It took them a good half an hour to reach the location with Farhad steering the car like a storm. It was a miracle they didn’t hurt someone or themselves at that speed.
Meanwhile, he called Swami to keep an eye on his family who was too stubborn to understand the danger looming on them and chose to stay away.
He was trying to calm himself; with the fever and the occasional sneezes, it was no good if he was not in his senses to give the idiots their lessons.
They arrived at the location Harish has given them but he was nowhere in sight, the car’s front dashboard was open, perhaps Harish needed the revolver but he was nowhere in sight.
Dread and fear started gripping Raghav and he could see two lifeless bodies in front of his eyes, his body was burning with fever but he could not afford to hallucinate or fall when she was in danger.
Leaving the jacket behind he rolled his sleeves till the elbows and had a few sips of water.
“Farhad, ready ho ja.” he told Farhad who understood him in no time and handed him the revolver and hid his in the waist, and together they walked to the building.
Lately, He was trying not to hurt people but if they came behind his life he was not going to spare anyone.
The building was rather alone in the locality so it was not possible that someone took Pallavi and Harish could not see, Harish was an idiot at times but he was no coward and he would go to any extent to save her.
With such thoughts, Farhad looked closely at the recently sewn cloths and material kept on shelves.
They had searched all three floors but there were no signs of Harish or Pallavi or anyone.
“Farhad, Gorilla said there were women on the next floor, was he conned or is there some way to leave this building?” Raghav asked as they came back to the ground floor and his sight blurred due to the fatigue.
“Anna, I’ll check through these shelves one more time but it seems he was fooled; there were no women here but he did mention there was a woman on the reception… I am checking her counter, we might get some information there.” Farhad said and walked to the counter and Raghav covered him to save him from any sudden attack.
Meanwhile, Raghav tried to focus his recent encounters with anyone who might be a threat to Pallavi but he could not think of a single face. Perhaps this one was from his past.
“Evaru rā nuvvu?” pushing his fingers on his temple he asked himself frustratingly. (who the hell are you?”)
“There is nothing… it is a small boutique, Anna. and some old couple handles it.” Farhad told him as he turned on the computer screen.
“arey to is budha budhhi ka pata kar… ye sab sahi nahi lagta mere ko.” he told him as saw something and walked towards it.
“haan Anna.” Farhad nodded as he got busy finding out some clue to locate the elderly couple.
The shelves were indistinguishable but the small one in the left seemed nearly empty and clean and it caught his sight, he touched the corners, and as his instincts said the upper side had a small crack enough to enter his fingers and maybe push or pull.
A few efforts and whole shelf stirred, he didn’t believe the idiots were this much of an idiot but then never underestimate your enemies.
“Farhad, close the main door and cover me… I don’t want us to fall in trouble if they have planned something,” he told Farhad as the shelf opened into another room hidden behind it.
“Anna, lets wait I have called a few men and they would be reaching here soon… going alone might be dangerous and you are already not well,” observing Raghav’s tired and reddening eyes Farhad told him.
“Nahi Farhad, mai rukega nahi… Pallavi ek ghante se gayab hai…” for a moment his retina was bombarded with unimaginable things but he brushed them away.
“okay then, you wait here Anna, I’ll go and see what is inside…” Farhad stopped him.
“wait here a few minutes and keep your phone in hand…call an ambulance in case something goes wrong.” Not paying heed to Farhad’s words he entered inside.
The architect was starting to confuse him, he had crossed two small rooms with the help of his phone’s flashlight and now he was standing at the brink of a narrow staircase leading downstairs.
Having no other way he stepped down and in a few minutes, he could smell fresh cloth material and the smell of something like ink.
“Vāru ikkaḍa ēmi cēstunnāru?” he asked to himself as he stepped down carefully keeping his gun ready to fire. (what are they doing here?”)
It seemed it was a godown and he could see a lot of stuff ranging from cloth material to woolens and papers.
It was all so confusing, if it was a small boutique then why they were working with papers and ink and then such a level of secrecy.
He heard someone shifting behind him and he turned in no moment taking a corner when he spotted a girl not more than 24 or25 who was writing something in a corner.
Taking a quick look around himself he walked to her and pulled out his gun, ” Ye padhna likhna chhodo aur bolo ye circus kya hai?”
The girl was surprised as she looked up, her eyes expanded in the dim light of her working lamp.
“Who are you and how did you get to the basement?” she left her chair and straightened up but there was no fear in her eyes.
“Anna, how are you so sure that she doesn’t know a thing?” Farhad asked him as he tied the woman to the chair.
“Mai ye game bahut saalo se khel raha hai Farhad aur abhi mai aankhe dekh ke bol sakta hai kaun sach bol raha hai aur kaun jhooth… ye ladki ko nahi pata ki yaha kya hua par ye hame batayega ki yaha kaun kaun aat hai aur vo reception vala ladki kaha hai?” Raghav said as he sipped the water and settled on the table in front of the girl.
“suno, mere ko tumse koi matlab nahi, bas ye batao subah se yaha kaun kaun aaya?” he asked her.
“mujhe nahi pata,” the girl was not easy to budge.
“theek hai fir, Farhad, Harish ko bol iska phone le jaye aur jo bhi iske khas ho use uthwa lo.” Raghav played the trick.
“kaun ho tum log aur kyu mere amma abba ke peeche pade ho?” she broke rather suddenly.
“amma abba ke piche?” Farhad and Raghav were both shocked to hear someone was troubling this girl’s family and planning against them for a while.
“kaun pareshan kar raha tumhe?” he asked the girl in a soft voice.
“pata nahi… do din se amma abba pareshan the, koi bar bar unhe call kar raha tha, shayd kisi saree vali ladki ka kuchh chakkar tha,” she told him struggling to free her hands.
“saree vala ladki…”
“haan, aaj vo yaha aane vali thi shayd…
“do you have any idea who were the people or how were they contacting you?”
“it was a phone number…I would call Amma and ask her.”
“Anna, how can we trust her.” Farhad interrupted.
“doesn’t seem you guys have any other way…” the girl crossed him.
the girl seemed intelligent so Farhad kept mum and dialed the number saved as Amma but the phone was switched off. A new set of dark clouds started looming around them when even her father’s phone was unreachable.
“lagta hai they are in danger… type him your address and Farhad call our men to cover her home, they might have closed the Budha…her parents inside the house so they could not do anything,” he instructed Farhad and popped another tablet.
“you are running a high fever, how do you manage to even stand.” she looked at him horrifyingly when his fingers touched her wrists as he opened the knots.
“don’t worry about that, abhi apne ghar le chalo.” he could not waste any more precious moments to get himself to Pallavi.
“dekho Anna, mujhe lagta hai aapko koi misunderstanding hui hai,” She pleaded to the elderly handicapped man who was sitting in front of her with his crunches kept in the side.
“hahaha, bahut salo pahle mujhe hua tha ek bar par ab nahi Pallavi raghav rao.” the man’s voice was filled with disgust.
“Raghav…” she muttered as her heart shook in disbelief.
She was here due to something related to Raghav’s past.
“i have told my daughter umpteenth times that he was no good for her but she didn’t hear me… the old man’s voice turned softer.
All she needed was some time before Raghav got to know about this danger so she had to buy some time… these were not easy men and it was no lie seeing how they had shot Harish without thinking for a moment.
She shivered with the thought and prayed to the Gods that Harish’s injury was not a fatal one.
“where is your daughter?” she asked him.
“that you should ask your husband… if you survive before he is here.” another man entered the room and she recalled it was the same man who has put that anaesthetic thing on her nose.
Precap – he kept calling her but she was not paying attention to him, she had fixed her gaze on something in front of her.
“Pallavi, Pagal hai kya…” Raghav called her as the old man walked to her with hate and revenge making him horrible.
She wanted to walk to him but the young man’s words kept running in her head, “she kept pleading and he left without looking back… I lost my sister only because of Raghav Rao.”
he didn’t know what has gone wrong here but she was lost and if he was right it was not good for her and for them.
Hey everyone, how are all of you, I apologize for disappearing without any notification but SINCE 27th we are having a COVID emergency… My uncle fell sick and was gasping for his breath, it was really horrible for all of us.
Right now it is hard to look around ourselves with so many people suffering, we can’t help at times even if we want so all that we have is Prayers.
My uncle is doing okay and he might be discharged in three or four days whenever doctors are convinced he is good to go home.
Please Guys, again I am urging everyone – do take care of yourself and your near and dear ones, you notice something suspicious, go and get them checked… it is horrible, frustrating, and depressing but if the help reaches in time then we can control it.
I believe this time too shall pass. I am praying that no one is caught in one such situation.
Take care everyone.
With love Morusya.