How could he do it?
Isha Sahai was lying on her bed and staring at the white ceiling. It was quarter past eleven and she had been in this position for over two hours now. Even now, she couldn’t bring herself to believe what had been revealed to her only a few hours ago. “Your husband has been arrested for murder”, a crisp authoritarian voice had informed her. Her shocked, “but he can never do such a thing”, had been met with an indifferent snigger. “I am Rajesh Mishra, the Inspector- In charge of this investigation”, he continued and gave her a description of the bare facts in an emotionless voice. Her silence had been met with a sharp noise, which to her bemused system had signified an end to the alarming conversation.
Her hurried visit to the Police Station had been a nightmare. In her haste, she had completely forgotten the doctor’s advice that she was not supposed to run or walk quickly because she was in the second trimester of her first pregnancy. Her genetic history had revealed that she had to be careful in this trimester. Most of the women in her family had lost at least one child in their second trimester. This thought had jolted her back to reality. She had then made an attempt to calm down and changed her pace to a more reasonable one. The first time she saw Raj huddled in a cell, she could have wept for him. Her anguished “Raj”, had been answered by him getting up and facing her. The sight of his blood and tear stained face was like a kick in her solar plexus. Once again, she had reminded herself of her fragile state and tried to steady her nerves. With forced calm she had asked, “Raj, what has happened? Please tell me that what they are saying is not true”.
The few moments of silence after her heartfelt declaration had been the worst moments of her life.
“Isha, he got stabbed when I was trying to save my life”, he had pleaded.
Something in her perplexed expression had caught his attention as he began, “After I called you last night, Mr. Smith wanted to visit a new restaurant, La Club. Around midnight a man started shouting at the bartender. Coincidentally, I was at the counter for a refill. I merely asked him why he was making such a scene”, Raj looked at her to confirm whether she was with him and continued, “The moment I uttered these words, this man turned his full wrath upon me. He was a stout and pudgy man, not fearing him I faced him with my full height. His eyes were blood shot and he started hurling profanities my way. Something about his tone piqued me and I asked him to shut up.”
“This was when he produced a knife from somewhere and held it at me. By this time, everyone had gathered around us and no one dared to stop this man. Inebriated, his behavior did not seem normal, as if he was demented or completely unhinged. Seeing the gravity of the situation, the bartender tried to stop the man. I don’t know what happened, was he too fast or others too slow; he hurled the knife at the bartender this time and nearly got him. I picked up the knife and before I knew it, he hurled himself at me. The knife pierced into his flesh and he died instantaneously”, he finished on a disbelieving note, as if still unable to digest what had happened.
“But, Raj why did you have to interfere in the first place”, Isha had asked, hearing the full story had restored her confidence in her husband. But could she live with a murderer? Whatever the reason, a man had been killed. Could she let her child be brought up by a man who had killed another man?
Their conversation had been broken by a shrill voice shouting that the visiting time was up. She had made her way back to the house as if in a trance. Even now, only a couple of hours later she could remember nothing of the journey back home.
The piercing sound of the door bell raised her from her reverie. She glanced at the clock, it was quarter past three; she must eat something she chided herself. Her eyes were met with a frail dark woman, her face was covered in worry lines and it seemed she was sweating profusely. Isha was startled to see her like this, “Can I help you with something, and you look like you could do with a drink”.
“Are you Raj Sahai’s wife”, she replied with a question of her own. Nodding, instinctively Isha moved back to let the woman in, her already troubled mind registered alarm at this question but she could hardly turn this distressed soul away. She could sense this woman’s fear and responded to it, “Why don’t you come in?” she asked politely.
The woman looked stupefied, as if, she had not been expecting a welcome. She looked like she was about to collapse but somehow she stepped into the house and made her way to the sitting room. Unsure about what to do, Isha said, “Allow me to get you a glass of water. Please make yourself comfortable”.
Unable to hold her curiosity any longer she rushed into the room with the promised water. She found the woman cracking her knuckles, when the woman caught her eye she rose as if to flee but sat down again with great difficulty.
“My name is Anushka Triweni”, she began nervously. She was looking everywhere but at Isha. The name ‘Triweni’ was enough to send Isha’s already agitated mind in a whirlwind of doubts. The man who was killed had the same last name. Who was she? Was she here to threaten her? Did she want money? Or worse, was she here for revenge? She hardly looked the type but you never know about these things, do you?
“I know, you are surprised to see me”, Anushka continued with increasing confidence. “I want to make it clear to you that I mean no harm”.
The next part of the story will follow soon