The Henna Girl

Inspector K.N.Vohra’s cell phone was in no mood to stop. For a change, his wife Anita had set the caller tune to a more peppy number, Barney Kessel’s ” Love for Sale”. She hated receiving so many calls because they were married for less than a year and the mobile phone was a painful intruder in so many intimate moments. Once, she even flung the phone out of the window and Vohra had to buy a new one.

“Inspector Vohra” he said softly. ” Sir, party. I mean party going on next door. Lot’s of noise, fights and windows smashed. It’s unbearable. No 25, 6th Cross Street, West Coast Road, Casuarina Bay.” Who ?….. The caller hung up. He was wondering how that guy had his number. Vohra had just returned from a cruel ghat drive the previous evening, and the time showed 3 am. He had to go since “Casuarina Bay” was a high-profile zone. He shook Anita, but she refused to get up. Even at this tense moment, Vohra admired her shapely legs. She always slept in shorts. He wanted to switch of the phone and get back into bed, but he cursed it, changed, and was in his Gypsy in two minutes. He usually traveled alone and well armed in these situations, since these cases had to be dealt intelligently.

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Vohra reached the spot in half an hour. To his surprise the place was quiet, no signs of any security guard in such a big house. He found the main door open, and window panes , broken and scattered all over the portico. There seemed a tussle which had taken place here. He took out his revolver and entered the first bedroom upstairs. He flung open the door, with his revolver pointed straight.  He saw three guys lying on the sofa, with needles, lying on the floor. They were in a state of heavy intoxication, with their eyes watery. He could hear feeble voices in the next corridor. Vohra rushed there. He found a girl in her twenties and a guy of the same age tied to the grill, and their mouths gagged. He quickly pulled out the rag, as they were gasping for breath.

The girl was in a state of shock and the guy was drained out.  “I am Inspector Vohra.” She caught Vohra’s hand, then fell at his feet. Vohra lifted her and made her sit down on the corridor. She had an exquisite brown tattoo on her feet. This was her first “ecstasy” party. She and her cousin brother were invited by a college-mate’s friend. They were actually “bait’s”. The drug was loaded in their car without their knowledge and brought safely to the venue. The girl said” We found everything weird on arrival. The group was around thirty people. The music was loud and my friend asked us to be in a room till the party started. I had no knowledge of this drug.” She started to cry as Vohra touched her shoulder.

She hid her face for a while. Then she  continued, ” As I planned to escape with my cousin they started hitting us, and one fellow nearly raped me. My cousin was god-sent, and, as he had your number, he called you. There was a huge fight between two gangs in this party, and most of them have fled the scene after that. God knows what would have happened to us after those guys wake up. I thank you Sir. Thank you for coming.”

Meanwhile Vohra had alerted his station, and took the girl and her cousin to the LNK Hospital which was very close. The girl gave him a grateful smile as he left them with the Doctor’s team.

Three months later. A lazy Sunday morning, Vohra’s mobile rings again. This time, some  happy news. His College-mate Vikram was getting engaged that evening. Short notice. Vohra was pretty pleased to take his wife Anita to the engagement, since she rarely had a chance to be with Vohra, because of  his busy police schedule. The crowd to the stage was long and serpentine. It moved inch by inch. Vohra reached the stage and shook hands with Vikram. Then they hugged each other. Vikram said ” This is Gayatri”. Vohra stood there for a while and wished the couple, then walked away. He then turned and looked at her feet. He had seen that tattoo before. If only he could remember where?

Buzz. Vohra’s phone vibrated. He took it out and the sms reads ” Thank you Sir for saving our lives. Please keep our meeting, a secret. – Gayatri’s cousin “. Vohra smiled as he deleted the message and took his wife to the dinner hall.

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