that he had set up for the last several weeks. It grew so silent that Karan clicked on the news station, on the radio.
“…and the match will start at 8pm. Further in the continuation to the identification appeal released by the Delhi Police last Sunday, no one has come forward to claim the body of Mr. Ankur Jain, the corpse found under ITO Bridge, whom the police thought, at first, erroneously, to be the son of the Noida Jain millionaire.”
Karan switched it off. He didn’t care of it. It just reminded him of Mrs. Virmani. He was going to the one place where it all made sense- in all this mess… the one place he could understand.
They had chosen the Punjabi Bagh grounds. At a clear spot used solely for this purpose, a neat Hindu cremation table, of wood logs was set. On it lay a body clad in crisp white, covered under the same. The place’s familiar array of family members, all in white too, stood around and most wept. The time that had passed due to all the police interference, the hospital legalities had made some control their tears. Slowly, they piled the logs over her too. The mother wailed. The brother held on to her. Sunny didn’t listen to her mother, perhaps for the first time in her life. She never would again.
The pyre was ready to be set fire to. The family took their time. Sunny lay still. A visitor, no-one knew nor saw, hung back near the sole tree, hundred metres away.
His hair played in the wind. A lone strand brushed her cheek. Where all her hair could be flying around her, and she be dancing along, only a a single lock could have the priviledge. Karan’s eyes burned. Damnit! He WILL get to the botttom of it. However hard it may be, howEVER pointless it may seem.
The brother touched the fire lightly, with his staff of fire. The wood blew up in a flame at once. The cremation was complete.
Karan walked away towards his car, having seen his last of Sunny.
The setting sun caught one last gleam of a cold, metal ring around the visitor’s neck and shone proudly, the shimmer marvelous in the sky.