The Mystery Unfolds.
I put the piece of paper down and look at it, scared. I look at Naira. My mind throws up nothing. There is darkness in front of my eyes. This didn’t just happen, did it ?!!
“But…” I try to say but trail off.
Naira says, “This came in the courier minutes before you came. I have been calling on his number. It’s switched off. I have tried his landline too. No one’s answering that phone either.”
I’m not crying, but I’m close. Did I lead a man to his death ?!! He wouldn’t have known had I not been stupid and followed the clues from the diary. He would’ve lived. At least for a few days more.
“But who sent you this ?!! If he committed suicide !!” I ask, totally confused by the happenings.
I frantically grab the envelope from the table and see the person it’s from.
56/A, Karkol Apartments
Santa Cruz, Mumbai
It’s his name, address and number. How did he send the letter then, if he was dying when he wrote the last note ?!!
Horrifying images of Virat lying dead in his own vomit and blood engulf my head. Questions flood my brain and I find no answers to them. There has to be a reason behind this. I hope this is not a prank by Virat. But Virat is not a person who would do such a thing. Why would he say that his sister died ?!!
“Who couriered us then ?!!” I ask, still horrified at what I just read.
“I have no idea.” Naira says.
“But even the handwriting is his !!” I exclaim as I try his number on the side.
My head is spinning. Naira looks at me and says nothing. I keep trying his phone but the phone is switched off. I have started to panic now. Finally I call up Naksh.
“Naksh ?!! Where are you ?!!” I ask as soon as he answers the phone.
“Office. Why ?!!” he asks.
“Can you come home ?!! It’s urgent.” I ask.
“Now ?!! What happened ?!!” he asks, worry evedient in his tone.
“Can you just be here ?!! And call Keerti too.” I state.
“I called her. She didn’t pickup my call.” He says.
“Fine, I will call her. Just reach as fast as possible.” I say.
“But what happened ?!! Tell me.” he asks.
“Virat is dead.” I say and disconnect the call.
Naksh sends me a text saying he will be there in twenty. Naira is equally scared. I ask her to call Keerti and she does so.
“What should we do ?!!” she asks.
“Let’s wait for Naksh to come.” I say and try the number again.
I am hoping against hope that someone picks up. I pace around the room in anxiety, and Naira sits nervously on the couch. Her legs are shaking and her hands have gone cold.
The bell rings.
“I will get that.” I say and open the door. It’s Naksh. And Keerti.
“What the hell is going on ?!!” Naksh comes in with Keerti and stares at us.
Naira hands over the envelope to them and says, “This reached us just a while ago.”
They take the crumpled piece of paper out from the envelope and start reading it. They read it and momentarily look at us with horror in their eyes. They read it again.
“Who sent this ?!!” Naksh asks, shocked. Keerti’s eyes are still stuck on the envelope.
“The handwriting on the envelope is his.” I say.
We all sit down. We have nothing to say. Keerti is still reading it over and over again. She is tearyeyed.
“Karthik and I should go and check it out ?!!” Naksh says.
“Mumbai ?!!” Keerti asks.
“What will change even if we go there ?!!” I ask.
“Maybe he is not dead.” Keerti says, with forced optimism in her voice.
“Maybe. I never imagined that he would do such a thing.” Naira adds.
“No, you did. We all did. Didn’t you look at his face that day ?!! Maybe Alia was the only reason for which he was still living ?!!” Naksh argues.
It looks like a curse. Anushka. Alia. Virat. All dead.
We are speechless and distraught. I had never seen life being so unfair to someone. It’s horrible. I understand Virat’s pain. It must have been unbearable. But killing himself ?!! It’s easy to say it’s unjustified, but it’s hard to understand how difficult it must be for that person.
Virat had become much more than the dead guy from the diary. At least to me, he had grown to be a very good friend. I might not have been close to him, but he was close to me. I had started living his life, seeing things like he did, reading and rereading his diary over and over again. I had started to even think like him.
I don’t know how the others feel about Virat’s death, but his loss is an irreparable blow to me. Even as Naira and Keerti talk in whispers that he might be dead and the police or whoever found the envelope must have couriered it, I still don’t believe that he’s dead.
For me, Virat had one of the strongest hearts I have ever seen. Yes, death changes a lot, but I had just not foreseen this. I am angrier than I am sad. How can he do this to himself ?!! Our lives were connected with his.
Couldn’t he have lived for all the lives he touched every day ?!! Was it that difficult for him ?!! At certain levels, we are responsible too … especially me. I could have saved him. I should have saved him. Why didn’t I fully understand what he was going through ?!!
As I sit in denial staring at everyone’s face, my phone rings repeatedly. I ignore the call.
The phone rings again. It’s an unknown number. I reject the call.
The phone rings again. I reject it again. And again.
“You should take that !!” Naksh says, irritated at my ringtone.
“Fine.” I say.
I wait for the phone to ring again. It rings again and I pick it up.
“Hi Karthik.” the voice says. It’s a familiar voice.
“Umm … huh ?!! Who’s this ?!!” I ask.
“Virat. You forgot me ?!!” he says.
“Ohh. NO. Are you crazy ?!! No. Hi … Virat.” I blurt out, totally confused.
I cover the phone with my hand and shout to the others, “IT’S VIRAT !!”
I put the phone on loudspeaker and we all huddle up near it.
“Yes, I am Virat. I know why you’re surprised. But don’t worry, I am Virat. I am in Delhi.” He says.
“Delhi ?!! We received your note by courier. What was that ?!!” I ask him.
It’s a strange feeling to know that he’s alive. One part of me feels highly relieved. The other part is angry and wants to punch him through the phone. Though most of all, I am intrigued.
What’s wrong with this diary ?!! First he sends us across the country to find his girlfriend ?!! And now this ?!!
“It’s a long story.” Virat says.
After reading what he had been through in the note we just read, he sounds surprisingly cheerful.
“What does that mean ?!! You literally killed us here !! Why are you in Delhi ?!!” I ask.
“How long are you here ?!!” Naira asks further.
“I don’t know. I don’t plan on going back to Mumbai.” he says.
“As in ?!! Got transferred ?!!” I ask.
“I am at Anushka’s place.” he says.
All of us look at each other, bewildered.
“Anushka’s place ?!!” I ask again, just to be sure.
“Yes.” Virat answers.
I don’t know how to react. A part of me tells me he has gone crazy. He was on medication as that note said. I think he is losing it.
“Anushka … she’s alive.” Virat says.
“What ?!!” I ask.
Now I’m sure of it. I start to feel sorry for him. He has lost it.
“Yes, she’s alive !! You should meet her. She really wants to meet you. All of you.” he says.
“Virat, you’re joking, right ?!!” I ask.
He’s going crazy, we all think. I don’t say anything. We look at each other and are speechless at Virat’s words.
“I am serious, Karthik. I will text you the address. Please come. I need to go now. I am leaving Delhi tonight for a few days. Please be here soon. And please get Naira, Naksh and Keerti too.” Virat says.
“Virat ?!!” I start to ask him but he cuts me off.
“I really have to go. I will text you the address.” he says and before I can say anything, he disconnects the call.
We wait for the text. We have no clue what’s going on. Supposedly, he was dead. Suddenly, not only is he alive, but he says Anushka is alive too ?!! Something is grossly wrong. And my guess is that it’s his head.
“He has lost his mind.” Naksh says.
“I guess.” I say.
The phone buzzes. It’s an East Delhi address, a two-hour drive from my place in peak traffic.
“Are you guys coming too ?!!” Naksh looks at Naira and Keerti.
“Obviously.” they echo.
Precap : Keesh’s confession.
Another update for the day. So what do you guys think, has Virat lost his mind or is Anushka really alive ?!!
Only two more Chapters are left for this FF to end. So I request Everyone of you, even the silent readers to comment as I want to end this FF on a happy note.
Do comment. Keep smiling. Keep watching Yrkkh !!