Home Article Thief On The Loose: Part VII

Thief On The Loose: Part VII

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” Why did you come back so early ? ” Meghna?s mother enquired.
” Felt like coming back ”  Meghna replied, thrusting a wad of flowers in her hand.
” How was the wedding ? “
” Good “
” How was the food ?”
” Okay. “
” How is the bride groom ? “
” Yeah, kind of like a bride groom”

Mother couldn?t hold it any more. She had been observing some changes in her daughter for quite a while now and these one word answers were making her furious. And if that wasn?t enough, she was keeping a straight face and not even looking at her. It was time to break the ice and see what was wrong. After all she was a mature and independent girl, but that did not mean she could flout the rules and throw her weight around.

” What?s the matter with you ? ” she asked in a stern voice, loud enough for the father to hear.  “You have not spoken to me properly since so many days. You arrive only after the rosary and your room is a mess. And for heaven?s sake, stop making that face at me “

Meghna scratched her neck and yawned.

“Stop that drama. I know you want to show me you don?t care. I don?t mind if you don’t care, but I do care. When you were a child?. ”  Mother started a litany of all the good virtues she had taught her and all the good things she had done to her when she was small. Meghna had heard these things many times over, but interrupting her while delivering a sermon at such ferocity wasn?t always safe. She had learned how to keep quiet when all hell broke loose and later hold the ground when things cooled down.

…It was time to break the ice and see what was wrong. After all she was a mature and independent girl…

“What?s the matter Dora ?”  Father called out. 
“Your daughter appears to have become the mayor of Bombay. So she doesn?t care for me any more “

Her words pierced him like a three pronged sword. They were meant to be. Benjamin Sequeira spent most of his time associating with cultural clubs and charity organizations. Though his intent looked innocent, he secretly planned to become the mayor of Bombay. He strived hard for it. He cleaned the beaches and helped the poor and the needy and organized blood donation camps. But he did not have time to fix his own leaking roof or mend the rot in the garden. Wife and children became like distant relatives. So whenever the wife screamed, he had reason to feel guilty and coil his tail.

“Leave her alone, she is not a child anymore ” He uttered, gathering enough courage.
“Thank you. But  when was last time you saw her growing up ?”  She shot back.

Meghna walked into her room and closed the door behind her. The room was dark. She sat on the bed, untied her hair and let them dangle for a while. She sat there for a long time. And then, she started feeling it. The heartbeat ! It started thumping rhythmically, like the hooves of a horse approaching from a distance. Beads of sweat started rolling over her forehead and she started shivering as if locked up in a refrigerator.

She got up and flicked on the reading lamp. Then, with the sleight of a hand, somewhere from her dress, she pulled out the necklace. The blue colored diamond necklace! True to its name the Neeldhara gave out blue light with a purple tinge when held in front of the reading lamp. The dazzle was so intense, it filled the room. Those were diamonds of highest purity! They must have been the best of Zaveri’s collection from the mines of South Africa.

Even though Meghna had seen diamonds before, she could not speculate either the price or the quality of the stones she was holding in her hand. ‘Must be one of the countless ornaments  lazing in the Zaveri treasury’ she thought.  She tried to convince herself she had not stolen the moon and avoided meeting either of her parents for the rest of the night. But fear gripped her throughout the time she was awake.

The real shock came in the morning when her father called out from the hall.
“Meghna, Meghna, getup and see this item in the news paper”

Meghna thought it must be about some relocation of slum dwellers which her father was normally interested. But as she rubbed her eyes and came down to the hall her father appeared all curious. “Don?t you know what happened at Sheetal’s wedding ?” He handed her the News paper.

It was a third page news item. ‘Robbery at Zaveri wedding in Bandra. Vintage diamonds worth Rs.8 lakhs missing’ the heading read. Meghna?s vision blurred as she tried to read on. There were not many details of the incident except that the Zaveri’s did not have a clue as to who had stolen the diamonds. She tried to maintain her composure “There was a power failure and after that I heard something was missing. But I came early”  she told her father. She did not say she had come back without eating food. “It is very difficult to find out who has stolen these diamonds, especially with such a big crowd” She heard her father say as she rushed to her room. She opened the drawer and took out the diamond necklace. She was simply not willing to believe that she had stolen a necklace worth Rs. 8 Lakh. She grabbed her umbrella, loosened the cloth, threw the necklace in and tightly packed it as before. Then she threw it among the pile of clothes. She blissfully ignored the fact that the monsoon had arrived.

It was a warm and humid day. Meghna dressed up in a hurry and left for work. Her father went on  pouring over the rest of the news paper while her mother started tending the kitchen. It was only around 10 in the morning that the Police knocked on their door.

To be continued ?.

Author: Remy DSouza- Kuwait

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