Posted November 26, 2009on:
You can read the first part here.
Kunal sat in the lab, his heart beating furiously. He could hear his own heartbeats in the silence of the laboratory.
“Doctor, madam is calling you and all the other doctors to her office.” Kunal jumped as peon’s voice reverberated in the laboratory hall.
“May we come in ma’am?” tension in the air was palpable .
“Come in, come in. All here?” The head of the department scanned the group. “Where are Artha and Khyati?”
The group looked at each other then looked down. Nobody knew, except Kunal but he looked down too.
“What is this, Madam? Where is your student? We want him. We won’t leave him. He is going to pay dearly for his deed!” someone from the group sitting across the head of the department shouted thunderously.
“Now, now, we can sort this thing out in the department. I will talk to Khyati. Our department is like a family. We will sort it out.” The HoD tried to pacify Khyati’s irate uncle.
“This is going on in your department since so long! You haven’t done anything so far, have you? Nothing doing… I want that boy. NOW!”
“Look, sir, I was not aware about the incidence and Khyati has never ever told anything of the sort either to me or to any of the faculty members. Let me talk to her and I am sure everything can be sorted out.”
“Madam, enough is enough. Now we will meet in Dean’s chamber IF that boy is still alive by tomorrow!” with that “uncle” and his entourage stormed out of the HoD’s office.
Once they were gone, HoD looked at her students with a questioning look.
“Were you aware about this? We have known Artha for about a year and a half now and some of you are his good friends since under graduate days. What do you have to say about this? Where is he? Where is Khyati? Call her immediately!”
“Say about what?” wondered Artha’s colleagues and friends.
Everybody was stunned at what they had just witnessed. It was as if they were a part of some movie sequence. But, this was real, not reel-life and their friend was in real danger. Problem was, no body was aware of Artha’s ‘so-called’ fault. As far as they knew, he was the most charming, most helping and easy-go type of a person. At the same time he was known for his tenacity towards his work. No wonder he was friends with almost everyone. Well, almost!
Just then HoD got a call from the Dean and was asked to meet him immediately. She did not like the sound of it. She hurried to the Dean’s office and Kunal hurried to Artha’s home, to meet his parents-in-law who were visiting Artha and Shobha for a few days.
Kunal was about to kick start his bike when someone put hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t know.”
“You two are always together. I am sure you know where he is. His wife is not in her department either. No body seems to know where she disappeared suddenly. I am sure you know.”
“I told you already… I don’t know! Now let me go.”
“Don’t think you are off the hook.” With that he was gone.
Kunal rushed to Artha’s home. He wasn’t sure how to broach the subject with Shobha’s parents. Will they understand? He did not even know where they fled. But they have to be told whatever little he knew.
Apparently, they were aware of the threats and anonymous calls. The trio sat there, each lost in his own thoughts. Suddenly they heard malicious voices from below the apartment. On an instinct Kunal grabbed a lock and asked the couple to be in the house till he came back. He locked them inside, gave them the keys from the window and went away to another round of interrogation!
To be continued…