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Monday, 13 April 2020


Read the previous part here
Vinay's gaze was fixed on the almond tree that stood outside the balcony. Its leaves were mostly green. Some red and on the way of drying, but yet attached to the twig, connected to the life force. Not green, but not completely dried either, somewhere in between. This stage of in between exists in nature, where many life forms linger before transiting to another plane, he thought.

'Vinay, are you hearing?' Nisha asked. They were sitting in the guest room on the first floor.
'Sorry, I was lost. Since past few days I am unable to concentrate on anything.'
'I understand. I was saying did you notice that Sulabha didn't paint anything apart from the woman in white. If she had taken up her old hobby, she ought to have painted more. If nature had inspired the dormant painter within her, she would have painted the swaying trees, echoing valleys and things like that. But it appears her creativity sprouted only for the purpose of painting that woman. This is strange.'

'Everything is strange Nisha. I invested majority of my savings in buying this house. This was our dream property. I can't sell it. Given the current situation of markets, there won't be many buyers either.'
'Don't even think of it. I would die to live in a house like this. If you don't want to keep it, give it to me. I will pay you in installments.'
'Nisha this isn't the time to joke.'
'Life isn't to be taken too seriously either. Yes, there are a few problems, but we will find solutions to it.'

'Vinay, Nisha, what are you doing upstairs. Come down lunch is ready.' Sulabha summoned them. Slowly they went down.
'What is going on between you two? What are you discussing in murmured voices, behind my back?'
'Nothing much Di, life in general.'
'Life in general?' Sulabha said with a raised brow. 'You seem to have grown too close to your Jija Nisha.' Vinay's palms turned clammy and a knot formed down Nisha's throat. They stared at each other.

'Come on I was just joking.' Sulabha said. Vinay and Nisha breathe a sigh of relief.
'Di, I just saw your painting. Its beautiful. Where did you come across such a gorgeous woman?'
'Nisha I saw a ghost.' Replied Sulabha.
'What?' Vinay screamed.
'Vinay, I don't understand why are you behind that woman. I painted a woman and I have told you earlier that she is just a product of my imagination. But you disbelieved me. If you have had any such woman in your life, you can tell me. I won't get angry. After all everybody has a past.'

'Di, it is nothing like you think. I asked because after all these years you painted only one painting and stopped. So I asked.'
'Thanks for reminding me Nishu. I was thinking of painting another, but I have procrastinating it. But now I will take it damn seriously.'
'She has grown suspicious. She knows something is cooking for sure. Should we tell her everything.' Vinay said.
'What will we tell her? That I...we... saw a ghost? Will she believe us?'
'She will never believe you and may be … even take you to a psychiatrist.'

'How was your meeting with Mrs. Mehta?'
Vinay then went on to narrate all the details of his Mumbai visit.
'Clue?' Nisha asked
'What is it?
'I am clueless.' Vinay said. He handed over the paper to Nisha.
'What is this?' Nisha said and glanced at the fading letters of the thin paper.
'Mrs. Mehta didn't know either. But it is something relating to Ram Madhvani for sure. That is what she said. But she doesn't know any further details.'
'Ram Madhvani?'
'The person from whom Mrs. Mehta's husband had brought the house.'
'Ok.' Nisha said and then holding the thin paper in her hand started to discern the fading letters.
'This is some court document Vinay. See the words RCC on the top.'
'What is RCC?'
'RCC means Regular Criminal Case. I am doctor. I get many medico legal cases and I have testified a few times in the Courts. See here the half-visible stamp of the court.'
'I can't see anything.'
'Say, you can't make out. That is because you have never seen a court stamp. See even the name of the court. The first letter is A the second and third are missing and the last two letters are R and A.'
'Ajara.' Vinay said spontaneously.
'Yes and fortunately I can see that the case number is something 231 and the year 1985 or 86.
Vinay and Nisha walked into the court premises. The court premises were swarming with advocates in black coats and the clients tagging them. The khat khat of the typewriters filled the air.
'Are you sure visit here will be of any help.' Vinay asked Nisha.
'One should never lose hope Neha said. They went to the copying section and applied for the certified copies of the case mentioned on the fading notice which Mrs. Mehta had handed over. Fortunately the record was found.
'What happened?' Vinay asked as Nisha preened through the copies.
'It was a murder.'
'Ram was accused of murdering his paramour. Do you want me to tell the spot of incident?' Nisha asked. Fear was gripping her tightly. 

Read the next part here

Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 

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