The Masquerade

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


Ira Kapoor touches Kolkata and has a guest to receive. The guest has a story and he wants to make a film. Ira Kapoor is roped in to play the lead. Several twists and turns are encountered in the
journey.

Submitted: March 20, 2018

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Submitted: March 20, 2018

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Prologue

 

She was shivering with fear andcould hardly walk. She knocked the door with all her strength.

Her mother opened the door. She collapsed in her mother’s arms.

“What happened?” Her mother screamed. She looked outside, nobody else was there. The place is a bit remote anyway.

“You are supposed to go to the recitation class and sir was supposed to take an hour extra…”

The little girl looked at her mother. Tears rolled down her face. She grimaced due to the pain. He was someone with very powerful wrists.There are stains of blood clots on her body.

Her mother cringed. She had then come to know what happened in the‘extra-class’.

She embraced her daughter with all the strength she had.

“You will not go to sir’s place from now onwards….” She wished her husband were alive, she realized how meek she was once she visualized what the police and court would do to this case. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Her daughter has fallen asleep.

She looked through the window. There was strong breeze and it seemed that a storm is on the cards.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

As soon as Ira opened the door, a pungent smell hit her nose. An ordinary looking man is standing at the door. He had made an appointment before Ira touched Kolkata.

Ira Kapoor doesn’t need any introduction. Born in Kolkata, she made a name for her in the southern movie industry. She is back in her hometown for an advertisement shoot. She is known for her unconventional beauty and excellent acting prowess. The one in twenties who can give a hard time to the veterans.

“Yes?” Ira asks.

“I am Soumik Bose…”

“Oh yes! Please come in.”

“Please sit down.”

Soumik sits on the sofa. His attire is extremelyordinary, and it seems like he isn’t well paid. He has a beard; there are dark circles around his eyes. He is carrying a file. He is mid-thirties.

Soumik’s eyes gleam. “I have a story. Itis about the life of a woman and…you should read the gist first.”Soumik gives her the file. “The gist is on the second page.” He adds.

 

“Well, it’s fantastic but the character demands a good physique and…” Ira sounds skeptical after reading it.

“I wrote the character with you in mind. I always thought that you will be the best option for this. Bengal needs a superhero flick.The Bengali industry needs a superstar like you and….”Soumik says with a lot of conviction.

“A superwoman!” Ira giggles.

“Why not? The woman under a mask.”

“I need a year to train myself for everything and on top of it I should read the script first.”

“We can have script reading sessions.”Soumik sounds excited.

“See, I am not a professional, I know nobody in this movie industry. I have stories worth making movies. I came to you since I have heard that you are down to earth, and I need some money as well; I lost my job recently and…”Soumik adds.

“I can understand.”

“Then, I request you to give it a thought and…” Soumik is fumbling.

“I’ll talk to the people I know here, I might begin working on the script as soon as I complete the advertisement shoot. A lot of paper work needs to be done.” Ira is always confident about choosing scripts.

“I’ll be waiting for your call, thank you so much.”

“I’ll finalize once I read the script properly.”

“I need money Ira.”

“I can understand, I’ll let you know soon. I have other appointments now…”

“Yeah, I know, I must be off, so happy to see you.” Soumik’s eyes gleam.

“Same here.” Ira smiles.Soumik leaves, keeps the file on the center table.

 

Ira goes near the window. This house is so old. She keeps coming here. Kolkata hasn’t changed. The by-lane is clearly visible, she is not a celebrity here. She is just a little girl.

“The masked woman!” Ira says inwardly.“It’s time I started working on it.”

Her phone rings, Priyanka, her Kolkata based secretary has something to say.

 

 

**

It’s a dilapidated dark room totally filled with a pungent smell of anointment.Soumik is having a yet another sleepless night. He is snorting the vapor of the ointment, the only thing he must live for, no,correction, there’s an addition, Ira Kapoor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

“So, Neeraj Dubey!Totally out of sight and out of mind?” Sneha asks as Neeraj twirls her hair round his fingers.

“I was busy with my new project, sweetheart. I have an ad shoot next, the paper work and endorsements and all are to be done by Ira Kapoor and we will get going at the end of March.”

“So, the next month you’re going to be busy once again.”

“Yeah, but never busy for you.”

“You are the worst liar I have ever seen.”

“…and you are the cutest one I have ever met.” Neeraj looks at Sneha lovingly. “What happened? No reaction.”

“I am going to miss you.” Sneha says.

“We are going to talk every night. Don’t call me during working hours. The work of a producer is hectic you know.”

“So, have you thought about it?” Sneha asks curiously.

“About what?”Neeraj doesn’t have a clue.

“About marriage?”

“Not yet, but I will. I hardly get time; you know how busy I am shooting the ads. I hope I get a movie someday.”

“You still aren’t serious about our relationship.” Sneha is disgusted.

“I am not ready yet, I am still building up my career you know that. You are my longtime girlfriend and obviously I see my future with you, don’t be so insecure or reckless.”

“I am not being reckless…It’s just that…” Sneha gives him a tight hug. Neeraj is taken by surprise.

“I’ll be back, I am not even leaving the city, it’s in Kolkata itself and just a few ad shoots and I’ll be with you.”

“Have you met Ira before?”

“No, she is approached by the director and she endorses the brand as well.”

“She happens to be very arrogant.” Sneha comments.

“How do you know?” Neeraj laughs.

“She is a southern superstar and such a beauty cannot have humility.”

“No idea, I’ll get to know her only after meeting her, on top of it, it takes more than a lifetime to know someone. I should leave; I have to wake up early tomorrow.”

“Bye-bye.” Sneha bids adieu.

 

 

Neeraj loves it when there’s a gentle breeze. It’s the prime area of South Kolkata, it’s almost 10 at night and only a few pedestrians can be seen. The dimly lit street lights and the gentle wind are caressing every part of Neeraj’s body.

“Marquis Street.” Says Neeraj to his driver as he gets into his car.

Several thoughts make their way into Neeraj’s mind as his car speeds up through the by-lanes of the dimly, tired yet energetic city. ‘Today is the day.’ Neeraj says inwardly.

Marquis Street seemed near as the roads are almost empty. Neeraj reaches the destination much quickly.

He knocks the door.

The one who opens the door can be considered as the yardstick of beauty, someone who has swept everyone’s feet in the Southern Industry, Ira Kapoor.

Neeraj hugs her. “I missed you so much. We are meeting after one long year.”

“Who says long distance relationships don’t last?” Ira winks.

“…And that too with a diva huh?” Neeraj jokes.

“I love you! I love you!” Ira smiles.

“Okay, let me in quickly.” Neeraj hurries.

“I’ll ask Priyanka not to come tomorrow, we are going the whole day together.” Ira says delightfully.

“Priyanka, who?”

“My secretary.”

“I thought Rajanya was you secretary.” Neeraj sounds skeptical.

“She manages things down south. Priyanka takes care of my endorsements in the Bengali industry.”

“Oh, I see.”
 

Neeraj’s phone rings; a text message, it says- ‘Work in progress.’

Chapter 3

 

She could not sleep the whole night. Her little girl was so traumatized that she had to soothe her. Her little girl was lying on the bed. She at last went to sleep and her mother didn’t stop crying. She was meek in front of the misdeed that happened. She visualized what would happen if she had handed the matter over to the police. Things would become messy and that man might have got away with it. She had nobody in the city and the only thing she could do was leave the place forever. She looked at her daughter. She started crying once again.

 

**

 

“Tea!!” Neeraj breaks into Ira’s bedroom.

He thought that Ira would be sleeping but she is sweating. She has been doing yoga right after waking up.

“Well, I forgot to tell you last night. There’s good news for you.” Ira speaks up.

“What?”

Ira gives him a brief of her interaction with Soumik Bose.

“So, you want me to produce the film?” Neeraj is surprised and amazed.

“I can’t think of another name, on top of that you are yet to produce a full-fledged film, this can be that project you are longing for.”

“Of course! A superhero flick can be a good break for our house.”

“Exactly.”

“So, who is this Soumik Bose?” Neeraj asks.

“I don’t know; he is a struggler. I must say, he is a man with some substance, his story can be a path breaking success if made properly.”

“We have to rope in a director then.” Neeraj sounds excited.

“You must read the story first.”

“No need, your approval is enough. But I want to meet this man first. I am so excited for your debut in our industry.”

Ira smiles at him. He smiles back.

**

 

Ira calls up Priyanka. “Make an appointment with Soumik on 9th April, yup.”

“Great! Let’s have a session then.” Neeraj sounds excited. “We will get going after this ad shoot.”

“I have a task cut out baby.”

“You are on it. I can see that you have started working on the character.” Neeraj states.

Ira winks.

**

 

Sneha wakes up. She mostly remains sad these days. This is not supposed to be. She never thought that this would occur. She is eaten up by loneliness. She read somewhere that if one’s heart is in one’s control then it can be one’s best friend whereas if it goes out of control, it can eat one up, it can be the worst enemy one can ever face.

“This cannot be shared with anyone; I have to do what I am supposed to. The only way to get away with this is….” Tears roll down her cheeks.

 

Sneha has a good ability of distracting herself whenever she is down. She diverts her thoughts to the day when she met Neeraj at a party and she was totally swayed by his charm. With time they became close and they have had some great moments so far. She has adjusted well with his showbiz connect. There are times when Neeraj is totally out of her sight and she misses her but she knows that he is busy.She knows how dedicated he is and how he aspires to produce a full-fledged film.

Today is a little exception; all these thoughts are overshadowed by the one that is bugging her today. She breaks into tears.

 

**

 

“Hello!”Soumik takes the call. It’s Priyanka, Ira’s secretary.

The conversation takes Soumik closer to his dream.

 

**

 

There are times when Ira becomes a baby. Amidst fake smiles and artificial love, she tries to catch up some time for herself. It’s the toughest thing to do for a celebrity. Whenever she comes home in Kolkata, she catches up with herself. She mastered clay art for a role a year ago and now she has ordered for some modeling clay to make clay models.Now that Neeraj has gone to office she has got ample amount of time. She is making three figures, the mother, the father and their little daughter.They are holding hands and having happy faces. There is some more clay and she is going to buy more. She has made the drawing room totally messy just the way a little child does.

She looks at the happy faces. All she needs a clay base to make the figures stand.

‘Us…It never turned out to be the reality.’ She says inwardly.

 

 

 

“Are you sure about your plans ma’am?” Priyanka calls up Ira about the upcoming schedule.

“Yeah, it will take a lot of hard work and I’ll manage. I want you to come to my place so that we can discuss over coffee.”

“Sure ma’am.”

“Keep up the good work sweetheart. You are doing pretty well.”

“Thank you.”

They hang up.

Ira gets back to her childhood.

 

 

 

 

“***** anti-dandruff shampoo, the secret of super-soft hair.” Ira’s aura is ravishing.

“Cut, ma’am, please be a little more relaxed.” The director says.

“Okay, even I want a retake.” Ira seems to be a bit absent-minded.

 

After severalretakes, the shot is finally Okayed.

 

“Are you okay?” Neeraj asks Ira.

“Yeah I am fine. Why?”

“Nothing, you don’t seem so.”

“Maybe I am little tired.”

“You have been working hard for your physique and I can already see the change. A lady almost 6 ft and this figure can surely destroy a few hearts.” Neeraj and Ira get into the car.

“What about you?” Ira winks.

“Already destroyed babe.” Neeraj asks his driver to head to Marquis Street.

“What are we doing this evening?”

“Umm…let’s go for a candle light dinner.”

“I am in as always.”

 

 

 

 

“Ira Kapoor, would you like to be Ira Dubey, my better half?”

The deafening silence says a lot about the two. It’s the city’s one of the best restaurants with the grandiose worth experiencing.

Neeraj is on his knees and Ira is sitting on the chair, totally astonished. There’s a diamond ring in Neeraj’s hand and Ira is mesmerized. It’s from one of the biggest brands and Ira can’t stop blushing.

Neeraj had everything planned once Ira confirmed that they were going to go for dinner. It’s a separate dining space away from common affairs of the restaurants.

“I…I…yeah I want to…” Ira is fumbling. The room is very dimly lit with the candles and Ira’s face looks prettier than ever. Her gown, her messy hair and smoky eyes speak volumes about beauty. Neeraj, with his blazer on and perfectly decked up attire makes him superbly handsome. Everything looks picture perfect.

“I know; it’s pretty hard on you.” Neeraj laughs. “But I really mean it.”

“Neeraj…It’s extremely sweet of you, you are the best thing ever happened to me. Yes, I will. I want to make you my life partner.”

“These lines are so bland. You are so unromantic.” Neeraj stares.

“I know, but I don’t have words…I didn’t see this coming.”

 

 

After a memorable dinner date, the couple gets into the Neeraj’s car.

They can’t stop staring at each other. Finally, his lips sink in hers.

 

 

Someone from somewhere looks at them through the car window as the car speeds past him. He was hiding somewhere in the dark and keeping a check at their movements. He departs from the place with tons of anger, leaving behind a pungent smell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

As soon as he enters the room he creates a scene. Ira’s drawing room is filled with water and clay. It’s the month of April and Neeraj has come to meet Ira.

“What’s all this?” Neeraj is cleaning his shirt as falls on the clay base she created. There’s water on the floor and he was a bit careless.

“Are you hurt?” Ira hurries towards Neeraj who just flew down from Mumbai on a two-day business trip. He sometimes stays at night in Ira’s apartment.

“No, I am okay, just give me a towel, I need to go to the washroom.”

“Yeah, be ready, today is the day.”

“What?”

“Soumik Bose is going to come.” Ira calls up Priyanka to get things confirmed.

Neeraj hurries to the washroom as Ira looks on, totally sad; her clay model must be rebuilt from the scratch.

 

 

 

 

 

She walks like the cat and moves like the cheetah. It’s very dark outside and people are afraid to go out.The whole world is under the blanket of dense clouds.She climbs the high rise building and jumps into the room. The glass is shattered. The man was sleeping, and he is astonished by the sudden happenings.

“Where is it?” she gets him by the collar and asks.

The man is squealing like a mouse.

“Where is it?” She asks once again with a tone of irritation.

“What?”

“The photos.” She tightens her grip.

He shows the next room.

She is blitzkrieg in her actions and gets what she wants. He looks on totally horrified.She makes the jump from the window and comes down with the rope.

 

 

“This has to be the opening scene.”Soumik is sitting on the sofa. The messy drawing room has been cleaned by Ira herself. Ira had already read the story but Soumik’s way of narrating makes you listen to it once more. Neeraj, who was initially unimpressed by Soumik’s shabby looks, is now convinced that the film if made canmake a mark in the industry.

 

“We can rope in a scriptwriter and a director.” Neeraj sounds excited.

Soumik’s eyes gleam. “That’s totally up to you sir.”

“Don’t call me sir; I am atleast ten years younger than you.”

“You must have started working on the character, given the range of characters you have played so far.” Soumik stares at Ira.

“I am on it.” Ira gives a confident reply.

“We can have many more sessions like this. It’s great fun.”Soumik states.

“Yeah, why not? It’s great meeting you sir. A talent like you should come up.”

“Thank you, sir, oops, Neeraj. Let me know if there’s any progress.”

 

 

**

 

He knew that if he got caught, things would be worse than hell. He could not control himself even if she was just a little girl.He shouldescape the place and take shelter somewhere else.The crime was heinous, and he realized it only after committing it. He never had control over his mind and he needed a plan to avert any danger. It was midnight, the most suitable time to escape.He wasted no time, locked the door and escaped. A bag containing his essentials was the only companion in the journey to a yet unknown destination.

 

**

“Almost there.”

That dilapidated room filled with pungency of the ointment. The ceiling fan is the noisiest thing one can come across. It’s moving like it’s never interested in doing its job.Soumik is in a reverie, that orgasm he feels when he is around Ira.

“I am almost there, just a few more days.”Soumik says to himself.

 

**

 

“Are we meeting anytime soon?” Sneha is astonished by Neeraj’s sudden appearance.

“Actually no. I’ll be busy with bigger projects. Ira Kapoor has finalized her film with me.”

“How is she?” Sneha seems curious.

“She is fun to work with, extremely professional and chilled out.”

“Is she arrogant?” Sneha holds his hands and makes him sit on the bed.

“No, we haven’t interacted that much.”

“Do you miss me?”

“Of course, that’s why I came to meet you.”

“I am so happy and surprised. I thought you had forgotten the date.”

“I can never forget what happened two years back.”

“What happened?” Sneha winks.

“I have an idea.” Neeraj sounds excited.

“What?”

“Let’s recreate the day, the day we first met and….”

Sneha doesn’t let him finish his words, she hugs her tight. She is teary-eyed, Neeraj doesn’t seem to notice that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

The room is filled with people. It’s the main hall where the employees work.

“Where is the money?” He asks the man.

“I don’t know.”The man replies.

“You stole it you liar.” He shouts.

“I did not steal it. Where is the evidence?”

“I can turn everyone against you. There are witnesses, there’s CCTV footage, and what else do you need?” He shouts.

“Even I know what you do after office. I will tell it to everyone.” The man tries to defend himself.

“This much audacity! How dare you shout at your boss? You are fired from the office.” He stomps his right foot on the floor.

 

Soumik’s dream is interrupted by the sudden thug at the door. Six months have gone by and they have sat for regular sessions and things are on the verge of getting finalized. Soumik hasn’t got any money yet and needs it big time. All the money he had went wasted for drugs and now he is nothing more than a beggar. Even the electricity is cut off. It’s midnight and Soumik’s recurrent dream suggests that he hasn’t got over the day he got fired.

Someone’s knocking at the door and he knows who he is. He opens the door to let the person in. The person’s face cannot be recognized but his silhouette is very much known to Soumik.

There’s a third person these two are totally unaware of. That person is eavesdropping and observing everything from a hidden place.

 

“What for did you call me?” The person asks.

“You know the reason.”

“Elaborate please.”

“I need money.”

“That was not in the deal. Was it?” The person asks.

“No, it wasn’t, but a man has got to eat.”

“You are wasting money for drugs, I can’t help it.”

“That’s my personal issue.” Soumik defends himself.

“I got you what you wanted, right?” The person’s authority in his tone is noteworthy.

The third person is still somewhere, totally unnoticed.

“How much do you want?”

“50,000 in cash.”

“In your dreams.” The person takes out a revolver.

 

 

 

 

The next morning becomes a shocker. Ira wakes up to the news of Soumik Bose’s murder.Neeraj called up to give her the news.

“According to the police, it happened in the midnight. Someone has stabbed him at the back. The paper guy discovered.” Neeraj says.

“What?” Ira is trembling in shock.

“Yeah. I should come over. You must not stay alone.”

“No, I can manage; you got to go to the office.” Ira resists.

“No, I must come over to your place. The police are investigating; they might soon come to us.”

 

 

**

 

 

“Search the whole room.” commands police inspector Roy. He looks at the whole room. This short and bald guy has seen many cases like this. A dilapidated North Kolkata house and it’s just one storied. The walls are worn out and the ceiling is damped.‘Wander what he did for a living.’ thinks Roy. There’s an almirah and is half-empty. There’s a desk and a few bottles of ointment are found, a packet containing cocaine is also found and is now the interest of the forensics.

The dagger was deeply rooted inside Soumik’s body. He was lying down on the floor and parts of his body were wet and the floor was also wet with blood.“It seems like the murder happened not too long ago.” Deduces Roy.

“Take out the dagger and look for fingerprints. The mobile should also be examined, the call log is very important. Check for the messages and all.” Roy commands his subordinates. The place was full of people until Roy shooed them away. He interrogated the paper boy and got no lead excepting the fact that the door was open. It suggests that the murderer was known to Soumik.

“What the….” Something strikes Roy’s sharp eyes. He was closely looking at the body and he has found an important lead.

“Take this in a packet.” He gives it to the constable.

 

 

Roy’s subordinates come after an hour.

“Sir, he had been in contact with a particular person regularly. The call list is flooded with that number and there are messages as well.” The man shows a message to Roy. It says, ‘work in progress.’

“Have you traced the number?”

“It’s someone called Neeraj Dubey.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

Sneha knows that Neeraj won’t be available this month but she has become restless. She knows she must get over it. The unnecessary obsessions might lead to greater depression.She is having a bad feeling ever since she has watched the news of the murder on TV. Most of the channels are now showing that the murder is somehow linked with Neeraj. Ira’s name has also surfaced. She is not getting him on the line. The police have interrogated him umpteen times and that’s the latest news.

Sneha gets into a reverie. All her memories with Neeraj seem to be coming up in front of her eyes. Why Neeraj? There are other suspects, even Ira…. the channels have to say that they had a relationship…. he had given her the marriage proposal….

Sneha breaks down into tears.

 

**

 

 

Neeraj has had two sleepless nights. He has been under a marathon interrogation for a couple of times. So many tests and scrutiny…

“You were constantly in touch with that man.” Roy had the voice of a lion.

“Yes, I was.” Neeraj confesses.

“He is an ex-employee of your company, right?” Roy has done thorough research in such a little time.

Neeraj looks astonished. “Ye…yes.”

“Why did he leave the company? He was jobless after that.”

“Yeah, he used to do drugs and had misbehaved with one of our female employees, he stole money and I had to sack him.”

“You have had several relationships at the same time.”

“That has got nothing to do with this murder.” Neeraj shouted.

“But you were not in your house at midnight. The security guard of your apartment had seen you leave your house near 1:00 AM and you returned after 4:00 AM.”Roy had everything under his control.

Neeraj could not say anything.

 

**

The little child was still crying.

“We are almost there.” Her mother, Sarala said.

She knocked the door. She had travelled a lot and she was extremely tired.

The door opens. Sarala’s sister it was. They both break into tears.

 

“How old was that man?” Sarala’s sister asked.

“Mid-twenties.”

“We should take legal steps. You acted like a coward Sarala.”

“How could I take steps? she doesn’t have her father, I am the only to look after her, all I could do at that time was protect my baby.”

“We need to move back and do something at least.”

Sarala didn’t say anything. She peeked at the next room. Her little girl was sleeping in the next room.

“What is the man’s name by the way?” Sarala’s sister asks.

 

**

 

Neeraj just fell asleep when the doorbell rang. It’s night time. He is so scared that the doorbell sounds like an alarm. He opens the door.

“Neeraj Dubey, you have to come with us.” Roy shows the handcuffs. “I don’t think I need these, you will co-operate, and the dagger had fingerprints that match yours. DNA tests reveal that these were yours. These were found in between Soumik’s fingers, looks like you had a fight before he got murdered. He pulled your hair and….”

The packet contains hair if seen closely which otherwise looks empty.

Neeraj has no idea where it came from.

“I... I…”  Neeraj stutters.

 

Neeraj doesn’t know, he never knew that this would happen. Those very streets of Kolkata which he loved, have now become nightmarish. He looks through the window of the van, no, he isn’t looking, the streets are passing by him like the scenes of a movie he doesn’t understand the language of. Why on earth and how on earth did that happen? He can’t even say to the police that he didn’t have the dagger, he had a revolver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

“It was becoming tougher day by day. Acting as Sneha for a few more days would have made me mad.” Priyanka sobs. Neeraj has been found guilty of Soumik Bose’s murder and she is in Ira’s place.

“You have been doing it well for the last two years. I always knew that Neeraj wasn’t faithful enough and I could not keep an eye on her from down south, Priyanka, my darling, you did great.”

“I almost fell in love with him and he screwed up, I don’t know, he really killed Soumik?”

“Not at all.”

“What?”

“I did.”

“His fingerprints…”

Ira shows her the kitchen. A tub containing clay is lying at the corner.

“Just go and see.”

Priyanka AKA Sneha looks at that tub. The clay bed has imprints of a hand.

“It’s Neeraj’s handprint. I had tactfully taken it, I had dropped water on the floor and he accidentally threw his right hand in the clay bed, I used that handprint to fake it.”

Priyanka doesn’t know whether to be in awe or despair.

“The night I went to kill Soumik, I saw Neeraj already there, talking to him, intimidating him with a revolver, but I knew that it was the highest he could go.”

“What’s Neeraj’s connection with Soumik?” Priyanka is totally puzzled.

“Soumik was Neeraj’s employee and he was sacked because of his misconduct with a female employee.Soumik had threatened him that he would disclose everything about the relationships he has had so far.Soumik was constantly receiving money from Neeraj so that he keeps quiet and recently demanded of meeting me and Neeraj agreed to it because that would be one way by which he could get a big break as a producer. SoSoumik comes up with this shitty and bogus story and Neeraj agrees to go about it.In the meantime,Soumik asked for more money which Neeraj did not agree to and that’s why that midnight encounter happened coincidentally. Neeraj did nothing, just intimidated him with a revolver. I saw everything. After his departure I finished my business. By the way, the fact that Neeraj went there, corroborated the evidences against him.”

“But those traces of hair?” Priyanka asks.

“Those are the results of the intimate moments I had with Neeraj. I collected them and set everything as if they had a fight before he killed Soumik.Soumik had an extreme urge to work with me and be intimate, you know…you know what I mean, I saw that in his eyes. They thought they were playing with me without being aware that they were being played with.”

“But how do you know so much about their connection?” Priyanka asks.

“Listen, hey, I am a superstar, there’s nothing out of my reach.”

“What if Soumik was a good man?”

“Nope, Neeraj wanted to use me so that Soumik gets me, well, Ira used Neeraj to get to Soumik.”

“But what if Soumik was a good man? Maybe he had good intentions.”

“It can never be, we had an old score to settle, he thought that I won’t be able to recognize him after ten years, with that entire beard and all…he had been running away continuously…I am lucky that quite stupidly he came up to me just to be killed. I came up to Kolkata to settle scores with Neeraj but as soon as I saw Soumik, I had to change my plans to lessen my efforts and double the consequences.” Ira closes her eyes, she breaks down. “The only thing he did well was recitation.” She was reminded of her late mother.

“Let’s go for a long drive this evening. My job in Kolkata is done.” Ira adds.

Priyanka looks at Ira, she has so many faces, yet so clear in his intentions. What a masquerade!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epilogue

Sarala was sitting under the fan.She had travelled down to her hometown Kerala from Kolkata. There she had none to support as her husband had passed away last year. In Kerala she had her sister Usha to look after her and her child.

“We need to move back and do something at least.” Usha said.

Sarala didn’t say anything.

“What is the man’s name by the way?” Usha asked.

“Soumik Bose.” Sarala replied.

Little Ira, Ira Kapoor was sleeping peacefully in the next room. In the drawing room, sat her aunt and mother, totally unsure that she would grow up to be a woman of fire.

 


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