Inspector Anirudh addressed the media exactly 120 days after the murder of D.M. Amarkanth.
“Sir, Mr. Amarkanth’s family has demanded a CBI probe. They are not satisfied with the investigation,” asked a reporter shoving a microphone into Anirudh’s face.
“Bangalore police has already solved the case. We have nabbed the murderer! What is the CBI going to do!” Anirudh replied. Not a sign of doubt on his face or his voice.
“But Sir, Amarkanth’s family is alleging that the picture was planted! He was never in a relationship with Kavya Roy!” The reporter asked again, refusing to give up.
“That is the problem with this country! You cannot accept it when the police are doing their job. Kavya Roy was having an affair with Amarkanth. Kavya’s husband, Naveen found out and shot Amarkanth. The case is solved. There is nothing left for you to complain about. It is an open and shut case!”
Anirudh ignored the sea of reporters, and multiple flashes of camera aiming at his face.
There was a sea of reporters at another house as well. The residence of retired Lieutenant General Naveen Roy. Not many outside the fraternity were aware that Naveen Roy had not sought voluntary retirement from the army. He had been dismissed following a brawl which had resulted in a fellow Officer’s broken jaw. This incident had come to light thanks to the media’s extensive research on Naveen Roy, once he became the prime accused in the murder case of D.M. Amarkanth. The victim of the brawl had testified against Mr. Roy and swore about his rage issues. Among the other witnesses was a doctor who had once treated Mrs. Roy. His five-minute interview had been viral on the internet for some time.
“I had met Mrs. Kavya Roy in October 2013. The skin of her nose was punctured. A blood clot had formed in the septum. It had created a perforation in the septum. She was in a lot of pain. I had suggested that she report this to the police as it was a case of domestic violence. But she had refused.”
“And how do you know it was her husband who had hurt her? Did she say it was him?”
“I have been practicing for the past 25 years. I can tell what the patients try to hide. 90 percent of the women who come to me with injuries have been assaulted by a husband or boyfriend. This is the global statistic as well.”
“Ahh! Everybody seems to know global statistics these days. And why had you not reported it to the police? Was it not your responsibility?”
“My job is to heal the wound which is what I did. She was nervous and scared. I referred her to a female counsellor from my hospital. I thought she would be more comfortable talking to a woman.”
“Did she visit her?”
“I am not aware.”
“What was the name of that counsellor?”
Anjana Awasthi was a 55-year-old therapist with a master’s degree in psychology. Anjana’s life was quite mundane. She had spent the first 20 years of her married life raising her two sons. When the younger one left for college, she felt a void so strong that she was convinced she would not be able to survive the loneliness. One of her friends suggested that it was time she utilized her educational degrees. Even though she had not worked before, her empathetic face, her kind smile and grey hair gave her incredible credibility. It compensated for her lack of experience. Her patients connected with her instantly. They confided in her their deepest, darkest secrets.
One morning, Anjana had an appointment with a beautiful woman by the name, Kavya Roy. Kavya was not like other patients. When other patients came to Anjana, they came with a problem. They expected solutions. But Kavya was very resilient. She had accepted her fate. She never cried. She never made any plans. She did not discuss the future. She did not ask for advice. She just wanted somebody to talk to. She was a lonely woman who paid Rs 2,000 an hour to speak to someone.
When Inspector Anirudh approached Anjana Awasthi for an interview, her husband was reluctant. He said she did not need to get involved in a murder case. But Anjana had never seen any drama in her life. How could she resist this one opportunity?
Anjana was also upset because she did not like the way the media was building a negative image of Kavya. She wanted to put an end to all speculations.
“Was Kavya Roy mentally ill?”
“Then why was she consulting you, Ms. Awasthi?”
“Not all people who come to me are necessarily mentally unstable. But I help them see their problems in a way in which they can work them out themselves.”
“So, what were her problems?”
“I am not allowed to share confidential information about my clients. It would be a breach of trust!”
“This is a murder case, Madam! Not cooperating could result in severe consequences for you. We would need access to her file.”
“What is it that you need to know? She had nothing to do with the murder!”
“How do you know that?”
“Because she loved that man! More than her life. She could never hurt him! Her husband found out about the affair and killed Amarkanth in a moment of rage.”
“How can you be so sure? She did not mind committing adultery! Maybe things got inconvenient. So, she and her husband plotted the murder together.”
“You cannot blame her for the affair. Naveen was awful to her! He hit her. He forced himself on her. He was toxic! She was so unhappy. She had nowhere to go. Her parents were no more. She was scared to leave Naveen. Amarkanth was the first man in her life who treated her well. He loved her.”
“If he loved her, why did he send a picture of theirs to her husband? Was he trying to blackmail her for money? It doesn’t make sense because he was a rich man! Or was she trying to end the relationship, so he sent the picture for revenge?”
“I do not know why he did that. Kavya had stopped seeing me three months before the murder. I don’t know what transpired between them during that time.”
“Do you remember the last visit of hers?”
“Yes. She had said she would talk to Amarkanth about getting married.”
“And what did he say?”
“Like I said, I have no idea. That was her last appointment.”
“Do you maintain notes of the sessions?”
“I have the recordings.”
Inspector Anirudh was due for a promotion this year. When he was assigned the case of the murder of D.M. Amarkanth, he knew it would be huge. Amarkanth was a well-known, high profile real-estate developer. His murder had created public outrage. Initially, Anirudh had thought this must be about a business deal gone wrong. It was only when the IT team cracked Amarkanth’s laptop, and email passwords did he come across the email. The email was sent from Amarkanth to Naveen with a picture of Amarkanth and Kavya together. Naveen saw the picture, got infuriated, took his gun, went to Amarkanth’s farmhouse and shot him. A no-leads case had turned into an open and shut case overnight. He would definitely get the promotion for solving this one.
These women! He thought to himself!They have always caused wars! Look at the Mahabharata for instance!Anirudh had decided he would never get married. Although the case was almost closed, Anirudh decided to listen to one of the recordings of Kavya’ s sessions with Ms. Awasthi, just to understand what was going on in that twisted, promiscuous woman’s head.
“I had got married to Naveen when I was 22. I did not know any life beyond him. I had accepted my life. Not everybody is destined to be happy. I would tell myself.
Until I met Amar. He was a dream come true. He was nice. He was kind. He was gentle and sensitive. I was a different person when I was with him. I was happy! I could not thank the stars enough for having met him! How did I get so lucky? He was the best thing to happen to me. My life was an unanswered question so far. No direction. No purpose. Now I know why everything ever happened to me. It all made sense. It was all a plan to make me meet him. It was all worth it. All the pain that I suffered. He made it all right. I never knew my wounds were worth fixing. But he fixed them!”
Anirudh stopped the tape right there. He could not take it anymore.What non-sense! What a confused, helpless woman! Why couldn’t she just get a job and leave her husband! Why did she need another man to fix her! She had ruined the lives of two men! One is dead. One is in jail!
Anirudh had later arrested Naveen for questioning. After third-degree torture, Naveen had confessed to the crime. The gun was also recovered as evidence. Motive, evidence and a confession! This was a stellar performance by Anirudh! Naveen was sentenced, although his lawyers had appealed the case. The trial would take years. Anirudh was promoted. He had earned it! It all worked out fine. Justice was neither denied, nor delayed. For everyone.
One year later:
There is peace in the house. It is nice not having Naveen around. Sometimes I wonder have my ears stopped functioning altogether? Or is there actually so much of silence? Life without Naveen’s yelling has probably made me deaf.
It is strange that I miss Naveen. I miss Amar too.
I remember the day we had taken that picture. I was in Amar’s bed. In his arms. I was giggling. Smiling. Laughing. Smile please, I had said.
“Why are you taking a picture like this! Your husband will find out and kill both of us!”
“He will not find out! I will delete it. Anyway, I don’t like the stretch marks on my thighs in the photo. Look!”
“I like every bit of you!”
And then he had kissed me.
That was a beautiful day. And then came another day. When I asked Amar when he would be marrying me. Somewhere in my heart, I knew he was not ready for marriage. Divorce would have taken time too. But I had never thought he will say this:
“What! What are you saying! I never said anything about getting married!”
I cried. I begged. “Why were you with me if you did not want to be with me?”
“You are a consenting adult, Kavya! Don’t act like you are a child and I fooled you into anything!”
“I love you. Please. Don’t do this!”
“Come on. You don’t do this Kavya! Don’t tell me you got so attached to me in three months! Now I am scared! Let us not see each other anymore!”
I had never deleted that picture. I knew it was a risk. What if Naveen found out? But the times that Amar was not with me, I could look at that picture. It made me feel good. It was all I had left of him. Especially that day when Amar denied our relationship. He invalidated me. He could have said that he did not want to marry me. Or that he is done with me! But he did not! He refused to acknowledge my feelings. He made me feel like a crazy woman. A crazy woman who was crazy about a man who did not want anything to do with her. He ruined everything.
Amar was what made me real. Without him I was hollow. He was not imaginary! The world had to know that I existed. Our love existed.
I knew Amar’s email password. I did. Because I was his girlfriend. I was the love of his life. And now everyone would know.
I think there are two types of men in this world. One like Naveen. Chauvinistic. Abusive. Aggressive. The other like Amar. Caring. Kind. Gentle. Soft. Soft and weak.
Who is worse?
Sorry, Amar. But I could not let our love die like it never existed. Sorry, Naveen. But I wanted you to know I was capable of being loved.
And now Amar is gone! Naveen is also gone. The two men in my life… One scarred my body. One scarred my soul.
It is so quiet now. There is no Naveen. There is no Amar. But the world will know.