Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. I read each and every comment but I’m really sorry that I couldn’t reply to them individually. And that’s because I was stuck up with my studies.
For those of you who missed the 13th chapter, here is the link :
When Riddhima reached the police station, she was quickly escorted by the team to the hospital for conducting the necessary tests.
Once at the hospital, the ACP said, “I’m afraid Riddhima. But you can’t see the body, because if you do, you will be scarred for your entire life. It’s that badly injured.”
Riddhima did not know how to respond to this. She wanted to escape from this world into another one, where all this fiasco would turn out to be nothing but a deadly nightmare. Only a nightmare. Blinking back tears, she saw a blurred vision of Kabir standing on the side, looking at her sympathetically. Her head started to spin and she sat down on a bench nearby to prevent herself from falling down.
After the ACP had left, Kabir knelt down before her.
“Riddhima, I really don’t know what should I even be telling you in this situation. But I’ll assure that everything will be alright soon. Trust me on that.”
Riddhima didn’t reply and instead looked away.
Kabir continued, “I know Riddhima that you don’t wish to talk to me and need your own private space right now. I’ll leave, but before that I just want to tell you that I’m always there for you. Also, from today onwards I’ll be working on your parents’ case along with ACP Lakshya, and I promise you that I’ll soon find the culprits and get them punished.”
Only a few minutes, which actually felt like hours, had passed since Kabir had left Riddhima on her own, when she saw the two people who she never wanted to meet again – Tripti and Dinesh. Tripti looked at her scornfully while Dinesh looked confused. Riddhima on the other hand decided to ignore them. One of the constables showed the duo the way to a lab.
After they had left, Riddhima decided to quiz the same constable about why her uncle and aunt had been called over there.
“We want to take their DNA samples for identifying the body,” said the constable.
“Wouldn’t my DNA samples be enough for that procedure?” she asked.
The constable looked hesitatingly around to make sure there was no one nearby. “Actually Madam, we found a partially burnt wallet near the body which had your father’s driving license. But along with that, there was also a letter that was signed by your mother and adressed to your dad.”
“A letter??” she asked surprised.
“Yes Madam, a letter. In it, your mother had clearly written about how she had committed a huge mistake many long years back, and because of that your father wasn’t ready to forgive her and thus wanted a divorce. So the ACP is having a doubt that maybe your mother had cheated upon your father, and that maybe you weren’t his biological child….”
“What nonsense are you talking about?” screamed Riddhima. “How can you even make such an insulting accusation on my mother’s chastity when she is no more? How dare that ACP!”
“Calm down Madam,” said the constable. “He’s just having a doubt. And nothing else.”
Riddhima got so furious that she didn’t even know what to do. On one side, these people had accused her father of being a cold blooded murderer, and the other side, they were accusing her mother of infidelity? Why were they maligning their noble characters like that?
Just then, the same constable informed her that the ACP wanted to meet her. She was taken to a meeting room, where she saw ACP Lakshya, Kabir and a doctor sitting around a table.
“Take a seat Riddhima,” said the ACP. “Meet Dr. Robinder, who carried out the postmortem, and Inspector Kabir, who will be working on the case alongside me.” He stopped for a moment as he caught Riddhima and Kabir looking at each other. He said, “Over to you Doctor.”
Dr. Robinder straightened up his glasses. “Riddhima, I know it is going to be difficult for you, but you have to listen carefully. On postmortem, I found that the body had severe 3rd degree burns due to which the face had become unrecognisable. We did a DNA test, but the results would take atleast 24 hours to arrive….”
“24 hours? Will I have to bear this torture for 24 hours?” thought Riddhima.
The doctor said, “But we did a blood test. According to the data, your father’s blood group was….”
“B+ve,” said Riddhima.
“Yes. And the body that the police has found has a blood group of….”
Riddhima closed her eyes and dug her nails into her hands, mentally trying to prepare herself for the worst news.
“O-ve,” said the doctor. “So this proves that the body doesn’t belong to your father.”
Riddhima couldn’t believe what she had just heard. She could feel tears of happiness flow down her cheeks. She buried her face into her hands, as new feelings of rejoice and hope replaced those of dispair.
Kabir was also so overjoyed that he almost wanted to hug Riddhima to celebrate this moment of happiness. But he knew he had to control himself, and he couldn’t possibly let the ACP or anyone else for that matter of fact, know about his relationship with her.
“Even though on the basis of different blood groups, we can say that the body is not of Sushant, but the official report can be written only after the DNA test results come. But nonetheless, I’m really happy for you,” said Dr. Robinder smiling widely. “I have some important work, so I’ll leave the three of you. But before that Riddhima, I want to give you one precious piece of advice. And that is, to never, ever lose hope. Strong hope can even move mountains. Just remember that.”
Riddhima nodded happily while the doctor left from there.
“Congratulations Riddhima,” said the ACP. “You have another good news waiting for you.”
“And what is that?” she asked.
“Your father, Sushant Sinha has been cleared of your mother, Sunidhi’s murder,” said the ACP.
“Wait, but how did your opinions about him change overnight? Weren’t you the one who was hard-accusung Papa? Did you find some other strong suspect?”
“Actually no. We don’t think anymore that your mother was murdered. We think it was a suicide,” said the ACP.
“What are you even saying?” asked a bewildered Riddhima.
“Yes, that’s right. We found this letter in the wallet. Why don’t you read it yourself?” said the ACP handing over a crumpled paper to her.
It was difficult to read as it was covered with soot, but Riddhima still managed to read it.
To my dearest Sushant,
I know, I’ve committed a grave mistake by lying to you, by betraying you. But what I did was many years back. Over these long years, I’ve done everything that a good wife does for her husband…. so doesn’t that lessen the gravity of my mistake?
I beg you, please don’t leave me Sushant, please do forgive me dear. I can’t even imagine my life without you. If you go ahead with the divorce, I’d rather kill myself.
Yours and only yours
Riddhima’s eyes became moistened on reading the letter. So the ACP was right that her Papa wanted a divorce while her Mumma did not. Mumma had done something wrong by which Papa’s faith on her had been broken. But what was that? What had exactly happened many years back?
The ACP cleared his throat bringing her back to the reality.
“So this is my theory Riddhima. Sunidhi had apparently cheated upon Sushant few years back, but he was unaware of it until recently and he decided to divorce her when he came to know about it. But she did not want that, so she threatened him with suicide and wrote him this letter. Sushant did not want Sunidhi to end her life because of the wrong impact it could have on their kids, but he also did not want to remain stuck up in the relation with her. So he decided to RUN AWAY from this entire mess. But on that same fateful day, Sunidhi made a jump from the top of that old building, thus ending her life.
As far as the body is concerned, I think it belongs to some random thief who must have stolen Sushant’s wallet which contained the license and the letter, but instead died in an accidental fire. I guess Sushant is at some unknown far-off place about which we have no idea at all, and I bet he still doesn’t know that Sunidhi is already dead.”
“Excuse me, but I DO NOT agree with this rubbish theory of yours,” said Riddhima banging the table. “How dare you point fingers at my mother’s character? Don’t you have any shame whatsoever?”
“You better mind your language, young lady,” said the ACP angrily. “That’s no way to talk to an honest and committed police officer. I’m just stating what was obvious from the letter. Don’t you recognize that it is your mother’s handwriting only?”
“Yes, I agree that it is Mumma’s handwriting only. She just wrote about some mistake she made, but we have no idea what it was about. How dare you insinuate that mistake of hers to be an act of infidelity? Moreover, I will never believe that my mother could commit suicide. She was a strong woman, and more than that she was an amazing mother. She would never do something that would destroy her own children’s lives.
If it really was a suicide, then why was her body hidden and not found for almost two weeks?”
The ACP said, “Don’t worry, I have an explanation for that as well. You remember that fateful night was a very stormy one. It could be very much possible that because of the strong whirlwinds, her lifeless body got buried underground by itself.”
“I don’t believe that. My mother will never commit suicide. And my father is not such an irresponsible man who would leave us on our own to fend for ourselves, ” said Riddhima firmly.
Kabir who had been a silent spectator to this debate, finally decided to speak up. “Sir, Riddhima could be right though. Maybe Sunidhi Sinha did not commit suicide, and it was a well planned murder. Even if the handwriting in the letter matches with that of Mrs. Sunidhi, we must be weary about forgery too. At this stage, it is important that we keep all our ideas open….”
The ACP glared at him but Kabir remained unfazed and kept on defending Riddhima’s point of view.
“Why is he supporting Riddhima so much? Is she only his father’s friend’s daughter, or something more than that?” wondered the ACP.
Back at VR mansion, everybody was in visible tension because Riddhima wasn’t back yet and she wasn’t even lifting up anybody’s calls.
Ishaan spent the entire time crying and simultaneously praying for his father to be very much alive and safe and sound, while Sia was busy consoling him.
“Vansh, you should have accompanied Riddhima to the police station,” said Gayatri. “God only knows, how she is managing all this alone. What she must be going through.”
Vansh said, “Dadi, you very well know how I am not at very good terms with the police. They are always out trying to book me under some or the other case. So obviously, I couldn’t have possibly accompanied her.”
He recalled his previous experiences with Riddhima and said, “And don’t you worry Dadi. Riddhima is a strong girl, and I’m sure she has the ability to manage everything and everyone.”
Even though Vansh here was consoling his granny, but deep inside he himself was feeling anxious. He couldn’t bear to think of something wrong happening with his mentor, Sushant Uncle. He was a good man, and therefore deserved all the goodness in the world.
On the other hand, even Anypriya had turned pale and had refused to eat anything.
Ishani observed all this and found it rather weird. “What is wrong with Mom? Why is she getting worried for Sushant Uncle, when she didn’t even know him that well?”
When Riddhima finally returned, the whole family, especially Ishaan, surrounded her and looked up at her, waiting for her to spill the news, be it good or bad.
“Don’t just stare at us like that,” said Anupriya impatiently. “Will you please tell us as to what the police exactly found?”
Riddhima took a deep breath and turned towards her brother. “Stop crying Ishaan, because that body wasn’t our Papa’s,” she said wiping the tears off his face.
A wide smile crept over Ishaan’s face. “Really?”
“Really,” said Riddhima pulling him into a tight hug.
“I had lost all my trust on God before, but now my faith on Him has been restored,” said Ishaan smiling. “Thank you so much God!”
The whole family rejoiced at this piece of good news, especially Vansh and Gayatri who finally heaved a sigh of relief.
But there was someone else who was relieved. It was Anupriya. “Thank goodness that it wasn’t Sushant who was found dead ,” she said to herself.
But it was loud enough to be heard by Ishani. “Mom, why are you getting so happy for Sushant Uncle? As far as I know, you never seemed to like the Sinha family enough, so why this sudden care for them, huh?”
Anupriya felt startled at this sudden confrontation. “Yes you are right. I never liked the Sinhas, and will never like them in the future also. But just imagine, if Sushant also dies, then his children, especially that Riddhima would get to stay at our house permanently, which I don’t want any cost to happen. I want Sushant to be found at the earliest, so that this Riddhima leaves this house as soon as possible.”
Riddhima was sitting in her room recalling her conversation with the ACP when Mrs. D’souza came in.
“Vansh Sir is calling you to his study. Right now.”
After all the happenings that took place throughout the day, all Riddhima wanted was to sit back and relax. But she didn’t want to get into another argument as she was feeling really tired, tired of everything happening around her, tired of thinking how and where her father must, tired of thinking as to who could do this with her parents.
“May I come in Mr. Raisinghania?” she asked after knocking.
“Yes, please do,” he said. “Sit down Riddhima. You look really exhausted by the way.”
“Uhm, yes,” she said sitting across him.
“So, is there any progress in your parents’ case?” he asked.
“No, nothing much,” she said. She found it uncomfortable to share such intricate and controversial details around the case.
“That is why, I never trust the police,” he said. “They are good for nothing, and I guess now you’ll be able to understand why I behaved that way when we first met one year ago.”
“Yes I do,” she said, her thoughts still running somewhere else.
Vansh realised that she wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying. He said, “Remember yesterday you had asked something from me? Today I want to ask something from you. And that is to permanently get your parents’ case closed.”
“What?” she blurted out in shock.
“Finally her attention is back towards me,” he thought to himself smirking.
“Yes Riddhima, that’s what I want you to do,” said Vansh. “You see, I don’t know if you payed enough attention, but the rule-book clearly stated that that no one living in this house should ever keep in touch with the police.”
“That rule does not make any sense!” she said irritatedly. “Moreover, I really want to find out my mother’s killer as well as my father, and I can’t just shut their case down because of one stupid rule.”
Vansh sighed. “I thought that by now you would have come to know about how the police function. They never care about anyone’s sentiments or feelings. They love to scandalize the cases by tarnishing the very reputation of the victims and their families involved.”
Riddhima looked up at him surprised.
As if understanding her look, Vansh said, “I know this because this is what the police exactly did when my mother passed away. They played with our emotions and our family’s respect. Before we knew it, the police themselves closed the case by giving a disgraceful ending to it, which I’d rather not talk about.
Unfortunately, I was very small that time and had no idea what was going on around. But now, I don’t want to have to do anything with the very people who cared nothing about my family’s respect.”
Riddhima could see pain in Vansh’s eyes when he spoke about his mother’s death and how callously the police had behaved at that time. It now made sense to her, why he always wanted to distance himself away as far as possible from the police. She could now understand his pain better, because even she was going through the same pain at the moment.
She said, “I can understand Mr. Raisinghania what you are trying to say. But I can’t let my parents’ culprits move about freely. I want them to get punished. I also need to find my Papa. How would I be able to do that without the police’s help?”
Vansh thought for a while. “I’ve a deal for you. You make sure that your parents’ case gets shut, and I’ll hire a private detective to work for you. Hows that?”
“But how can I possibly close the case?” asked Riddhima. “You do realise that it is not in my hands and that’s not how things work.”
Vansh asked, “If you don’t mind, can you narrate the entire set of incidents and the police’s follow up on that to me?”
When Riddhima hesitated, Vansh assured her. “Don’t worry. It will remain confidential between me and you. No one in the family or elsewhere will ever get to know about it.”
Riddhima finally gave into his demands, and related each and everything about the case to him.
“See, I had warned you against the police before itself,” said Vansh. “That’s a whole bunch of accusations upon your parents.”
“Yes, and I don’t know what to do,” said Riddhima dejectedly.
“Do one thing. Just agree with this present theory of that egoistic ACP. You give into his ego, and he’ll do whatever you want,” said Vansh.
“What? You want me to agree with each and every word of that narcissistic man, even when he says that my mom had an extramarital affair and committed suicide, and my dad ran away leaving his responsibilities behind? That is absolutely insane!” she remarked.
“It is upto you to decide as to what is worse – your father being touted as your mother’s murderer, or he being touted as an absolutely irresponsible parent and husband who was not there around when his wife committed suicide. As far as your mom’s being an infidel is concerned, I think that matter will also get solved when the test results show that you definitely share your DNA with your paternal aunt and uncle.”
Riddhima thought deeply for some time. She realised that to save her family’s reputation and to ensure that her parents recieve justice, she has no other option other than to trust Vansh and do as he says.
Vansh looked solemnly into her eyes and said, “Riddhima, I promise you that I will catch your mother’s killer. I will also find Sushant Uncle as well as the culprit behind his disappearance at any cost. I’ll bring those crooks in front of you, and then you will get to decide what you want to do with them – punish them yourself or hand them over to the law. That is my promise, and VR never breaks or forgets his promise.”
Precap : Riddhima requests Kabir to help to shut this police case once forever.
Vansh and Riddhima have a basketball match.
Anupriya grows insecure of the growing proximity between Vansh and Riddhima.
That is it for today. Hope you guys liked it. If you do, do not forget to comment below. I don’t know if I can update sooner, because I’ve my important exams next month. Hope you can bear with me.