Aditya And Amisha Siblings?”

Can anyone guess the killer? A story with a title: “Is Aditya and Amisha siblings?” Shruti asked astonished.“Yes.” Replied Kunal.

"Do you have anything that proves that? We searched Aditya and Amisha's entire apartment and didn't find a thing that could hint that they were related to each other." "Yeah, maybe, you won't find them. You see, Amisha was 21 when she left her house. In fact, she was thrown out of the house because she… she became pregnant. The guy was a useless fellow who lived in her locality. When her family came to know about it, they threw her out. Her brother, Aditya, and her mother, Usha, didn't want to do anything with her. She had a tuition job and an offer letter from the campus placements, and she left the house with dignity. It was a month later that she made an appointment and got the baby aborted. The boyfriend had vanished when he came to know about the pregnancy. I met her months later when she was working, and she told me at the start of our relationship that she had no family. Only later, once we were married, did I get to hear the whole story." "Did you ever meet Aditya and her mother?" "Her mother, no. But we did bump into Aditya; I guess, a year back. I had come to India on a very short business trip. I asked Amisha if she was okay with meeting up; we had been divorced for a year by then, so we went out for dinner just to catch up.

I was leaving that night for the US again. So we fixed up a restaurant. Turns out the dish that Amisha loved was prepared by her brother, chef Aditya. He had come to the table, and they both looked at each other in silence. I think the anger had gone inches down on both sides. And they exchanged numbers too. That was the first, and the only time I met him." "I see." "What about her mother? She didn't reconcile with her?" "Her brother had told her at that time that it had been four years since she had passed. Heart attack. Amisha was devastated to learn about it." "What about the father?" "I guess he was never in the picture. She told me he passed away when they were kids. Their mother brought them up on her own. She had this little flower shop near Apsara cinema and a house right behind that shop in a chawl where they lived till Amisha passed her 10th." "I see. Any idea who would do this to them. Because frankly, after your major revelation, we are clueless." "I have no idea." "Thank you, Kunal. We will keep you posted. We will see what we can do." "Thank you." He left, and Shruti turned to Rohan and Raina. "I am flummoxed. Till they seemed like a couple, this case was going somewhere. Now, it has just turned on its head." "Same here, ma'am. But we still do have a possibility. I mean, Shikha didn't know Aditya and Amisha were siblings and not lovers. She might still have killed them unknowingly." Raina said. "True that. I still have my hunch on Shikha." Rohan added. "I don't know," Shruti replied. "By the way, What happened to the videos that Ashwin pandit, the Private Detective, had taken." "Yes. He sent me those." Rohan went to his desk and took out a CD.

Shruti, Rohan, and Raina looked at the videos where Amisha could be seen going to her apartment. Coming out of it. Meeting people. Having dinner alone. Shopping alone. A similar case was with Aditya. He was seen eating, meeting people, and driving to places, all the while being monitored like a hawk. Shruti closed the laptop and looked at them. "Did you notice in the two weeks that the detective was following them that there was absolutely no contact between Aditya and Amisha? What do you get by this?" Rohan and Raina looked clueless. Shruti got up and went to the board. "If this Shikha was behind this, if she had been the one hiring the detective, she would have taken one look at these videos and would have concluded that her suspicion about Aditya and Amisha was wrong. Because clearly, there is no meeting or contact between them other than the chat they used to have, which didn't indicate any romantic connection either. And so it would be futile to plan, not one but two murders." Shruti said. "But then we have nowhere to go to. There is absolutely no way." Shruti thought for a second. Something hit her. "Let's think from a different perspective. Where did the family live before? Apsara cinema, right?" Rohan nodded. "Let's go." The new Inox theater near the sea link showed a glow like never before. 2 decades before it was called Apsara cinema.

Shruti, Rohan, and Raina got out of the car and glanced at the huge inox theater. Shruti glanced at an aged cobbler who sat with an old worn-out shoe in his hand. "Kaka, since when are you working here?" Shruti asked, going near him. "It's been a long time. Is there a problem? Should I find another place?" "No. No. I just wanted some information." "Yes?" "Do you know about any flower shop around here back when this was Apsara cinemas?" "I don't remember. There might be." "Okay, which is the oldest chawl here? I am looking for ones around 30 to 35 years before." "That one. He said, pointing across the road. Do you see that blue-colored banner? Vanjani chawl. It's the oldest. The other chawls came later." "I see." "Ah yes, as you asked earlier, there used to be a small shop right at the entrance of that chawl, a flower shop. Do you see that temple at the end of the road? That shop used to sell flowers for the temple." "Aah, right. Thank you."

Shruti, Rohan, and Raina entered the chawl that the cobbler had pointed to. Shruti searched for an aged face. She saw an elderly man sitting on a makeshift bench under a huge giant tree. She went to him. "Kaka, is there any society office here? I wanted some information." "We do have an office. But tell me, what do you want to know?" "I am officer Shruti Ravindran. I am looking for a family that lived here about 20 years ago. Left this chawl a decade back." "Name?" "Usha Rao. She had two kids, a boy, and a girl." "Usha? I don't remember…." "Usha?" A woman who was washing her utensils in the huge common area came forward. "Are you talking about Usha and her kids Adi and Ami?" "Aditya and Amisha, Yes. You knew them?" "Yes. I am Saroj Mittal. They lived here for a long time. I guess they left after Adi passed his 12th and got admission to a hotel school. You know the one where they teach you to cook." "Right. Were you close to them? I needed to know about them." "You can talk to Jignesh Patel. He and his family were their neighbors. And they were very good friends. In fact, after their father left them, he only looked after the kids like his own." "Which apartment does he stay in?" "They moved from here around six years before." "Can I have their address?" "You know the millennium tower on JM road?" "Yes," Rohan said.

"They live there. His son became a hotshot chartered accountant. And got a house there for himself and his family. Such lucky people. Not everyone gets kids like that." She said, looking at the 20-year-old who sat nearby fidgeting with his phone. "I am sure your kids are bright too." "Mine? Bright? He failed in the 12th for the 3rd time! I can't see a future for him. Madam, by any chance, he can get a job at your police station. He is hardworking, but he is just a little dimwitted when it comes to studies." "Sure. Send him to Rajiv Nagar police station. I will see what I can do." "Thank you, madam." Shruti Rohan and Raina turned to leave when Shruti stopped. "Wait a minute; you said Aditya and Amisha's father left them? You meant died, right?" "Died? No. Left them. If that bastard has died, then that's a good thing, I would say. He was never home, to begin with, but whenever he was, he would beat the kids up and even Usha. He worked somewhere outside the city. Usha would be happy during the months he would not be home. The whole chawl knew what kind of a monster he was beating up his family." "When did he leave them?" "Adi was around ten years old, and Ami was 8. I had just gotten married at that time. I just saw that guy abusing his family for a few months. I don't know how Usha tolerated him for years." "Thank you so much," Shruti said and turned around. "Could this be the work of the father?

He was never dead. He was alive all this while." Rohan asked as they started walking back towards the car. "What if he hired the detective to see where his whole family is, and he wanted to mend the relationship?" Raina asked. "And I guess Aditya and Amisha must have told him how they felt about their betrayal and must have told him they wanted to do nothing with him. My guess is how the father was described; he sure looks like a whack case. He must have lost his mind when his kids said no… So…" Shruti cleared her throat. "Yes. Could be. Let's meet this Patel guy. I hope he can throw more light on this." "Is this Mr. Jignesh Patel's house?" Shruti asked a man in his late 20′s who opened the door. "Yes?" The man answered. A woman of around the same age came up behind him. "We are from Rajiv Nagar police station. Would you call him, please?" "My dad passed away three months ago."

"Oh, I am so sorry." "May I ask what this is about?" "It's about a murder case. Mr. Patel knew the victim. We thought maybe he could shed some light on it." "Oh." "Could I speak to your mother? Maybe she can help us." "Yes. Sure. I am Jatin. Please come in. Have a seat. He turned to the woman. "They are here to speak to a mom regarding some case. Call her." She nodded and went inside. "She is your wife?" Rohan asked. "No. That's my sister, Jaina." "Boy! are we getting all the relationships wrong these days? Raina chuckled. Shruti went in and sat on the huge sofa. The whole house was filled with pictures. Shruti glanced at the wall beside her and squinted at a picture. A photograph of a smiling middle-aged man hung over the rest with flowers adorned on it. "That's Mr. Patel!" Shruti exclaimed. "Wait. We have seen him somewhere." Rohan said. "In that video. He was seen talking to Aditya." "Yes!" "Okay, now I think we are on the right path." A woman in a plain peach-colored saree appeared from the other room and sat on the adjoining sofa. "I am Hansa Patel. My daughter tells me you wanted to talk about some case?" "Yes. Mrs. Patel, do you know him?" Shruti asked, showing a picture of a smiling Aditya. "He.. he is Aditya. Aditya Rao. He is the son of our family friend. What happened?" "And her?" "That's Amisha. Aditya's sister. Is everything alright?" "Mrs. Patel, Aditya, and Amisha were both murdered last week." "Oh my god. Who did this?" She asked, shocked. Her hands-on her mouth. "We thought you could help us with it." "Me?" "Yes. I guess you were close with that family?" "Yes, we were actually. My husband was close to Aditya's father, Ajay. Usha and I had a close relationship too. These kids played with each other." She said, pointing to Jatin and Jaina, who stood next to each other. "And I believe Ajay left the family when the kids were very young?" "Yes. Adi was just 10. Amisha is even younger.

Ajay was, anyway, hardly home. He would work in another city and come only once a month. Usha would handle everything on her own. She had a small flower shop outside the colony we lived in. To be frank, Ajay wasn't much of a father to Adi and Ami and a husband to Usha. On the days he would be home, I would always find Usha crying. Adi and Ami would be terrified. He used to beat them and bully them. Jignesh used to make him understand that's not how your treat your family, but he would never understand. Then one day, he left the house, writing a letter that he was leaving forever. Usha didn't even try to look for him. Good riddance, she had said." "Was Jignesh in touch with him after Ajay left?" "No. He never told me where he was going. We were in touch with Usha and the kids. When Usha passed away five years ago, the contact was limited. Ajay just left. Never saw him again." "I see." "This reminds me, just a day before Jignesh passed away, he told me he was leaving to meet Adi." "When was this?" "He passed away on 6th December, so 5th." "Did he tell why?" "No. He just said it was urgent." "Did he tell you after he came back?" "No. I wasn't home.

I had gone for a Satsang. Jatin, Jaina, you both were here. Did papa say anything about the meet?" She asked them. They nodded their head, indicating no. She turned back to them. "Well,… no idea. And then the next day, he left for a morning walk, had a heart attack, and passed away." Hansa said with a tear in her eye. "I am sorry, ma'am," Raina said. "Could we have the cellphone number that he was using?" "Yes. It's 070892345237." "Thank you." "Adi and Ami were like my kids. I considered them just like mine. I can't understand who might have done this to them." "We are working on it, ma'am. We will nab the killer soon." Shruti, Rohan, and Raina got up and were about to leave when Shruti turned to Jatin. "Were you in contact with Aditya and Amisha?" "Uhm. No. Saw them when we were kids. Used to play with them, that's it." "What about you, Jaina?" "I… no. I wasn't in contact either." "Okay, thank you for your time." Sameer rang the bell of the familiar house; he was now accustomed to visiting often.

After 10 minutes of waiting, he took out his cellphone and called Shikha. The phone went into voice-mail. "Where are you?" He spoke loudly. He went down the stairs and caught hold of the security. "When did you last see the 501, madam?" "Shikha madam? She left in a cab yesterday night. She handed over the keys to me. Went with some luggage." "What? Where did she go?" "I don't know." "Where is the key?" The security guy handed him the key, and he ran up the stairs. He reached the apartment and opened the door. Cupboards and cabinets lay empty. Sameer googled a number and called up the place. "I want to speak to your employee, Shikha Kulkarni." "I am sorry, sir; Shikha resigned from her job yesterday." A woman answered. "What? Did she say why?" "She just said that she didn't need the job anymore." With sweat covering his face, Sameer called up Shruti. Shruti cut his call. "Pick up. Please." He whispered as the call was cut again after two rings. Sameer dialed Animesh's number. "Hey, Sameer here. Any chance you know where Shikha is?"

"Presumably her home. Why?" "She isn't. She packed her belonging and left. Even resigned from her job." "What? Why? Isn't her boyfriend's case still going on? Why would she leave like that?" "Unless her job was done," Sameer said slowly. He cut the call and called Shruti again. Shruti took out the CD that the detective had given. She played it out and forwarded it to the part where Adi meets Jignesh Patel. "There." She paused. She played out the part and tried to understand what he was saying. "What was important, Mr. Patel?" She questioned him. Jignesh was animatedly in conversation with Aditya, who appeared shocked. Shruti's phone rang again, and she cut the call. "Ma'am!" Raina came in. "Jignesh Patel did give a call to Aditya on 5th December. It was a 45-second call. Then this meet was at Cafe coffee day where both their phones are aligned." "Good… I am trying to lip-read what he is saying, but I am just not able to." Raina sat next to her. "I can't either," she said after trying out for some time. "But Aditya looks stunned. Speechless. Aditya's colleagues said he looked disturbed around that time. I am sure whatever he is listening to right now made his mind flip." "But what is it?" Shruti looked at the screen for some time, and something hit her. "Give me his call log." Raina gave the detailed call list, and Shruti went through it. She pointed to a number and picked up the call. She called up a number. "Hello?" She spoke into the phone. "Who is this?" "You have called up. You tell me." "Officer Shruti Ravindran. Who is this?"

“I am Shantanu Inamdar. What is it, officer?" "You gave a call to Mr. Jignesh Patel on 5th December. Right?" "Uhm… Jignesh Patel?" "Yes." "I don't remember. Give me a moment. Let me look at m…y di..ary." The voice at the other end was breaking. Shruti cut the call and called him from her cellphone. Rohan and Raina waited. "Yes. Jignesh Patel... That's right… Why? ……Whom? ……When?….. Could you elaborate? ……. And that was?.. Wait a minute. Can you repeat the name again? Bloody hell!" Shruti cut the call. Her mind started to work, and everything fell into place. "What is it, ma'am? Why are you smiling?" Raina asked. "Because I know who the killer is!" Shruti said with her eyes twinkling.

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