Dev got married to Devika 3 years back. They were in the pink of their relations. Dev thought himself to be one the luckiest guy who is happy in arrange marriage. Devika had been an ideal housewife and a best friend to him. He could not have wished anything more with a good business in his hand and a happy family.
Every morning was new for them and so was every moment. Dev is one of the happy and easy going guys who has no hard feelings for anyone in his life. “Spread the love to get the love” was his only motto of life.
Dev had always respected the privacy of Devika. He never kept a tab on her whereabouts or where she went with her friends. Even, he never checked her cell phone, not even her social networking profiles. He expected the same from Devika and she too respected Dev’s view for a healthy relationship.
“In any relationship, one should always have their personal space and freedom which should not be smothered by another.” Dev always said that to Devika.
But today, Dev is not what he was. He was sitting calmly in his study room and the screen of his laptop was flickering but his eyes were not on it. He was looking outside the balcony where rain was pouring down heavily since noon. Dev so wished that these rains wash out every negative emotion within him.
Watching the rains have always been soothing to him whenever he was stressed but not today. Something within him was burning like hell which will not let him be at ease. Devika came in and placed the mug of green tea for Dev.
“All good honey?” Devika asked.
Dev was lost in himself so much that he even didn’t notice Devika was sitting next to him. He was gazing at the rain outside. Dev himself didn’t know how long he had not blinked his eyes. It burns like hell but the pain was sweet because whatever was burning him from within was far more beyond than this physical pain.
“Hey, you there sweetheart?” Devika kept her hand on Dev’s shoulder, which brought him back to senses.
“Hey! When did you come?” Dev blinked his eyes to relieve himself from the burning sensation. He turned to look at Devika’s smiling face. He loved her smile like anything in this world but not today. A rage of anger flushed through his veins as he saw Devika smiling.
The feeling of anger, betrayal, and cheating kept tormenting Dev’s, heart. He was best at concealing it within him and that made the tornado of these feelings grow bigger and bigger.
“You were busy in thinking something, just came before a while.” Devika replied and handed the mug of tea to him.
“I am leaving for a business meeting.” Dev took a deep breath and said.
Dev knew what meeting he was heading for. For the last ten days, he had been preparing for this meeting. He has worked on every minute details almost N number of times to make sure everything goes according to plan.
“When will you be leaving honey?” Devika asked, resting her head on Dev’s shoulder. The smell of wet soil is what Devika loved a lot. It was monsoon and Devika wanted to spend every rainy day with Dev. But for Dev, work had always been on priority. And Devika knew it since the first day of their engagement.
“I am leaving tomorrow early morning, the flight is at 5:30 a.m.” Dev replied, turning his laptop to sleep mode. Every minute details of the meeting were now in his mailbox.
“Isn’t it too early? You’ll need to reach the airport by 4 a.m.” Devika was a bit surprised. Dev has never planned his trip overnight. This was a bit odd about Dev’s working protocols.
“You should have told me today morning itself.” Devika said with a bit of disappointment and added.
“I would have helped you in packing.”
“That’s fine dear. Nothing much to pack, I’ll be back in a couple of days.” Dev said kissing her forehead. Devika’s lips curved into a smile and she closed her eyes as she wrapped her hand around his arm. Dev’s response was still very cold. Devika looked at him and asked.
“Where is your meeting scheduled?” She started piling up the papers and books which were lying scattered in the room.
“It’s just a meeting for the new venture of business I had been planning. Pray that it works out the way I want.” Dev ignored her question and took a sip of his green tea. He walked to stand at the glass of French window and kept staring the rain. He appeared to be at ease but his mind was not.
“Don’t worry honey, everything will be fine. I am sure your new venture will rock. I will pray for it.” Devika hugged him. He didn’t respond. It was strange for Devika but then she thought that maybe, Dev is tensed about his meeting and his mind is too much worked up for that.
Dev’s cell phone buzzed. He turned back and walked to his desk to check the confirmation text for the hotel reservation. Dev was traveling from Ahmedabad to Delhi officially.
It was a simple plan, Dev will be (not in) Delhi the next morning at 7 a.m., and will check in the hotel. Meetings were lined up from morning 11 onwards till late night, maybe, overnight. If things work out he will be back to Ahmedabad by next day late night.
“Honey, I will finish the cooking and other work.” Something struck Devika and she left the study room hurriedly for the kitchen where her cell phone was lying.
She immediately deleted a few pics from her iPhone, realizing that her iPhone was synced with Dev’s MacBook. She prayed quietly that auto back up was not yet taken on Dev’s MacBook. It was Dev’s Apple ID that Devika was using on her iPhone. She breathed a sigh of relief once she deleted the pics.
Dev was standing at the corner of the kitchen, hiding behind the curtain and saw Devika deleting pics from her phone. His face was distorted with rage. He quietly walked back to the study room without letting Devika notice his presence.
Dev went through his plan one more time to check that there is no loophole in it. He finally packed his laptop and walked to his bedroom to pack his bag. Half an hour later both husband and wife were having their dinner together with their loving daughter, Diya. Devika tried to initiate the talk but Dev’s cold response bothered her a lot. She kept praying for her nightmare to not come true, ever.
As per routine, Dev went for a small walk and smoke after dinner. Devika was on her bed, cradling her daughter. Her mind could not stop thinking about what’s wrong with Dev. Is it the work that he is too stressed or…?
“Did Dev see the pics or what’s app chat back up? Did he come to know about her relationship with Pranav?” Devika was jolted with her thoughts. She sat all straight on the bed. Diya was now sleeping peacefully in the cradle.
Pranav was Devika’s classmate. They were just good friends since school time. The bonding between them increased after the school reunion she attended two years back. Late night chats and daily calls ended up with physical intimacy. Devika didn’t feel the guilt about it. She blamed Dev for the loneliness she felt and his workaholic nature for all this.
Devika got a chance to go and meet Pranav twice, in the hotel and have her time with him. Sharing of nude pics and video calls till they get their ORGASM had become routine for her. Whenever Dev was busy in his work for the late night in the study room, Devika will be on the video call with Pranav. By the time Dev returns to bedroom Devika will be fast asleep. Dev always cursed himself for not able to give her time. But Dev wanted to build his empire where Devika will be his Queen
Devika texted Pranav and shared what she was feeling.
“Relax darling, you are just overthinking. He is an asshole, will never ever come to know anything about us.” Pranav said in a very light mood and waved off Devika’s concern.
“Let’s hope so that I am overthinking.” Devika replied with a heavy sigh.
“Ya, and now let me make a video call. I need my baby right now.” Pranav said to get his daily dose.
“No, don’t call. Dev might come back early today and he is for sure not busy with his work today.” Devika resisted Pranav’s request.
“But baby I want you right now…” Pranav insisted.
“Try to understand, I can’t, at least, today.” Devika’s eyes were fixed in the hall to see if Dev was back or not.
“At least send me your video, kind of striptease will do sweetheart.” Pranav said trying hard to get his regular dose.
“Okay, give me a few mins. Will send you in while.” Devika said bolting the door of the bedroom.
“Yup, but don’t keep me waiting for long honey.” Pranav said and ended the chat. Devika set her iPhone and started doing few naughty moves to record the video for Pranav.
What Devika was unaware of was that Dev had already returned back from his walk and was quietly sitting in his study room. He had already logged on to his iCloud. The moment video got uploaded from Devika’s cell, it appeared in the MacBook of dev. He went through the video and was filled with anger to the rim but he put a latch on his sentiments. Dev could not believe that she is cheating on him without any feeling of guilt.
“What went wrong on my part, Damn it.” Dev banged his clenched fist on the table. Lighting his cigarette, he walked out to the small garden in his compound. It is the rarest moment when Dev will be smoking in the house. He stayed in the garden for a while till Devika slept. He didn’t want her to get any hint of what he is going through.
It was the dark night for Dev, his mind was already worked up for tomorrow and now the video of Devika made him feel just like HELL. Dev sat in an easy chair and kept smoking in the garden.
Devika couldn’t sleep tonight, the unknown fear kept sending chills down her spine. She waited for Dev to return. Finally, Devika walked out of the bedroom and checked in the study room but Dev was not there. She walked out to the garden.
“Honey! You fine?” Devika asked. And then an unknown fear struck her heart.
“What if Dev has seen that video she recently shared with Pranav?” Devika has not yet deleted the video, she held her cell phone tightly.
“Ya, I am fine. Just kind of this anxiety is not letting me sleep. You go and sleep dear, I will come after some time. Need some time for myself.” Dev stabbed the butt of cigarette and replied.
“You sure you will be back in a few mins dear?” Devika asked to make sure how much time she has before Dev steps into the bedroom.
“Ya darling, I will.” Dev replied lighting another cigarette. Devika placed a small peck on Dev’s temple and walked back to the room. On any other day, Dev would have loved this gesture of her and made her sit on his lap but not today.
Dev finished his cigarette after ten mins and walked into the bedroom. The night lamp was on and Devika was sleeping. He stood at the door and kept staring the sleeping beauty, his eyes red with anger. He felt like to smother her.
He walked immediately back to the study room and opened his closet where he had kept his important documents locked and slowly pulled out the BERETTA M9. Dev had been carrying this gun for last 2 years but no one ever knew it. He applied for the license but was rejected and so he bought it illegally from the arms dealer. No one ever knew that Dev possessed ILLEGAL WEAPON with him, not even Devika.
He checked the magazine and pushed it back in. He then coked the gun and turned off the safety lock. He walked to his bedroom. His eyes were bloodshot with anger. Feeling of being betrayed by the one whom he trusted more than his life was running through his veins.
Dev stood at the door of the room pointing his gun at Devika. He wanted to end this forever. Memories of time spent with Devika started floating in front of his eyes, making his eyes wet. Dev took a deep breath and holding it, he pulled the hammer of the gun back, his finger started trembling. He tried hard to pull the trigger and……………. He couldn’t…
Dev walked back to the study room and kept the gun on the table. His heart was throbbing like anything. He walked into the bathroom and splashed some water on his face. He looked up in the mirror, his eyes were red and water kept dripping from his eyelashes. He kept staring the animal inside him who was unleashed now. He walked out of the bathroom and wiping his face, and sat in the chair.
“Once and for all.” Dev sighed and took the gun in his hand and kept the barrel in his mouth. His hands tightly gripped the gun. His thumb ready to push the trigger when his eyes fell on the pic of his daughter.
Diya was his two-year-old daughter who was sleeping peacefully in her cradle in his bedroom. She was everything for Dev. At a times, Dev skipped his routine work just to spend some time with Diya. It was always fun when Dev was with Diya.
Dev eased his thumb and grip on the gun and kept it back on the table. Slowly releasing the hammer, he turned the safety lock on and kept it in his bag. Dev packed his bag with other requirements and walked back to his bedroom. He saw Diya and smiled.
“Dad will take care of everything dear.” He kissed the forehead of sleeping Diya and turned off the lights.
That night Dev stayed on the bed with eyes open, trying to see through the darkness. Time kept ticking in his mind. He could grab sleep for half an hour when his alarm buzzed. He quickly turned it off and checked time, it was 2 a.m. Dev walked to the bathroom and had a quick shower. Devika was still asleep when Dev came out of a bathroom. He quietly got ready and was about to walk out of the room when Diya started crying. Dev immediately lifted her up and cuddled her so that she sleeps back again. Devika too woke up and walked out of bedroom once Diya was back to sleep.
“Take care dear. And buzz me once you reach safely.” Devika said passing his wallet to Dev. A lopsided smile hung on his face
“Come back soon honey. I will be missing you a lot.” Devika said as she hugged Dev. He tried to give a warm response but could not.
“Ya, I’ll text you. Take care of Diya.” Dev drove in his sedan out of the parking and checked the time. It was 3 a.m.
Dev hit the road soon and pressed turned to the highway in the direction opposite to airport. Certainly, Dev was not going to the airport. He turned his cell off and hit the national highway.
Dev was driving to all the way to Mumbai in his car. No one accompanied him. In fact, Dev never gave hint to anyone that he is going Mumbai by car. Even no one knows that he is going out of a station. He didn’t stop for a break; he didn’t need any till he is done with what he has set out for.
Dev reached Mumbai in 8 hours and checked in the hotel. After getting freshened up, Dev logged into his MacBook and hacked the hotel server in which he was staying. He went through the list of guest and their check-in times. He got what he was searching for.
Dev stayed in the room for some time and then walked down to the restaurant of the hotel. From the restaurant, he can get a clear view of every guest entering the hotel. He ordered his Jack with a platter of salted nuts.
A handsome looking guy in his thirties checked in. Dev didn’t let his stare go off from the guy, he was PRANAV. Dev finished his Jack and walked back silently to his room. He ordered his lunch in the room itself. Pranav was in the very next room of Dev. Dev picked up his laptop and walked out of the hotel in the afternoon. He went to the roadside cafe just opposite to his hotel. He parked his car there and ordered a coffee for him. He sat outside the cafe in the smoking area and was now looking at the footages of the CCTV of the hotel. He kept focused on one camera which captured the footage of the lobby where his room was. With few clicks on his Mac, the feed of CCTV was now live on his screen.
It was around 6 p.m. when Pranav stepped out of his room. Pranav was dealing in metal business and had come to Mumbai to meet some of his clients. Dev immediately switched on to view the reception area CCTV. He saw Pranav coming down to the reception area. Dev immediately logged off his laptop and paid coffee bills. He sat in his car with the engine running. He saw Pranav taking a cab. Dev started following him keeping low tail.
Pranav reached to his client’s office after a ride of 30 mins. Dev parked his car opposite to the building in which Pranav walked in. He kept smoking and waited for Pranav.
Dev pulled out his gun unlocked it and tucked it behind so that it was not visible. After another 4 hours of wait, Pranav walked out happily from the building. Dev immediately took a U-turn and brought his car to a halt exactly near Pranav, who was waiting for the taxi.
“Excuse me, is this the correct way to Sea Princess Hotel?” Dev asked rolling down the window.
“Yes, it is a correct route. Are you going to the Sea Princess Hotel?” Pranav bend bit to answer Dev. Pranav identified Dev. His heart skipped a beat. He recognized Dev from the pics uploaded by Devika on her Facebook account.
“Ya, I am going to that hotel only.” Dev paused for Pranav to respond.
“Would you mind if I join you? I am also in the same hotel.” Pranav said flashing his hotel card key so that Dev can believe him.
“Great, step in.” Dev said enthusiastically and opened the door for him. Dev hit the gas and they both started for the hotel.
“So you are from Ahmedabad?” Pranav asked as he buckled the seat belt.
“Ya, but how do you know it?” Dev asked quizzically, this was not the expected beginning of the conversation.
“Your car’s number plate friend.” Pranav smiled, boosting his smartness.
“By the way, I am Pranav, from Ahmedabad.” Pranav extended his hand.
“I am Dev.” Dev shook hand with Pranav, keeping his eyes on the road. Pranav lighting his cigarette and rolled down the window glass.
“Did you come all the way from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in your car?” Pranav asked, exhaling the smoke of his puff.
“Ya, it was all of sudden and plus I had to visit another side of the city so thought car will be a better option.” Dev replied in a very light and friendly tone and further asked.
“When you’ll be leaving for Ahmedabad?” Dev too lit his cigarette.
“My flight is scheduled on tomorrow, noon. Could not get an early flight, so had to settle for noon one.” Pranav replied taking another long drag of his smoke.
“Why don’t you join me in the car? I am also leaving tonight. You can cancel your flight. It would be fun.” Dev wants his plan to work anyhow and this was the U-turn of it.
“Really? I mean, is it ok for you if I join you?” Pranav was surprised by Dev’s offer.
“Of course it’s ok.” Dev exclaimed with a wider grin. His plan was working after all.
“Fine then let’s check out from the hotel. My cell is drained need to charge it.” Pranav said checking his cell phone battery which was dead.
“No worries, we can charge it in my car. We’ll have dinner on the way.” Dev replied. The adrenaline rush was keeping his heart to beat at a higher pace.
“Cool, let’s check out from the hotel and get our bags and then we can drive back home.” Pranav readily agreed to join Dev.
They parked the car outside the hotel. Dev let Pranav walk in first and finish the formalities. Dev kept his gun under the driving seat and walked in. Both were back in the car after half an hour. It was 12 a.m. when they checked out of the hotel. Dev lit his cigarette and took a long nervous drag.
“So what brings you to Mumbai?” Pranav asked lighting his cigarette once they had started from the hotel. Dev bend bit to get hold of his unlocked gun with the right hand and keeping the left hand on steering wheel. Pranav didn’t notice it.
“So what brings you to Mumbai friend?” Pranav asked again to Dev as he had not replied him.
Dev brought the car to screeching halt on side of the road. They were almost on a dark road with no passer-by.
“You…” Dev said pointing his BERETTA M9 at Pranav, his eyes flushed with the anger.
“It’s you bloody ASSHOLE who brought me to Mumbai.” Pranav was stunned by Dev’s sudden action. And before Pranav could react, Dev fired the shot. Pranav’s eyes wide opened but his heart and brain working no more.
Dev picked half done cigarette from Pranav’s fingers and threw it out. He took last long drag of his cigarette and tossed it out and rolled the windows up. Taking U-turn, Dev drove directly to the Vasant Vihar. It was dark night as Pranav’s lifeless body laid on the seat, buckled by a seat belt.
Abhimanyu, a friend of Dev was waiting for him. Abhimanyu and Dev were best buddies since school times. They hardly got time to hang out since they both had settled in their life, but had always been there for each other in tough times. No questions to be asked and so with no answers to follow. This was the blindly trusted friendship of Dev and Abhimanyu.
Dev reached Abhimanyu’s factory where he was standing outside all alone. Abhimanyu has given a day off to workers and security guard as per Dev’s instructions. Dev parked the car in the backyard of the factory. Abhimanyu opened the gate so that car can be brought in. It was a metal casting factory, where tons of iron was melted in the furnace and moulded into pipes.
“Is the furnace on?” Dev asked as he stepped out of the car.
“Yes, I have kept it on and the iron is almost in the molten state in it?” Abhimanyu replied.
“Help me to toss this body in it.” Dev said pointing to Pranav’s body. Abhimanyu was stunned to see the dead body. He could not control his urge to ask what was all this, but he didn’t.
Finally, they both tossed the body of Pranav in the furnace. Dev kept watching Pranav’s body melting in it. He then brought Pranav’s luggage and cell phone which was still switched off from the car and tossed it too in the furnace.
Abhimanyu could see the rage of revenge in Dev’s eyes. Both walked out once Dev saw last traces of Pranav melting in the furnace. Abhimanyu gave the bottle of vodka to Dev which he used to clean the traces of blood in his car. After half an hour, they both hugged each other and Dev stepped into the car.
“Take care bro. Call me if you need any help.” Abhimanyu said as Dev started the engine.
“Thanks for everything bro.” Dev smiled and turned the car outside the factory compound.
In no time Dev was back on the highway. All he could see is, his daughter Diya smiling in front of him. It made Dev smile too. Dev reached home by noon and parked his car. Devika was waiting for him as his cell was not reachable.
“Sorry honey. Cell went dead when I stepped out of the flight. Need to buy a new one.” Dev smiled and said, knowing Devika will ask first about this.
“It’s ok dear. I was kind of worried. How was your meeting honey?” Devika asked giving a tight hug to him.
“Ah! It didn’t work out but for good. The company was fake. If I would have dealt with them then I would have made a terrible loss.” Dev said kissing her forehead.
“It’s ok honey. Maybe, some other opportunity would be waiting for you.” Devika replied to consolidate Dev.
“Yup. I need a shower and sound sleep now. Don’t know when I slept peacefully last.” Dev smiled and walked to the shower.
Two days later the local newspaper came up with the news.
“Aspiring Young Businessman went missing in Mumbai.’ Police have booked the case for missing. Hopes are thin as no calls for ransom has been received by the family.” Dev smiled, sitting in his study room as he read the news.