“Ya, let’s do it.”
Karan pushed himself up in the bed. From his pathetic position under the sun to the shooter’s gun hitting his head, Karan’s mind had suffered but his mind was recovering. Karan only cared about his memories of Sunny…. all intact.
They were shifting him out today. Finally.
Jeremy was talking. “You know, medicines can make you fat. I’m not saying anything, but you ARE taking seven tabs a day… I wonder if you’ll be able to jog around Rajouri Garden in ten minutes ever again.”
“Don’t worry, Jem. I’ll always be around to beat your twelve minutes.”
“Not in this wheelchair.”
The doctors still wanted Karan to avoid walking, it was such a deadly collision, they thought his mind might not take the exertion when he tried to control his limbs again. He had to give it time. The heat, not having sense of balance, propped up on a thin ledge of wall four storeys above the ground, blind – wasn’t as bad, but the gun that thwarted Karan right at the temple, was the spoiler.
“I’ll attach boosters.”
“Not until we have it sorted with Officer Yadav, chum. Got to warn you, he’s taken up this proud one-kick-you’re-down sort of attitude since the news hit the press.”
Jeremy wheeled Karan out to the Lounge. Funny name for a hospital place- hardly anyone was ‘lounging’.
They stopped near the water dispenser, looking around for Yadav when a heavy voice called from behind them, “We ID-ed the shooter as a Uday Sharma from Bandra, a popular killer for hire, among the concerned circles. We think he was also responsible for that body we found under ITO Bridge- It is Ankur, Jay. That’ s what I wanted to tell you yesterday. I’m sorry. Some chap must have had something against the family.”
“Saw in the newspaper today… It’s Ok- We hadn’t talked in years.”
Karan smirked inwardly at Jeremy’s act. Joker!
“What about Mrs. Virmani?” he asked.
“Missing. It seems she did catch her taxi, but she won’t go anywhere. We have policemen posted everywhere significant. Why she ran, I can’t make zilch out of.” Officer Yadav grunted.
“I’m sure there is a reason.” said Jeremy. “I think she’s just become an old, wicked lady.”
“Anyway, I’ll talk to you later. I will have to, regarding Mrs. Virmani. Till then, you boys take some vacation, god knows who have earned it.” And Officer Yadav walked off.
“I understand just what you meant by that attitude. Boys. Where exactly was He when you shot the shooter?”
“Two levels down. Slow brat, would have been the death of you. Anyway, let’s get you out. Wanna hit my place?”
“Stop treating me like a cripple already! Let’s got to mine.”
Jeremy laughed. He wheeled Karan out to of the hospital, into the motor he had picked up from Mrs. Virmani’s house earlier.
“Tell me all about it , Jem. Everything. Specially the explanation for the direct hit to the heart.”
“Simple. I said I was aiming for the head.”
They laughed, and roared off to Karan’s flat. Good friends back together, right where they deserved to be.
Later, in his apartment, as they sat and had a cold one, Karan typed furiously in his laptop.
“You still write accounts of our missions?!” Jeremy asked. Karan silently nodded.
“We didn’t really complete it, you know… We had to-”
“I know. But I don’t think the contractor wants to find his son anymore you know… he died a few days back. Under the ITO Bridge.”
“Don’t ***king tell me!”
“Ya, I just had this nurse in the hospital do a simple DNA Test yesterday… just had an idea.”
“A nurse? Why would she-” Jeremy was confused. Karan smiled.
“Oh of course, the magnificent aura of the Great Indian Charmer. When were you going to tell me about it?” Jem snapped.
“Right after you stopped treating me like a baby.” Karan snapped back.
“Nice, good old times.”
“Aww… You’re getting old, Jem!”
“I am not the one in a wheelchair.”
“Ya right.” Karan smiled. He looked up at Jeremy, and said softly,
“Hey Jem. I too would want you to investigate my death man.”
“I would man….” Jem said, “anyway, I WOULD have to cover my tracks.”
Karan threw a pillow at him… Jem said, “How sissy!”
Sometimes, Death IS the solution. So what that the case was still in loose ends, they were both at peace with their conscience. They continued assisting the police for another ten months, often dropping in ‘subtle’ hints to connect Varuna too. A month later, the police announced that the same shooter had killed Varuna Gupta.
Mrs. Virmani had nothing to hide. She was just an “old, wicked lady” as Jeremy had said, who enjoyed troubling Ankur and Sunny(who was Ankur’s friend). She said she had run because she was scared. Jeremy didn’t believe it, but the police’s harshness and continuous demands were good enough for him. The shooter was hired by some Bombay man… that mystery was still pending. But Karan and Jeremy were on it. They would find out sooner or later.
Until then, Karan just spent time slowly returning to his Ten Minute Pace, writing up the story, and spending time with Jeremy.
He never removed the locket from his neck.