Reads: 200  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

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


Submitted: July 05, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 05, 2018






He is standing near the doorway and surveying the banquet hall full of men and women who have gathered there for a marriage party. It is a happy occasion but not for him. He is trying to find a girl, who does not know that he exists, or why he is here. He has no reasons to be unobtrusive but still, he must be vigilant.

Standing there, he is weighing the importance of being careful. It doesn’t matter that he is a police inspector in plain clothes and chances of anyone identifying him are very slim, but he is getting that uneasy feeling …  danger premonitions which have saved his life many times in the past …. seems to be warning him…  so, he is now prepared with his loaded revolver.

As he watches, he feels that his heart is palpitating, and a sense of breathlessness is making him sweat slightly. There are too many people around, nonetheless, he must find her… and fast. That girl, who has stirred his emotions, whose image he has assiduously memorized, a girl who has seen seventeen summers, has a childlike innocence and whose sweet countenance is matchless.

Then he locates her.

She is near the eastern corner of the banquet hall close to the stage where the bride and the groom are sitting. She is amidst so many females that she is nearly invisible most of the time. Standing there, she is looking lonely and aloof. Her light pink dress is accentuating her young personality.

With a sigh of relief, he weaves through the crowd with firm steps and approaches her. He is also keeping a watch for another man whose identity he knows; he is nowhere to be seen.  

She hasn’t seen him approaching, on reaching her, he says, “Excuse me... my girl”.

His voice is barely audible in that cacophony of background music and the hum of the conversation of the multitude.

She turns to look at him with a slightly disinterested look, their eyes meet.


He says, “My girl… you are Fagun, I am sure...”

She nods with a little frown.

He gazes around, at that moment there is nobody near their immediate vicinity. There is no sign of the other man.  He clears his throat and says, “I am Jimmy… I am your father… I have come to take you …tell you everything….”

Sooner he says this he notices a perceptible change in her facial appearance …. of her body language … it is so swift that it is astonishing. 

She steps back and retorts, “What are you saying? Are you crazy?  My father is Ihan Singh… who are you? I will call him …”

Saying this she looks around in a frenzy and at that moment a man enters from the rear door next to the stage. A tall, clean-shaven man in a grey suit with pepper, white hair combed back ... she virtually runs towards him nearly colliding with two women who are in her path.

Jimmy immediately comprehends that a palpable danger has materialized. It is the same man! There is no time to lose; there will be a shootout and his mission will fail. His life is also in danger! He must create a diversion and take away Fagun.

He puts his right hand into the large pocket of his jacket and gripping his revolver with his forefinger on the trigger, shoots upward at the overhanging enormous multi-layered chandelier- through the fabric.

There is a loud noise of gunfire.

He is aware that the shot may not be totally accurate.

Yet the outcome is unexpected.

The bullet misses the mark and the tall man collapses on the ground clutching at his right arm.  Fagun who is about to reach him, screams and tries in vain to hold him from falling.

What follows is pandemonium.

Collective screams and exclamations from women and men fill the air.  They start running frantically in the hall; women's sarees shift, hang loose, hair dishevels, and men’s jackets get torn …. Some tumble on the ground to be trodden and kicked by many feet…

Then as if by cue the bright lights go out altogether, the music stops, and the sound of yelling crowd resounds in that dark confined space.

But soon the lights return as abruptly as they have gone.

Meantime, Jimmy is on his way back home. He knows that he has failed to get Fagun; she has been whisked away in that confusion. It is infuriating that his failure has happened despite getting help …. the lights were switched off….

He feels extremely sad and apprehensive too. As he enters his house, a contemplative mood overshadows him.

He remembers the incident of two nights ago from when all these have begun. 


The quiet of that winter night was interrupted by heavy thundershowers and frequent flashes of lightning, making the streets and the surroundings deserted. The freezing wind accompanying the showers made life miserable for even those indoors. Jimmy was alone in his house, sitting in his living room with a glass of beer before him …  the quivering flame of the coal fire in the hearth was throwing red and orange light on his face. Only a table lamp was burning in the left corner of the room. 

He was in a reverie, the loneliness of evenings always haunted him…. he had lost count of the minutes and the hour when he heard a light knock on the main door.

Who could be here at this hour? Thinking he got up and opened the door and flinched due to the cool blast of wind with moisture hitting his face; he saw that a lady was standing at the doorway, her face was partly obscured as she had turned away from the overhead porch light.

He said, “Yes, what do you want?”

As she turned, Jimmy’s breath stopped for a second. Never in his dreams, he had expected her that night. He blinked his eyes and swallowed hard.

“Sweta, you are here? How? Why? ….” His speech failed him.

The lady smiled slightly and said, “Won’t you let me in Jim? It’s so wet and cold outside.”

He hastily stepped aside, letting her in. She went into the living room and looked around, her light blue sari was partially wet and clinging to her arms and shoulders and there were drops of shiny water on her hair which was neatly tied in a bun.  Even in that state, she looked a ravishing lady, although middle-aged yet a dignified woman.

A little later she was occupying the side sofa with a cup of coffee before her.

She sipped the coffee and regarded Jimmy, sitting on the opposite couch.

“So, how are your police duties going on? It has been so many years since we have seen each other.”

Jimmy stirred restlessly, “Yes, it was more than sixteen years since we had promised to marry each other, but you didn’t…” He looked away in sadness, “…you left me and married a rich man. But I never married…”

Hearing him Sweta’s eyes welled with tears. She said, “I know, I had no other option at that time…. My family forced me. Any way….” She wiped her eyes. “There is a reason why I have come to you….”

She got up and sat next to Jimmy and took his hand. The faint aroma enveloping her was making him feel nostalgic. 

“Do you remember how passionately we made love just a few days before my wedding?” She was unabashed.

Jimmy took hold of himself and nodded; he would never forget that till his end.

Sweta continued, “You wouldn’t know that the baby I gave birth was …. your daughter. My husband has no idea that the daughter is not his…”

Jimmy sat there speechless, not knowing how to respond.

She was saying, “Your daughter is growing up to be a young lady… her name is Fagun. See how attractive she has grown.”

She opened her handbag and took out a picture and handed it to Jimmy.

He considered the picture as if that was the most precious thing he had seen and experienced in his lifetime.

He said haltingly, “Am I a father? An unmarried father? I could never have dreamt… I don’t know whether I should be sad or happy.  Though you have made the life of a lonely man.”

He put his arm around Sweta and hugged her, “Why are you telling me all this after so long?”

She moved a little away, “I need your help…Jim… to save your and my daughter Fagun from my husband, Ihan Singh.”

Jimmy took hold of himself and replied, “Why… what’s the problem?”

She met his eyes, her eyes were intense, “I am ashamed to tell you that my husband is a crook … a murderer. God knows which criminal activities he has not done while expanding his unlawful empire…?”

Jimmy just stared at her.

She was saying, “When I had objected … he abused me…physically and mentally and then dropped me out of his life, made me leave the house and threatened with divorce. To add salt to my wound, sadly, he doesn’t allow Fagun to come to me… it seems that he wants to use her for his evil activities. This man has made my life hell…”

She took out a picture - that of her husband and gave it to him.

Her hands were trembling.

Thereafter, there were many moments of silence between them.

Soon she took his hand, there was an imploring tone in her voice, tears in her eyes, “Jim… please rescue Fagun from that gangster’s clutches… please do. Else I will die…commit suicide.”

Jimmy’s eyes too were becoming moist, he said, “How can I help?”

She then told him about the party at the banquet hall on Friday and explained that Fagun and Ihan Singh would be at the party. He must somehow get in touch with Fagun and try to get her out of the party without Ihan Singh knowing about it. She was afraid that if her husband got any inkling at that time as to what was to happen, he would take extreme steps … he was constantly armed. There would be his thugs around. Life-threatening shootouts could happen.

Jimmy listened in silence and asked,” Is there no other way to get to Fagun? “

Sweta shook her head. “Please understand Jim, this is the only opportunity as Fagun is always kept away from the public by Ihan Singh”.

Jimmy was thinking, “If your husband or Fagun spots me before I do, there will be big trouble.”

Sweta replied, “He doesn’t know you exist, Fagun doesn’t know either, and I think nobody will recognize you at that party. I will give you an invitation card so that you will have no trouble entering the venue. I will ask a friend of mine to be there who will try to help you in every way - even create a diversion.”

As Jimmy pondered, he was understanding that despite her assurances, the entire plan was dangerous and fallible. But he couldn’t repudiate, the loving feelings for her were sealing his lips, he had to agree, his emotion was overtaking his sagacity.


With Friday’s incident in the banquet hall, fresh in his mind, Jimmy hasn’t been able to decide what he must do. What shall he tell Sweta? How will he explain his failure? He is not able to talk to her, she has switched her mobile off.

It is late evening when he hears a knock on his main door.

That must be her.

He opens the door with some unease.

She is not there, astonishingly Ihan Singh and Fagun are standing. Ihan Singh has a bandage on his right arm.

Stepping forward Ihan Singh says, “I am sure you are shocked to see us. But I must tell you my story. So, I have found out your address and come. Do let us in.”

Occupying the large sofa in the living room, Ihan Singh with Fagun at his side is saying, “First thing first. I am not dead with your bullet as you can see. Just a graze on my right arm. This is a minor injury.”

Jimmy remains silent. He says, “It was an accident…”

Ihan Singh frowns and goes on, “I don’t know what story Sweta has told you about me and Fagun, but I am sure that Sweta has made you think that Fagun is under my forced custody…she is my prisoner.”

He pauses for a moment and says, “That is not true, I don’t know how Sweta got that impression. Anyway, I love Fagun too much to inflict myself on her. She is always free, and she will forever be as independent as she chooses. She knows it.”

Jimmy tries to interrupt though Ihan Singh stops him.

“And yes, I know that she is your biological daughter. In some weak moment, Sweta has revealed that to me about a week ago and it has been a great mental stress for me. I have been suffering since then, though now I must accept it. Still, that doesn’t take away my love for her… she is my daughter, whoever may be her father….”

With that Ihan Singh gets up with Fagun following her, “I don’t feel bitter or revengeful. Let me get on with my life. Fagun is free and can come to you whenever you want, or she feels like…you too have a right to love her … and please go on with your life too. I have no grudge against you… or anyone.”

Thereafter they both leave the room quietly.

Jimmy continues to stare at the open door, now swinging slightly with the stiff breeze coming in through it. The wall clock has already chimed in the living room, it is past 9.00 p.m.

Time is ticking away… Jimmy has been sitting on the sofa immobilized… his mind is in a whirlwind of thoughts when he hears a car stops outside his gate.

His eyes are still on the open door when Sweta walks in.

She comes directly near him.

“Don’t look so dazed - Jim.” She says softly.

Thereafter, going to the dispenser, she pours a glass of water and keeps it near Jimmy before sitting down.

“I know what my husband told you a little while ago …. Fagun has informed me…” her voice is husky, “…. but now I must make a confession to you.”

Getting up she walks towards the doorway and without looking behind says, “Fagun is not your daughter. I am sorry to mislead you to get your support… she is actually Ihan Singh’s biological daughter. I have also misled him to believe that that Fagun is your daughter and not his.”

Jimmy just stares at her …this new turn of events makes his head reel. What is this?

Sweta has now become quiet, the silence is interrupted only by ticking of the wall clock.

Jimmy picks up the glass and drinks water, his throat has gone dry.

Soon she turns to look at him. 

“Do you know why I did this?  I wanted to hurt my husband. You already know that he has been terribly cruel to me.  I wanted him to be traumatized…. I never loved him… I wanted vengeance...

She again stops to wipe her eyes.  

“Sadly, I was not satisfied to just mislead and hurt him. In my twisted mind, I wanted to bruise him more…in extreme intensity…in full public gaze.  Then foolishly I thought that by making you go to him as Fagun’s biological father in that party, I would be able to shame him the most… hit his virility in front of a crowd …never mind my ignominy as an unfaithful woman. But I was not sure how you would do that. To me, any confusion which humiliated my husband was good enough. “

Jimmy looks at her for many moments then frowning says, “Sweta, did you ever think what could have happened to me?”

She walks back towards him, “I knew that Ihan Singh was aware of you, I had told him, but believe me, neither he knew you in person nor had he any idea that you would be coming to that banquet hall. Fagun didn’t know too.”

Coming near him she touches his arm.

“Still, I understood that I was putting your life in danger, but then you were a police officer capable of taking care of yourself. And, I had warned you, sufficiently. “

She now wearily runs her hand on her brow.

“I had some hope that I would get what I wanted without both of you resorting to any violence, unfortunately, only violence erupted ... you shot Ihan Singh accidentally, yet luckily, you two had survived and there had been no casualties.”

Jimmy’s mental state, by then, has become very difficult to fathom but somewhere his anger has also been rising, he retorts, “Sweta … you have done something very wrong … you have been devious …. I am sorry to say.”

She looks down at her hands… keeping silent for eternity then says with a gentle trembling voice, “I must admit that I am wrong. I regret. But have you realized that despite all these unfortunate events how my husband has reacted? With compassion … with decency. It’s so strange, isn’t it? He is a criminal, has been nasty to me… yet he has shown that he has a heart of gold, a heart that not only loves…. Fagun, but a heart that has also forgiven … you. How can I go against him?”  

Then, blinking away tears, she meets his eyes and says, “I hope my husband will also forgive me when he hears me. Or punish me if he wants.”

After that, she kisses his forehead gently.

“And I also hope that you will forgive me and get over this traumatic experience. Remember, I am eternally obliged to you.”

Saying these Sweta walks out of the house into the dimness of the winter night. 

By then Jimmy’s anger has drowned into the sea of his loneliness.

He knows that he will never meet her again or hear of her… though a silent ache in his heart will always remain.










© Copyright 2019 AMITAV GANGULY. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Thrillers Short Stories