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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Entangled Lives – Chapter 23 - #GameOfBlogs to #CelebrateBlogging

We are Team #PotliwaleBaba who are playing the #GameOfBlogs initiated by BlogAdda.com to #CelebrateBlogging. An exciting murder-mystery-thriller is in the making …

 

Let me first share the links to all previous chapters (read them if you haven't read them already)

Chapters - #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21 | #22    

Now you can move on to Chapter 23 in this blog-post … you will find the link to the next Chapter (#24) at the end of the chapter below.

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To say Java was irritated would be an understatement. The light at the end of the tunnel had uncharacteristically turned out to be a dud. Ahuja, who came to him saying he had seen a murder, had given him hope. An eyewitness is always a breakthrough for a case, and this seemingly complicated case was in dire need of one.

The entire conversation with him had been a roller-coaster of some sort, or more precisely like an anti-gravity drop ride in the amusement, where they raise your hopes to a great height and make you experience a free-fall. Only difference was that, there you are protected by the ride's safety mechanism. Here, he fell flat on the ground, face down, his hopes crashing, and shattering into a thousand pieces.

Java smiled ironically as he caught the snatches of the song playing on the radio of the pan-wala nearby - "Is dil ke tukde hazaar hue, koi yahan gira, koi vahan gira" (My heart breaks into a thousand pieces, some fell here, some fell there).

His investigation and the revelations of the kitten-on-tree story along with letter found during the search of Cyrus's apartment had given him one strong lead. Ahuja turned out to be nothing but a waste of time.

But Ahuja's chance remark about his name gave Java something to work on. Java meaning Coffee reminded Java of the cafe story by Jenny where she met Mrs. Dutta by chance and came home (to the crime scene) with her. He now had one more thread to unravel - that girl, Jenny. Java did not like her. His team had done a background check and the results were not encouraging at all. He first had to check her story of being at the Dutta residence 'by chance'.

"The 'by chance' of Mr. Virus has turned out to be such an elaborate and well planned scheme, that I no longer want to trust another 'by chance' in the story," thought Java bitterly. "Jenny looks like a hippie with an attitude, and one can never trust hippies."

"So let's start at the beginning of her story – the café round the corner where she met Mrs. Dutta by chance". With these thoughts in mind, Java gunned his motorcycle towards the café.

The café seemed empty with only a couple sitting in a corner, both busy typing away on their smart-phones, and a man occupying another corner typing away on his laptop. Java looked in the direction of the café owner who came running to him.

They took seat at one of the tables, and the café owner signaled the staff behind the counter "Get today's special for Saab". Java did not say anything. One of the perks while investigating cafes, restaurants and five star hotels was the sampling of their best offerings … for free.

He pinned the café owner a stern look and simply kept two photographs on the table – Mrs. Dutta and Jenny. The café owner looked at the photographs and then at Java with a question in his eyes. Java did not say anything. He knew silence worked better than direct questions to start a conversation and bring the confidence of a person down. Once that happened, the information flowed.

The café owner, puzzled by Java's silence, had a million thoughts running through his head. He knew both of them and was now wondering what they had done. Were they part of some gang or terrorist organization and had used the wifi of his café to send threat emails. Java's silence was scary so he simply said, choosing his words with care in spite of his nervousness, "Yes. I recognize them. Mrs. Dutta has been a regular to our café for several years now while that other girl has been frequenting our café for the past few weeks almost on a daily basis."

Java smiled. He knew his silence had worked. He pulled Jenny's photo towards himself and turned it upside down. He then pushed Tara's photo towards the café owner. No words, only action. He wanted to see how far he could go without saying a single word. The devil inside him said "Well done, my boy!"

The café owner looked at the rearrangement of the photographs and took the cue from Tara's photo being pushed towards him. "Mrs. Dutta lives close by. She has been coming to our café regularly for the past several years. She comes mostly during weekends and sometimes in the late evenings too. She almost always comes here with her laptop and phone and is constantly working using them. I feel that this café is like a second office for her. She always occupies that corner table near the glass window, and if someone is occupying that, she will either wait for it to be cleared or go back without entering the café; and in a rare case, request the guests occupying the table to move to another one, even offering to pay their bills. Her order was never fixed. She liked to experiment and has tried all the different items we have on our menu and when in a particularly good mood, she would talk to the barista and ask him to concoct a special one for her. Sipping on it, she would continue to work on her laptop and talking on her phone. The work consuming her time here."

Java was intrigued by the cafe owner as he talked about Mrs. Dutta staring into infinity. He cleared his throat and brought the café owner out of his reverie. The café owner continued.

"Sometimes, she comes without both the gadgets and stares outside sipping on her bitter espresso. I have instructed the staff to not disturb her or present the bill to her on those days, even if she absent mindedly leaves without paying. I think those are very stressful days for her and the stress does not seem to be work related. She is a regular here, and we could clear the bill during the next visit. I did not want to disturb a special and regular customer. Well, that's all that I can say about her. We have never had trouble from her, and she has been a very good customer. May I ask, if you don't mind, why are you investigating about her?"

Java gave the café owner a sharp look which meant, "Only I ask questions in this conversation, not you". The café owner's expressions told Java that he understood. Java had no intention of answering the question.

He pulled Tara's photo and placed it in his pocket. He turned jenny's photo face side up and pushed it towards the café owner. Before the café owner could begin, the barista arrived and place the 'special' on the table. Java looked at it and smiled. The swirls of chocolate and coffee reminded him of the state of the case in hand … intriguing, mysterious, dark. The whipped cream at the top reminded him of Ahuja – useless, while the few coffee beans scattered on top brought him back to Jenny – dark and mysterious. He picked the tall glass, took a sip, relished the taste, and gave a sharp look to the café owner who once again began his monologue.

"This girl started coming to our café a few weeks back. At first, she would come in anytime during the day and work with her gadgets – the laptop, the phone, and her huge camera. She would usually take the large table close to the coffee machine and the power plug point for her devices. But then this habit changed. She started coming in the evenings and also started taking the same table as Mrs. Dutta. I did not understand her behavior, since, as you can see, that table is smaller and this girl always had trouble juggling her large laptop and big camera on the table. Sitting there, she would be very distracted, constantly looking outside, as if waiting for someone.

Once I saw Mrs. Dutta outside the café and even requested the girl to change table, even before Mrs. Dutta came in. I told her about Mrs. Dutta preference. She refused. Mrs. Dutta did not come in and you know what Saab, the girl left in less than 5 minutes. So ridiculous!

The other Devil inside Java's head exclaimed, "WOAH!!! Java … did you hear THAT???"

Java could not help but smile, with the internal machinery inside his head spinning like crazy; he now pulled out Tara's picture again and kept it next to Jenny's photo in front of the café owner. The café owner, for the first time in the conversation, smiled.

He looked at Java sipping the cold concoction and continued, "Yes, Saab. You are right. They did meet here. Last week, the girl was sitting at that table when Mrs. Dutta arrived. I could see that she was not carrying her laptop and knew something was wrong so I did try and quickly request the girl to move but she did not. I retreated to my seat.
I saw Mrs. Dutta approach the girl and talk to her. They chatted for some time and then after a few minutes, Mrs. Dutta left in a rush. She seemed terribly upset. I wanted to go and confront this girl but even she took off after Mrs. Dutta. I don't know what happened between the two but sadly, none of them have returned to the café ever since. Has anything happened to them? Is that the reason you are investigating them?"

Java was calmly sipping the concoction on the outside while the devils inside celebrated another breakthrough in the case. "See, we were right. There are no coincidences in a murder case. The girl was not there by chance. She was there by deliberate design. She had been waiting for Mrs. Dutta all these days to catch her attention at the café."

Java placed the half-empty, half-filled tall glass on the table and got up. The café owner saw bewildered, not knowing what to do. Java stepped outside and smiled as he heard the devil inside say, "Oh Boy !! This must be a new achievement for you Java. Completing an entire interrogation and getting everything you wanted without saying a single word. WoW !!!"

Java got onto his motorcycle with a sense of satisfaction. He drove towards the police station. He will need to pick up the search warrant for Jenny's current residence, and also take along a lady constable. One never knows how that wild cat Jenny will respond.

As he drove, one song played on loop in his mind, unfortunately sung by the devil inside, with a smile on his face, "Ajeeb daastan hain yeh, kahan shuru … kahan khatam, yeh manzilein hain kaun si, na tum samajh sake na hum" ….

 

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Chapter #24 (To be updated on 5th Oct)

 

"Me and my team are participating in 'Game Of Blogs' at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us."

 

Our Team for the #GameOfBlogs to #CelebrateBlogging with BlogAdda.com is called "Potliwale Baba" and I got to team up with a superb set of very enthusiastic and diversely talented bloggers -  Hemantkumar JainNirav ThakkerRitu PandeyShameem RizwanaShoumik DeSneha BhattacharjeeSrilakshmi Indrasenan,  Tushar - in simple alphabetic order

 

Enjoying our nail-biting thriller? Share our blogs through FB or Twitter with #CelebrateBlogging #PotliwaleBaba tags and you can also leave your comments on the story on our BlogAdda page here.

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