(R)ehman And (R)ani

(R)ehman and (R)ani
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Varun opened the car door quickly and said to the guide, ‘Would Rs 75 be of any use to you? If it is, get in and tell us all about it.’

The guide’s face brightened, and he got in. Once the guide was inside Varun shut the door quickly. He asked the driver to drive for ten minutes along the road and stop. The driver was looking frightened and seemed to be relieved when he was told to drive away from the place. After driving for ten minutes Varun told him to stop.

He looked at the guide and said, ‘We would like to know all about the story of the couple who committed suicide. Tell us all that you know about the incident. Do you remember the exact date this happened?’

‘I remember it was five or six weeks back sahib. But suicides at the Qutub Minar are no longer a novelty. You see lots of people commit suicide here. Many couples in love would go to the first or second floor of the Qutub Minar and jump down. It was because of the increasing number of suicides, the tourist department stopped allowing people from climbing to the top floor. Nowadays they have even stopped people from climbing to the first floor.’

‘Do you know the names of the couple who committed suicide?’

‘The suicide was reported in the papers Sahib. But it was just mentioned as a minor detail somewhere on the back page. The boy was a Muslim, and the girl was Hindu. Their names were…’ The guide paused for a minute and then said, ‘Yes, I remember now, Rehman and Rani. Their parents were against their union because they were from different religions. From what I hear there was a lot of pressure on them. The girl’s parents had fixed her engagement ceremony with another boy. The couple committed suicide just four days before the day of the girl’s engagement.’

Varun and Gayatri were disappointed. This seemed to be just another case of a couple in love committing suicide as they could not be together. Varun asked the guide, ‘Just one more thing, were either of them south Indian?’

‘No, they weren’t. The girl I think was a Delhiite and the boy was from West Bengal. They were studying in the same college. And that is where they met and fell in love. They had waited for a long time for their parents’ consent. But the parents would not budge.’

‘Okay, here is your money. Thanks a lot for the information you have given us.’ Varun pulled out his wallet and handed over Rs 75 to the guide who was simply thrilled. The man got out of the car. They went back to their hotel.

Once they reached the hotel, Gayatri called up Kalyani at the Damodar hospital for further news on Anandi’s health. The news that came in was bad. Anandi’s condition had gone from bad to worse. The hair on her body and the pustules had gotten aggravated. Anandi had slipped into a coma by now and had been isolated in a separate room in the ICU for fear of infection. Gayatri conveyed all this to Varun.

Varun said to Gayatri, ‘You know, I am more than ever convinced now that there is some supernatural power involved in this. I think we need to trace our steps backwards till we find the place where something happened which has some relevance to us. I don’t think that the suicide at Qutub had any bearing on our case.’

‘So where is our next stop?’ Gayatri asked.

‘Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.’

‘Well, you people in the cine field seem to spend your time careening all over the country.’

‘It is not for filming just one movie. Anandi had given dates for different projects, and we needed to keep on the move continuously. It is tiring sometimes.’

Gayatri said, ‘So tomorrow we are off to Shimla… I wonder if we have interpreted that gypsy’s words correctly…’

                                                                                             To Be Continued...

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter R

#AtoZChallenge 2023
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