The Incident at the Akashdeep  Estates  -  Part 2

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As they came inside after having seen the Inspector off , Anita sat on the sofa lost in thought both about the past and the present ..

“A penny for your thoughts Madame “

“That is too little, because my thoughts are far more precious “ said Anita

“Are you thinking of what the inspector said “ asked Rohit 

“ He has a point there you know, we both would benefit from your writings because I don’t know many of the smaller incidents that took place before the murder within the estate ..

“Yes and…what else ?”

“ About your own feelings when you first met me and …

“ Rohit dear , I am supposed to focus on the murder and not on our love story !”

“ But they are interconnected at some level, are they not?”

Anita looked at him pleadingly ..

“Rohit, you are making this even more complicated for me ..Having agreed to do so,  I am not sure how to write and where to start ..”

“Very simple…just start from the beginning ”

And that’s how their conversation on the issue had ended because the door- bell rang just then and it was their neighboring girl Raksha , who had come to speak about spending the night at their place while Rohit was away.

Later at night after dinner , with Rohit on the bus , on his way to meet his elder sister Vidya , Anita looked into the small guest bed room where Raksha the neighboring girl was already asleep.

She switched off the hall and Kitchen lights, bolted the doors and came into her room with a note book and pen.

She thought  “Rohit said start from the beginning , but where and which exactly was the beginning ? was it the time I met Rohit or was it even before that ? the day I arrived at Akashdeep or was it even before that when Mahesh anna came to visit us ? "

“ I will have to start with  Maheshanna’s visit since that’s when things began to change in my life and also to a certain extent at Akashdeep and all the people who were connected with it “

Having decided Anita took out her note book and wrote at the top of the page “The Incident at Akashdeep Estate. ” she thought “ I will not call it murder because the word murder brings it down to the level of a barbaric crime which it definitely was not”

She also decided that she would write her story in the first person since it was her personal account and as such would sound much more natural  when narrated in the first person. Having decided that , Anita took a trip down memory lane and the events began to unfold one by one but she decided that she had to put them in order before beginning to pen them down..

As she let her mind wander, memories came flooding one after the other overwhelming her and she realsied that her life had completely changed in the past two years.

Anita’s Narrative

I come from a lower middle class family , having lost my father two years before the incident took place, and I got involved with it. My mother received my father’s pension which was barely enough to take care of our monthly expenses since there were five of us living in the house. Other than myself , my younger brother who was studying in junior college and my mother, my grandfather too lived with us and my atthe , father's widowed sister who had always been part of our household since she was very close to my father and all of us. I had completed my graduation in our local college and later with difficulty, managed to find a part time clerical post with a law firm. The salary that I received , though small helped us a lot. Life went on without any major incident until Mahesh anna visited us .

 How I became part of the incident is quite another story. It started with Mahesh anna’s unexpected visit to our house one afternoon in the month of October. I have to tell a few words about Mahesh anna , who was a distant relative of my father. His parents had died when Mahesh anna was barely out of college and still in his early twenties , after which the entire responsibility of looking after the vast estate fell on his shoulders. He lived with his father’s sister Rohini and her son Arvind , both of who helped Mahesh a great deal in his day to day dealings in looking after the estates and the household consisting of a cook , a live in maid , a daily help and estate workers.

Mahesh anna visited our city every now and then to attend weddings and other social gatherings since most of our relatives lived here. More importantly Mahesh anna was married to my cousin, Shalini , who was my father’s sister’s only daughter . She was very beautiful and also very arrogant because of it , being an only child was pampered to the extent , where she had no scruples when it came to fulfilling her own desires and wants . I am probably sounding very biased , but I am being frank with my opinion and this comes straight from my heart . Although, I had very little interaction with Shalini or Shalu as she was called during our growing years , I also felt that she hardly noticed my existence since she was totally absorbed in herself. Before she completed her graduation she had several suitors who were ready to fall at her feet and Mahesh anna was one amongst the many. Shalini and her family were understandably thrilled with his proposal and they were married soon after. So, Shalini lived at Akashdeep Estates with Mahesh and his family, probably lording over everyone.

However, we were all pleasantly surprised to see Mahesh anna visit us at home that day . He was ever so nice and when amma and atthe coaxed him to have lunch with us , he sat on the floor along with all of us and thoroughly enjoyed the simple lunch consisting of rice, sambhar ,salad and papad. We had always thought of Mahesh anna as a very reserved person but that day we felt that we had misjudged him..


( To be continued )

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