Love and Sahil reached the Intercontinental early at 04:30 am. They inquired about the manager who was at duty the previous day after noon. The watch-man said that the man was at his home now, and that he had no clue about his address.
‘Where can we find the details about him?’ Love stealthily offered a hundred buck note to the guard.
‘Saheb, I’m an honest man. I truly have no idea.’ The watch-man refused the money with dignity.
‘I’m sorry brother…’ Love patted his shoulder and they both returned empty handed from the hotel.
Suddenly, Love’s phone rang with an unknown number.
‘Pick up, it might be an informer about Aarush?’ Sahil suggested.
‘Hello?’ Love answered to a strange voice.
‘Hello? Is Mr Aarush Choudhury your acquaintance?’
‘Yes! Yes, he’s my friend. Is he alright?’
‘Sorry to break this news to you, Sir. Mr Aarush has faced a terrible accident and I’m Doctor Raghwan, speaking from Fortis Hospital, Pune.’
‘Pune? What the hell happened? Is he okay? Doctor, we are coming right away…’
‘He has to undergo a minor surgery. It would be better if someone from his family was here so that we could start with the procedure.’
‘Sir, we are on our way…’ Love rushed into the car while Sahil started driving towards Navi Mumbai from where they were to take the Mumbai-Pune Highway.
‘Yes that’s good. We have kept him on basic medications for now. Some sedatives, but we will start the surgery only after someone from his family fills the undertaking forms and deposits the amount.’
‘Sir, don’t you worry about the amount. Please start the surgery as soon as possible. The forms can be filled even later. It will take us almost two hours to reach the hospital…’
‘Sir, we also have our responsibilities. We can’t start a surgery based upon a telephonic conversation. Someone has to sign the forms and more importantly deposit the amount, only then I can assure you that we will start his treatment. Right now, he’s under the surveillance of best doctors in our emergency department.’
‘Doctor, I understand. If there was someone in Pune, we would have not pleaded you so much. But it will take us two hours…’
‘I understand. It is alright, the condition of your friend is stable and not critical. It’s just that you have to sign the papers before we proceed any further. That’s the hospital rule.’
‘Doctor, what happened exactly?’ Love tried to ask, but the doctor had already hung up. He was obviously busy, and in no way had any minute spare to chit-chat at almost 5 in the morning.
‘Dude, just fuck the rules and accelerate the car. My heart is racing like anything…’ Love asked Sahil to drive faster.
‘Accelerate? We are already going at a hundred and twenty. If we catch any more speed and that too in these unpredictable rains, we might also end up in Fortis as patients next to Aarush! You close your eyes, relax and be calm. We will reach when we will reach.’
‘Fuck man! How the hell did Aarush meet an accident? That bitch Radhika…’
‘Hey, dude. Hold it! She told us the truth. Aarush is an ass who always runs away instead of sorting things out. It’s his habit since Koel.’
‘Yeah, that bitch Koel. Aarush’s bad time started the day she entered his life. I kept warning him not to get into her filthy trap, but no. Aarush was all head over heels for her. And see what happened? I’m happy I’m single!’ Love elevated the volume of death-metal songs in the car. They gave him peace!
‘Fuck you Love, just slow it down a bit! I can’t focus on driving.’ Sahil turned the volume down.
‘Dude, they help me relax. Right now, my brain is like a grenade, it can blast any second. I just feel so nauseous. I think I’m going to throw up…’ Love lowered down the window of his side and tried to throw up but failed.
‘Drive a little slow, my brains are blasting out!’ Love held Sahil’s hand which was on the steering wheel.
‘Oh man, check that out…what the fuck!’ Sahil pointed towards an accidental car. The car was toppled upside down and all the mirrors were broken.
‘Dude, slow down…slow down…’ Love shouted and Sahil stopped the car. They both got down and crossed the road to reach the opposite side and check out the car. Their worst fears came true when they read the number of the car. It was a black Volkswagen, owned by Aarush.
‘What the fuck man! Shit…’
Love examined the car and there was nothing right in it. Every inch of it was damaged and broken down. He wondered how fast Aarush might have been driving that the car skid the road and turned upside down after at least three tips. The road was marked with skid-marks at least from half a kilometre behind. They walked in the direction of the skid marks and noticed that there was a tunnel from where Aarush might have lost the control of the car and it toppled.
‘Dude, this is scary. Let’s get back to our car and see how Aarush is.’ Love rushed towards their car that was parked on the other side of the road.
‘Did you notice one thing?’ Sahil asked.
‘That Aarush was with Radhika till 02:30 pm and as far as I know, his phone is off since 05 pm. What’s the time now?’
‘Right, and the doctor called us an hour ago. So, that means Aarush’s phone was off for at least 12 hours before the doctor might have switched it on and got your number.’
‘Yeah, and?’ Love was confused at what Sahil was trying to explain.
‘And, the accident might have happened at around 04 am today. Because from that point, reaching Fortis is almost an hour and switching on a phone isn’t a time consuming process either. So that means, after fighting with Radhika at, let’s say 03 pm, Aarush reached Pune in 02 hours anyhow, switched off his phone at 05, and he spent the night in the city at God knows where and he was coming back at 03 am and in the mid-way on the highway, he met with an accident at 04 am before reaching Mumbai.’
‘God! What the fuck do you want to explain?’ Love was irritated now.
‘I want to say that – I don’t know about any person who lives in Pune and is friends with Aarush. I don’t either believe that Aarush will ever travel to Pune without a strong reason. I don’t even believe that he would switch his phone off for straight 10 hours! Something is definitely fishy. Why was he traveling to Pune?’
‘Can you just stop your Sherlock Holmes shit and just drive a little faster. We are about to reach the hospital.’ Love held his head tightly. He wasn’t getting anything that Sahil was trying to explain to him.
‘Dude, stop, stop stop…’ Love cried and Sahil halted the car right in front of the hospital.
They both ran towards the emergency ward and filled out the necessary forms. The doctor assured them that the surgery was about to start.
‘Thank you very much, Doctor!’ Love hugged the doctor on duty.
‘Don’t thank me. Thank Mr Aarush’s wife, who brought him here on time. She is not as severely injured as Mr Aarush is, but she is admitted in the general ward. She is the one who told us your number also. Both their phones were completely damaged in the car crash.’
‘What? Who wife?’
‘Mrs Koel Choudhury…’