11:55 PM. The clock ticked.
“Stay away from the box Ria!” Dev yelled with the knife in his hand, stopping her midway. She stiffened and replied back jokingly, “It’s just five minutes left for my birthday!! Please let me at least see the cake!”.
Drunk, dizzy with all the rum and loud music. Ria bumped in the black study chair before sitting on it in front of the Air-Conditioner. It was not just the rum, Dev’s charm acted more as the magic for her. His white shirt and blue denim gave him a very casual look, yet he carried the most mystical persona for her. T
he AC wind gushed through her hair, making her smile at all his efforts – decoration, cake, gifts, everything.. He wanted his wife to spend her 30th birthday with him alone. The most beautiful night had just begun for her. For him, it was something even more devoting.
He was just staring at her face and her white birthday dress; the golden flowers on it glowed; he wanted to just keep on looking at her like this; he wanted to take care of her forever.
12:00 AM Midnight. Doorbell rang.
They both exchanged surprised looks since they weren’t expecting anyone. The moment Dev got up to open the door, Ria hurried up to peek inside the cake box placed on the kitchen table. She suddenly heard “BANG”, “BANG”, and a third “BANG”, before rushing to the door. She saw Dev falling midway to the ground, clutching both his hands onto his chest, trying to stop the bullet pain and blood from oozing out.
He opened his mouth to speak but only gurgled out blood instead. Time really stopped there for them. She looked up, saw the murderer standing there as shocked as her, crying and sweating, holding the gun, and then she looked back at Dev, his eyes wide open, trying to reach out to her face. He managed a slow “Hap..py..Bir..th..day” before saying goodbye forever. She didn’t have the courage to look back at the killer again.
She won’t be able to trust anyone from now on. “How could you Kri…”, she murmured before collapsing on the ground herself.
Sirens blazing. Ambulance. Police. Neighbours. Continuous phone buzzing. Friends and families trying to reach out.
Their neighbours, John and Preeti, also heard the gunshots and saw half the crime scene upon reaching their house door. Scared, they called the cops and ambulance to help Ria out.
Ria was still sitting on the ground beside Dev’s lifeless body, crying. The murderer was also sitting down some distance away, calmly on the ground. His blank eyes and expressionless face made Ria restless. She had too many questions, “Why didn’t he run away”, “Is he waiting to kill her too”, “Is he waiting for police”; yet alone “Why did he kill Dev..”. “What could have Dev done to get murdered by his own..?”
She couldn’t just bolster the strength to ask him about anything. She was frustrated. And her tears had dried up. There were moments when she looked up and saw his stone eyes staring right back at her, making her even more uncomfortable. She just wanted to scream, but what just came out were puffs of breaths…
Police arrived. Puzzled, they took the murderer along with the murder weapon into custody. An inspector asked for his phone, wallet and other belongings which he gave quite peacefully.
Senior Inspector, Zack, was a serious-looking but benevolent team player in reality. 56 years old, chiselled jawline, well-groomed beard, neatly cropped hair; he used to greet everyone with a stern smile and firm handshake. This day, though was a little different for him. He seemed disturbed as the whole crime scene unfolded before him.
Looking at Ria, reminded him of his own daughter, whom he lost in a car accident a few years ago. Gaurav, 45, his counterpart and best friend, noticed his mind running elsewhere and tapped his shoulder, closely muttering, “Boss, let’s begin with the interrogation!”
While Zack and Gaurav would interview the main members of the case – the murderer, close family members and key witnesses, their team would interview the extended circle of the couple. By this time, Ria was accompanied by her and Dev’s family, all sobbing because of the unfortunate line of events.
The couples’ home became an interrogation centre because Zack wanted to get on the case right now. He wanted to question the murderer in an environment where he likely pictured his whole life after killing somebody. Somehow, Zack wasn’t able to view him as a killer. The killer looked smart and carried himself with confidence. But he had pain in his lifeless eyes.
Dev was taken to the nearest hospital until further instructions, while the interrogation equipment got transferred from the police station to the house. Next to the dining table, two chairs were arranged in front of each other. A lie detector was connected and video camera placed to capture every action, reaction, dialogue and story of the killer. A birthday decorated house was hustling with police crew.
Neighbours who were not crime witnesses were sent back to their houses, but were requested to cooperate as each household in the vicinity would be questioned one-by-one. All this while, the murderer was as calm as an ocean, looking into nothingness.
Everyone to be questioned after the killer was requested to stay in the bedroom till their name was called out; two policemen accompanying them all the time.
Zack: What’s your name boy?
Killer: Krishna. Krishna Kaamat. Can I have some water please?
[He drank an entire one litre of chilled water in one go, cleared his throat and got ready for interrogation. Krishna, 37 years old, manager in an old-age home, clean shaven, wore a tidy blue-checked shirt, tucked neatly inside his black trousers, an oval shaped spectacles hanging out from his shirt pocket.]
Krishna: Am ready.
Zack: For what?
Krishna: The punishment. I murdered Dev.
[Zack and others were taken aback. This is not how a criminal confesses to his crimes. He was indeed ready for the punishment. Or had he already punished himself by killing Dev, thought Zack.]
Zack: Did you know Dev? Why did you kill him?
Krishna: I loved him.
Krishna: I gave him his last chance tonight. I asked him to spend the night with me or I might end up ruining everyone’s life. And I did.
Zack: Wait, he was leaving Ria for you? Was he gay too?
Krishna: No, he loved Ria.
Zack: Was he about to leave her anytime soon for you?
Krishna: Are you even listening to me?
[Zack gave him a tough look.]
Krishna: Sorry. No he wasn’t leaving her. It’s just that he wasn’t even giving me a chance to prove my love for him.. Maybe, maybe he spending quality time with me would have changed his feelings towards me. Please don’t mention me being gay, in front of my family, if at all they reach out. It will shatter them more than me being a murderer.
[He smirked while saying these words. With this, his tears began to roll down, with no change in his facial expressions.
Suddenly there were media and camera clicks everywhere outside the house! Policemen went out and told them that they won’t be able to tell anything at this moment.]
Zack: Do you want to call someone from your family to accompany you to the police station?
[Laughing hysterically now and wiping his tears from the back of his hand, Krishna replied with a nod that said NO.]
Zack: Why don’t you want to talk to your family? Do you want to say something to us?
Zack: Please give me a chance to help you out, son.
Krishna: I don’t know what answers you are looking for. I WAS A NORMAL CHILD, BUT THIS WORLD MADE ME FEEL DIFFERENT. I had such a happy childhood, playing cricket with Baba, loitering around with Bhai and friends and sleeping on Ma’s lap. My life got ruined on my 14th birthday; this was the day when I discovered that I had the capability to develop feelings for my best-friend Dev, a boy instead of a girl. I never got to confess my feelings until only a few months ago. I have lived all my life, mentally jailed. So it doesn’t anyway matters to me that being jailed again for life physically.
Zack: Why didn’t you talk to your family about it?….
Krishna: I somehow gathered the courage to talk to my family about it after speculating for two long years. The first dialogue was from my father – “I didn’t know you were born without any ba**s Krish!! After that, it was every day that my father and brother laughed at me saying “Did you grow a pair yet?”. My own family despised me. What was I supposed to do then? My mother’s counter-reaction was to enrol me with a psychiatrist. I was ashamed of my family.
[He suddenly fell off the chair while bursting into tears at that moment and Zack had to help him sit back again. He continued…]
“Oh, will I ever be able to free myself? With the pain, the hatred, the judgemental looks all around me? No. I don’t think so. Dev was my best friend. From sharing all the chuckles on ringing that neighbours’ doorbell to crying on falling off from that bicycle, Dev was there for me through all my childhood. My feelings started to grow stronger and stronger when he started dating a girl during his college time”.
“My family forcefully dropped me off my regular school and made me pursue home tuition, stopped me from meeting all my male friends, confiscated my phone as well. They wanted to marry me off to a girl as soon as possible. I was never allowed to step outside the house alone. I talked to my friends sometimes, but only under supervision. Trying to know more about homosexuality I read a lot and tried to explain to my family every day. All in vain, as I died every day a little bit…… I lived my life in denial for 11 years.
Zack: What did you do then?
Krishna: Finally, I ran off from my house upon turning 25. I didn’t even know then whether I could rely on my friends about my personality or not – I was scared of the mockery. What would I do if they discarded me too? I bagged a job but I had lost all the will to survive; until one day when I received a message from Dev, on social media. We met and talked. I told him all about my life. He told me that he got married to Ria.”
“Although he truly acknowledged and respected my feelings for him, he never gave an answer to me. We kept meeting as friends, sometimes alone, sometimes with Ria, or with his friend circle as well. My social life bettered.. and most importantly my relationship with Dev increased manifolds. We used to confide in each other for everything. For him, maybe best friends, but for me, I had got my life back. Finally, I was laughing with somebody, after a life of 23 years of mockery directed on myself.
I had regained my purpose somehow. I wanted Dev. My sole purpose was to just convince him to give me a chance.
We would figure it out then. I wanted to talk to him tonight as well. But no, he wanted to spend the entire day with Ria, he wanted to make her feel special. But what about me? What had I done to get discarded from everyone’s life? What was my mistake? I was born gay, Baba. I will die being one too. Tell my family that. Will you inspector? I am ready to be freed mentally. Yes!! Am ready.
Zack: I am sorry Krishna.
To read more from the Author
KalaManthan is an art platform which is dedicated to literary enthusiasts and has been working both online and offline to give them a place to share their views in form of poetry, stories and now blogs as well. The views are sole of the writer and not necessarily represent the platform’s views and opinions at all times.
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