CHAPTER 4: NEW WORRIES
Thapki stares at her sponsor who takes his place on stage and introduces himself.
“Good evening to the collegiates, I am Mr. Amar, Aryan Sir’s chief secretary. Sir has sent words of apologies since he couldn’t come here today, he got busy with some work. But be sure that we’ll often meet and you might get a chance to meet him too. Anyways, I present the cheques and the files to our new research team,” Amar hands over the things to Thapki and shakes hand with her.
“I am looking forward to meet you again and we’ll discuss about it in detail,” Amar tells Thapki’s team.
“We will also look forward to meet you and Mr. Khanna,” Thapki replies back.
“Mr.Khanna doesn’t meet much of people but he was willing to come here today. But at the last moment, he cancelled it. I have to talk to him regarding this, if he is willing to meet you all, thank you,” saying so, Amar leaves the conference hall.
Thapki and her teammates look confused.
“We will do so much of hard work and the owner of the firm won’t even meet us? What kind of a person will he be?” Thapki tells her teammates.
“Why are you worrying about the owner? Whoever it is, let him be. We should focus on our work, we will have enough time to think of him because our project completion will last till the end of our course, I mean till the next year,” Suman tells Thapki.
Thapki nods, “Right. But what about Shraddha? What will she do?”
Jatin gives them a call, “Team Thapki, I need you all right now in my cabin.”
He goes away, the team follows behind.
“You have been given your project. But you may not have gone through it. Make sure, each one of you keep a copy of the file given to you and the original one will be with Thapki. The project doesn’t require teamwork, it requires individual effort, and at the end of your course next year, each one will submit it individually maintaining the uniqueness. You have been divided into teams only to discuss any confusing topics, you aren’t meant to make an exact replica of the other, is that clear? Especially Diwakar and Monty?”
“Now except Thapki, everyone else leave the room immediately,” Jatin orders them.
Everyone leaves except Thapki. Thapki looks confused.
“You must be thinking why I retained you back?” Jatin asks her. Thapki nods in affirmation.
Jatin gets up from his chair and looks at her, “Now listen carefully. You have been the most intelligent and sensible girl in our college and that is the reason you have been given Khanna industries’ project. There are a few problems which you need to solve and I can only bestow you with this responsible work. And you are requested to do it secretly without the knowledge of your teammates.”
“What is it Sir?” Thapki willingly asks.
“We have been receiving complaints regarding patients facing severe medicinal ailments, I mean many drugs with impurities have been found all over the country, even many death reports too. The police or the CBI are even unable to find out the real culprit,” Jatin tells Thapki.
“Sir, what will I have to do then?” Thapki asks again.
“You will have to work with a new set of medicines for the specific diseases as mentionedand and your own blueprint of the formulae used should not be disclosed to anybody, and I am sure you are strong enough to protect your own copyright,” Jatin tells her.
“You don’t worry for that. But what is the advantage of this? I mean how can the problem be solved Sir?” Thapki questions further.
“Then we will take help of the crime branch and they will do the rest. If culprits don’t receive the exact formulae, they won’t be able to tamper with the products. We will decide the rest later,” Jatin assures her.
“But we have to even submit our formulae to the manufacturers Sir, and Khanna industries is among the leading manufacturers. They have been sponsoring since years,” Thapki looks on tensed.
“This is the reason why I have given the responsibility to you. You will think of it for now, if required, I will help you later.” Jatin tells her.
“But Sir, don’t the police have any suspects or haven’t they caught any? I mean how can criminals go unarrested?” Thapki asks again.
“Let me tell you, there is, a strong culprit. He has been to the custody too, but he has been bailed out since there were no strong evidences against him. But cases are still imposed on him and he is not yet completely released of all crimes,” Jatin replies back.
“Who is he Sir?” Thapki asks once again.
“The Aryan Khanna himself…” Jatin speaks out the name of the culprit which shocks Thapki.
“What! The owner of the company himself? But why don’t the police just put him behind bars and the court punish him?”
“I said already they don’t have enough proofs, and even if they have, they can’t keep him in jail for a longer time. They are rich business tycoons, they will be released from jail unless there are very strong evidences and with the involvement of public.” Jatin speaks sadly.
“Sir, don’t worry. I will do anything but not let innocent people die anymore. The Great Aryan Khanna, you will not go unnoticed and snatch the lives of so many innocent people. I will give you your deserved punishment when I get evidences. I will even take the help of media too if required, for people’s voice,” Thapki says firmly.
“That’s the spirit girl, now check your file once.” Jatin tells her.
Thapki opens the file to go through everything, “Sir but…this file doesn’t have the work that you have given me!”
Thapki looks shocked while Jatin explains her further, “See Thapki, this work thing will be between you and me only, the original file will contain other projects which your friends will do, you may help them but your actual work will be which I have just said.”
Saying so, Jatin takes out some papers from under his desk, “Take these. These contain the actual work which you have to do. I had asked Amar secretly for these. Now go and make sure nobody comes to know about it, not even your besties.”
“I will see to that Sir, but I want to ask something. May I?” Thapki asks Jatin.
“Speak,” Jatin assures her.
“Sir, what about Shraddha? What will she do? She didn’t get any project? I mean…” Thapki speaks in a low voice.
“Sorry to say but she will be detained back to the same year this time and next year, if she doesn’t attend the meeting, she’ll again be detained. She will not get any project at all and not even her degree,” Jatin speaks gravely.
“But Sir, she will lose a year of her life. Please don’t do this, she didn’t do it intentionally,” Thapki pleads.
“If you don’t want to lose your year, then stop advocating her and go away,” Jatin speaks in a hard tone.
Thapki nods her head and goes away worriedly.
Thapki reaches outside the room where Suman waits for her.
“Thapki, what else did Sir tell you?” she asks.
“He talked about Shraddha,” Thapki narrates everything that Jatin said about Shraddha.
“No way, how can he do that?” Suman gets worried too.
“Suman, we will think of it later, let’s talk to Shraddha first,” Thapki takes out her phone to call Shraddha but it is still unreachable.
“It is already half past five in the evening and Shraddha isn’t responding,” Thapki gets worried even more.
“But she said that she will return after dinner,” says Suman.
“But won’t she pick up our call or try to contact us once? How can she be so irresponsible and busy with her party?” Thapki gets angry.
“I think we should return to the hostel, freshen up and then try to call her again. Even you have to be out of your dirty clothes,” Suman tells her.
“You are right, we have to change these medical outfits and get into our own dresses again, let’s go.”
Thapki changes her dress and looks at the name tag, “So these dresses belong to Khanna industries? They have supplied dresses for all students?”
Suman nods, “Yes, Jatin Sir told me that though there were so many sponsors, but only Khanna industries were able to furnish the clothes in time just for today. When the projects actually start, all will get their clothes from their respective sponsors. So we may keep our dresses with us only.”
Later, Thapki and Suman fetch their books and study together in Thapki’s room. Thapki looks at the time, “It’s eight o’clock already and no news of Shraddha, her phone isn’t ringing too. Shall we call the police?”
“Police! Thapki, she said she’ll return after dinner, and she basically dines at nine. And she might be reaching here at ten. What do you think? We should wait or go to the police? You know if Shraddha returns by that time, she’ll make a chaos for calling the police,” Suman is worried too.
“Do you have her boyfriend’s number?” Thapki asks her.
“She is the closest to you, she didn’t give his number to you, how will she give me?” Suman nods her head.
After some time, Thapki’s phone rings and Shraddha’s name flashes on the screen. Thapki jumps out of her bed and receives the call, “Hello Shraddha, where are you? I have been calling since morning, hello?”
A soft voice speaks on the receiving end, “Sorry Mam, I don’t know who you are or whose phone this is, I saw some missed calls from this number in this phone, that is why I called you to confirm,”
“From where did you get the phone?” Thapki asks.
“Beside the highway road Mam,” the voice replies back.
Thapki gets shocked, “Isn’t there anybody nearby?”
“No mam, if you want, you may collect the person’s phone, I am the owner of a tea stall near the highway.”
“Thank you dada, I will reach soon.”
Thapki disconnects the call and informs Suman.
“We have to leave right now Suman, I fear Shraddha’s life is in danger.”
“Why do you think so? May be while travelling, her phone fell over there,” Suman tries to keep herself calm.
“But then what would she do on a highway at this point of the night?” Thapki takes her sling bag and both the girls leave together on Thapki’s scooty.
They reach near the highway and collect the phone from the shopkeeper, Thapki pays him some money for helping, “Thank you again dada, there have been many people who won’t return such costly things but you are an honest man. God bless you.”
“No sister, I don’t like dishonest things myself. God will punish me if I do so.” He smiles.
Thapki and Suman walk away.
“Where to find Shraddha now? She is such a jerk, sometimes I feel like slapping her for such misbehaviour. She won’t think of us how much worried we are!” Thapki tells angrily.
“The highway is devoid of any public too, where shall we search for her? And it isn’t safe to even move about alone at night, especially for girls,” Suman walks closer to Thapki.
Thapki parks her scooty near a tree, “Look, this road leads into the forest, shall we search for Shraddha there?”
“Thapki, have you gone mad? You are going to enter a forest at night? Why would Shraddha be here?”
“You never know, that idiot girl can do anything. And her mobile was also found nearby, what if she is really here. If not, we will go ahead the other way too. Let’s split up,” Thapki tells her.
“But Thapki..” Suman feels scared.
“Hey don’t feel afraid, if you feel danger, just give me a call and don’t go far okay.” saying so, Thapki picks two broken bricks from the road side and hands over one to Suman, “See, while walking into the forest, start marking every tree you cross with this brick, so you won’t get lost and we will return here.”
Thapki marks their first tree as ‘START’ where her scooty was kept.
“So we begin from here, I will go this way and you go that way okay.” Thapki instructs Suman.
“Thapki, you are black belt, you have no fear and in the middle of the night too, you can go crazy but that’s not my case. But it is the question of our best friend, I will search her,” saying so, Suman switches on her mobile torch and starts walking into the forest.
Thapki locks her scooty and starts walking the other way.
Aryan is driving his bugatti on the highway and returning home, he is enjoying a canned drink while driving. Soon, near the turning, he tries to balance driving while his drink from the can falls over him and he mistakenly turns his steering, his car hits Thapki’s scooty by the highway.
Thapki has hardly taken a few steps when she hears the thud sound. She looks around and but doesn’t find Suman, “May be she has gone deep into the forest but that was my scooty’s sound.”
Thapki runs towards the tree where her scooty is kept and finds her scooty tumbled down, “What the hell? How did it fell?”
She attempts to pick up her scooty when she notices the same Bugatti heading far away from her.
“I got it, this mysterious Mister is again here to make me fall in trouble. I won’t leave you,” saying so, Thapki starts running behind the car and screams loudly, “You again! I am not going to leave you once I hold your neck. You have troubled me enough, you don’t have that courtesy to even say a sorry.”
But the car heads away hurriedly and Thapki is unable to catch her culprit once again.
“Wait! you are trying to run away but one day I will catch you, but now I have to find my best friend but I will trouble you also tonight,” saying so, Thapki throws her piece of brick towards the rear window pane of the car and smashes it. Pieces of the glass fall on the ground but the car doesn’t stop. It goes away with Thapki fuming in anger behind.
Aryan looks at her face once again from the front mirror, “Attitude! I love this attitude. But Ms. Chaturvedi, no one can trouble the Aryan Khanna, because I am a trouble to them myself. So hate this!”
Shraddha is missing, project with Khanna industries and Thapki accepting the toughest challenge, mysterious Mister troubling her.. With new worries lurking over Thapki, how will she face them?
To be continued….
CHAPTER 5: Face to face
Silent readers do let me know if you all are reading it, and thank you to all the readers who commented. It is for them that I am uploading the ff here. Thank you guys..Next update will come on Friday.