The Murder of Raj Verma

that Col was not listening as he was busy fighting his tears and was talking to take his mind away from the fateful night.

There was a deafening silence for some unknown moments which seemed like hours when Sheila gathered courage and said – “Can I ask you something Uncle?” Col said – “Sure dear…what is it?” “I know it’s painful, but I need to ask” she said. Col said – “yes go ahead, you need to get it off your chest too”. She heaved a sigh of relief and said –“Uncle are you sure nobody was in his room?” “Yes I am sure there wasn’t anybody, else I would have known.” Sheila continued “How can you be so sure Uncle, since he has a separate door, couldn’t someone have come and left from there?” This had not occurred to the Col since Raj always used the main door whenever he was in town. Col looked up at her surprised, since this had not occurred to him and how did he miss that part. He then said – “You are right, this had not occurred to me, but if I recollect, the door was locked”. “Are you sure” she insisted. Col hesitated – “yes, I guess, no I am sure”. She went on – “then who could it be?” Col said – “I wish I knew. But did he say anything to you about anything that can throw some light on who this could be? Did he say or do anything which could give us a hint?” Sheila said – “If only I knew. But yes, he did look a bit pre-occupied this time and was constantly on his mobile whenever he was with me….wait, where is his mobile?” she said nearly getting up. Col too got up and as if in cue, both of them headed towards Raj’s room, which was bolted. Col had not had the courage to enter the room after the fateful night. Sheila too had not gone in. Both of them entered with measured steps. The room was neatly arranged. Col was wondering aloud as to why it had not occurred to him to look for the mobile and how come nobody wanted to know about it. They looked under the bed, inside the wardrobe and all other places, including the small mandir in his room. But the mobile was not there. This was strange. Where had the mobile gone? Sheila said – “It has been some time now, have you received any bill from Reliance?” Col said – “No, isn’t that strange?” “Yes it is” said Sheila and both realized that something was amiss. The evening had left both a bit disturbed and Sheila came back home a bit worried. Mr. Sharma noticed the worry and on probing, she narrated the findings. Mr. Sharma said – “Why are you doing this to the old man and to yourself? Raj is no more and you need to get him out of your system. How long will you chase shadows? You have a life and that old man has nothing to look forward to, why make him relive what he has endured?” Sheila felt a pinch of guilt, but the curiosity would not leave her.

Sheila found herself next day at the Reliance office to seek the details of the Mobile no. She used her high office of a lawyer and after clearing many obstacles, got the last bill. The last few calls were from an unknown number which was from abroad which could not be traced. However, what was really surprising was that the number was deactivated the very next day. The very next day and the last bill was

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