The Masked Criminal
One Saturday afternoon Rima met Sarbari in a shopping mall. After shopping they spent some time in the food court. Rima heard that something was wrong with the woman who had made false allegations against her.
"Have you seen her lately?" asked Sarbari.
"No. Why?" asked Rima.
"She's totally silent in Whatsapp and Facebook for the past many days."
"Probably she's sick or on a vacation," suggested Rima.
"Whenever she goes on a vacation she posts hundreds of pictures on Facebook and Whatsapp. No, I don't think she's on a vacation. But yes, she might be sick."
"Anyway, who cares!" shrugged Rima.
"You two were in school together, isn't it?"
"Yes, but we were never good friends. By the way, how did you get to know her?"
"I saw her in a picnic a few years back. She was the treasurer and also one of the organisers. We donated thousand rupees each and handed over the money to her. We were thirty in all; hence the total amounted to thirty thousand rupees. She was the one who decided the menu and it was very ordinary. The food was also not adequate for the thirty of us. Many of the participants returned in empty stomach. She never showed us the bills or break up of the total amount. After that incident we never involved her again."
"Unbelievable!" exclaimed Rima. "She hasn't changed a bit! While in school, she took five hundred rupees from each of us to arrange for a Teacher's Day party. After the party she failed to give account for three hundred rupees. We were too gentle to call her a thief, but that's exactly what she was!"
"Anyway, let's not discuss that wicked woman anymore. How's your practice going on? Next week I might come to your chamber. I'm suffering from terrible migraines."
"Sure, you talk to my compounder for an appointment. But I am going to Mumbai on coming Saturday. You may come anyday before that."
"Sure. Are you going there to attend any medical conference? Or just vacation?"
"Vacation. My brother in law lives in Mumbai with his family. We are all going for a weeklong trip to Goa. My husband and children will be leaving on Thursday. I'll be joining them after two days."
"That's great! Wish you happy holidays."
Rima dropped Sarbari to her apartment and returned home in the evening. She took a quick bite and freshened up. There were lots of appointments to be kept before she could hope to manage her weeklong holiday.
"Are you sick?" he asked, adjusting the knot of his tie.
"Not at all. Why, do I look sick?" She had a quick glance at the mirror in front. It would never do to arouse his suspicion.
"You hardly go out nowadays... no clubs, no kitty parties, no Whatsapp, no gossiping, no shopping, no parlours! You hardly receive any phone calls or visitors. You don't watch TV serials. What's the matter with you? Are you okay?"
"I'm perfectly fine, thank you. I'm just taking a break from the monotony of routine life."
"Indeed, you surprise me! Anyway, there's a cocktail party this evening. I'll pick you up at 8.30. Get ready by then." He opened the door to go out.
"Do I need to go?" she asked. "I'm not in the mood to go anywhere right now. I need some rest."
"Yes, you need to accompany me there. As such you have stayed indoors for a pretty long time. Some fresh oxygen will do wonders for your skin. Remember then, 8.30."
He opened the door and briskly walked towards the lift. She remained seated there, feeling helpless and annoyed.
The party, thrown by a reputed business house, was held in the banquet hall of a five star hotel. She was sitting in a corner of the huge hall, toying with a glass of Pink Lady. Generally she remained boisterous in these parties and participated in every dance. Her coquetry attracted men and she was never in want of partners. But today she was in a dull mood.
"Hello Madam, how're you? We meet after a pretty long time."
It was Dr Moitra, the official physician of the business house that hosted the party. He already appeared quite high.
"Oh, Hi Dr Moitra," she dryly returned the courtesy. She was in no mood for small talk now.
"You must give me the first two dances," requested the doctor.
"Excuse me, but today I'm not in a mood to dance."
"Why, what's the matter dear lady? Are you not feeling well? Here, let me see your pulse."
She ardently wished that the doctor should leave her alone.
"Oh, it's nothing serious. Just a headache." she lied.
"Oh I see. Don't worry, I'll give you company."
"Your wife might not like that."
"She's not here today. She's gone to her parents's house for the weekend."
"You sound quite relieved,"
Dr Moitra did not mind her caustic comment. He laughed heartily.
"Well said, Madam, well said. You know, we men too need some freedom sometimes."
She did not to reply. The doctor continued to talk.
"Let me give you a good piece of news. Soon I'll be transferred to the Company Head Quarters in Noida, and that too with a promotion. Isn't that great?"
She congratulated him and wished that he should leave now. But he didn't.
"You might know the new doctor who has been recruited in my position. Her chamber is in your complex."
Suddenly she felt interested.
"Oh really? Who's she?"
The doctor told her the name and said, "We were classmates in the Medical College."
She tried not to show too much interest.
"No, can't say I know her."
"Oh I see. You know, she's a very talented person. She's good in singing, painting, photography..."
"You mean she is a Jack of all trades."
"She is pretty good in computers too."
"Is that so?" Suddenly she became very interested in the conversation.
"Yes. She has good command over computers."
"Does she know hacking?"
"What a question!" laughed the doctor. "Hacking is not a great issue for anyone who has the technical knowledge."
She tried to conceal her excitement. She had never imagined this conversation would turn out to be so fruitful. Now she knew who hacked her mobile.