DEVIANT

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Chapter 5

"I didn’t plan to kill Kalidasan. I actually wanted to leave that apartment and take Netra far from that place.

That night, one kind neighbour had came rushing to my apartment and informed me about Netra. That she saw Netra with Janaki going to level fifteen. Kalidasan’s apartment.

I didn’t know how Netra end up going out of the house. I remember very clearly, Netra was asleep in her room before I left to take a shower.

When I reach into their apartment, my heart stopped beating. In other words shattered. That man was trying to molest Netra again.

Running to my daughter’s rescue, I pushed that man away. We were having verbal argument at first but it got aggravated to physical attack.

He came after me like a predator within minutes of our argument. I thought Janaki would help... but instead she went ahead and locked the main door. Keeping the unwanted attention away.

I was trying to get out of his way as quick as possible and take Netra out of that apartment but Janaki caught Netra. She threaten to kill Netra in front of me if I don’t give in.

I panicked.

Kalidasan kept advancing and I kept moving back then stopped.

I reached the kitchen, the end of the apartment and there was no way for me to get out.

I was trapped.

The knife on the holder was the only thing I could use as a weapon. My intention was not to kill him.

But he was advancing without the fear, I might stab him.

And I did.

Not intentionally, I only tried to keep him away from me with the knife pointed to him but he end up stabbing himself by falling on me” Poornima’s statement on the night of the incident.

Gautham had another session with Poornima after getting Netra out of the apartment and kept her safely in the hospital for treatment.

He needed to know what exactly happened that night so, Poornima could get lesser punishment. If her action prove to be a pre-planned murder, there is no way she could get out of this mess.

But she did not kill him intentionally and it was clearly an act of self-defense. With proper evidence and statement.

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Netra was given the best treatment in the renowned hospital. Gautham had his close friend, Shruti to check on Netra. He had also explained what happened to her and requested Shruti to do the examination and treatment that needed.

As a father, he felt ashamed for not protecting his daughter instead went all the way out to protect the nation.

However much he is proud of protecting the people from danger, the guilt of not being there for his family, for his daughter started killing him.

He felt worthless.

Gautham waited patiently outside the treatment room. He vowed not to stay away from his daughter even for a second from now on.

Shruti came out of the treatment room after sometime and ushered him for a private talk.

“She is fine, Gautham. Thank goodness there isn’t any injuries in her. Netra is perfectly fine, a little scared, traumatized but she is all good...

Gautham.

I shouldn’t be saying this but if you had asked for transfer sooner. If your brain and heart had synchronised earlier, this could have been avoided.

Look, Netra needs a happy family. She is barely six, all these dark phases of her life can be erased. You need to gain Poornima’s trust again since you have broke it.

She needs a proper family.

Poornima needs you and you need her.

I hope you have thrown away your stupid ideology!

Don’t leave them anymore, Gautham” Shruti advised.

“I won’t. Thank you, Shru”

Among all his friends, Shruthi had been the only one Gautham kept in touch with, even after he left Chennai.

Six years back when he left the city, Gautham thought he had left everything but he failed to realise something else too have been left behind.

It took him four years to realise what was it. And when he did and decided to request for a transfer to Chennai, so much had happened by then.

Only if the transfer happened sooner.

Never in his dream he thought he would meet Poornima after six years as a murderer. He now sees himself as the sole reason for all that happened.

3 days ago...

Not even the first time when he came to Chennai did he felt so happy but this time it was different he was happy and anxious at the same time.

After two long years of wait, finally his transfer request was accepted by the Chennai Police Department. And here he is on the first flight to Chennai.

Soon after reporting at his office, the next thing he did was to wait outside GreenLush Apartment.

For Poornima. To check on her, if she had moved on or married and have kids, living the life she deserves.

If anyone had asked Gautham six years back, “Will you come back to Poornima?” He would have answered, a no. And if he was asked two years back, it will would be definite, YES.

How?

Even he can’t answer that.

When?

It took him four damn years to realise, he can’t go without her.

Not a single day went without her thought. She kept popping in his head ever since he left her but he reasoned himself that he might have been used to seeing her past two years, that the thought of her is following him.

But soon he realise, it was something else.

To try his luck, Gautham came back to Chennai.

And he considered himself lucky, he got to know Poornima isn’t married yet and still dwells in the very same apartment. So, he waited for the right time to meet her.

Three days after his arrival in Chennai, Gautham was fortunate to meet Poornima but in an unfortunate situation.

“Sir, here is the case file that came in today morning. It’s a murder case and neighbours are claiming he has been murdered for money. The accuse is here, sir but-” Gautham held a palm to the Inspector.

The first thing that drew his attention was the name of the accused. Poornima Rajesh.

Poornima? This can’t be her.

“Thank you, Moorthy. I’ll look into the file first. Meanwhile, handle the lady with dignity and bring her to the interrogation chamber. Remember, she is not an accuse yet until I say so. Got it.” Gautham said in an authoritative voice.

Gautham stood at the window in his office from where he could see the corridor.

It felt a thousand detonated bombs in him. Poornima was being taken to the interrogation room, handcuffed. What could have happened?

He couldn’t think what to do, he wanted to go to her, ask her what happen before bringing her to the interrogation chamber but not the right time.

Once the police department finds out that the one in charge on a particular case related to the accuse, they would change the officer. He didn’t want that to happen.

He paced back and forth in the office. Gautham checked the case file once again. Accused for murdering Kalidasan, 55 year-old, GreenLush resident.

He couldn’t swallow this new information.

Gautham tried several number of whom he knew stayed in the apartment and fortunately after six tries the seventh number, answered.

“Hello, Venkat?

I’m calling the Chennai Police Department. We would like to inquire about the recent murder happened in GreenLush Apartment. Can you tell us about it?”

Gautham learnt that Poornima had accused Kalidasan for abusing kids in his house. And because of that she was humiliated by the residents.

Venkat had also failed to disclose the exact details that caused this issue as he wasn’t aware of the problem in the apartment.

The murder could be of revenge, said Venkat.

Gautham needed to know what exactly happened and as much as he knew Poornima. She wouldn’t do this. Definitely, no.

Then he thought about the interrogation. If she had killed Kalidasan and sat next to his dead body, the reason must be deeper than just revenge.

Gautham instructed the inspector who was supposed to be with him in the room to stay out and no one is supposed to be in the room nor watch the process from the one-way mirror.

And that, there will only be a camera and microphone to record Poornima’s statement.

An hour had passed and he hasn’t made a move to start the interrogation.

He suddenly felt scared, nervous. Meeting his ex-wife after six years in this condition isn’t what he expected when he came to Chennai.

The room seemed to be awkward this time though he have been visiting the chamber for the past two days. Poornima didn’t move to the noise of the door.

He took a deep breath and sat opposite her.

He couldn’t help but to take a few seconds to read her. Poornima looked tired, worn-out and completely disheveled. He noticed her brown orbs dilated when their eyes met and quickly return to its size.

He wanted take her in his arms and apologies for not being there for whatever the reason she was here for. As for him, she is not guilty. Even though he doesn’t know about the whole issue.

Each time Poornima spoke about their relationship, it hurt him very much. How much he had given her pain and suffering, he learnt then.

And the mention of Netra nearly gave him a shock of his life. How did he not know about Netra. His daughter.

And to hear from his wife that his daughter has been raped by his own uncle made his blood boil in anger.

He couldn’t hold himself watching Poornima burst into tears. Gautham got up and walked to the end of the room hoping the camera doesn’t capture his reaction to Poornima’s statement.

If he had gone with his emotion and reacted to Poornima. The police department itself will claim and use those footage against him during court hearing.

They would claim, as in, he is trying to save the accuse by altering the evidence, statement and so on.

He have seen that many times happening in the other states he served before.

He knew very well about his police department and also the advocates, they could do much more than anyone could think of.

Now that Poornima’s statement is enough to prove that she is innocent. He still has few more things to work for this case.

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