The next morning, murder of the girl in the motel was all over the news. Accusations were being imposed over Zakir Hamidi.
‘Zakir Hamidi’s black SUV can be seen parked in front of the motel in the CCTV cameras that captured everything from last night. What happened inside can’t be said. Zakir Hamidi has still not reached his office and all the local people, and media are waiting for his arrival and his statement. The police is investigating the matter.’ the beautiful media reporter announced, and I muted the volume of the TV. My phone buzzed with an unknown number. I picked it up.
‘Hello?’ I answered but no-one spoke from the other side.
‘Hello? Who is this?’
‘Hello? Can’t you hear me?’ I was trying, but there was no response.
‘Listen whoever this is, I’m going to cut the call and block this number.’
‘Kavya…daughter…’ a heavy voice faintly announced my name and a relation I had long forgotten about.
‘I don’t want to talk to you.’
‘But I do.’ the man said. I called him ‘the-man’, because he was not my father. Not anymore.
‘Listen daughter, I know I have never made the attempt to meet you or know about your well-being, but not anymore. I am coming to see you today evening. I want to see my daughter. You need to know my story before you judge me. You don’t know what happened 15 years back…’
‘Neither do I know, nor do I want to know. Keep your story to yourself. You were an unfaithful husband, an irresponsible father. I’m glad my mother and siblings died without seeing your face! They didn’t deserve another horror from you. Why don’t you just kill yourself?’ I hung up and switched the dumb TV off in disgust.
I couldn’t be angrier. His voice echoed inside me all day long. I had nobody in the world to call my own, but just this man who wanted to mend things. I didn’t know why was he attempting to come back after all these years? Had he not done much damage already? I wasn’t comfortable in seeing him.
At 3 in afternoon, the phone rang again with the same number. I disconnected the call without picking it up. I didn’t want to hear his voice or his story. There was no call from him for another 3 hours. It was 6. I sat in my study and switched the TV on again.
‘Mr Zakir was here with us, but he denies having any link to the murder or the motel. With what the police has investigated so far, it has been declared that the girl was a local prostitute, who was famous for her political contacts. Police calls it a personal matter of the girl and the commissioner has stated that Mr Zakir was at a party with him last night. His right hand man had taken his car to the motel with his permission. Two men from Zakir’s personal staff have been arrested and are under police investigation.’ the beautiful reporter smiled again. I wondered how could, they smile in such grave situation! Someone had died and all they cared about was whether their hair looked good? Gross!
The media was frenzied to get proof against Zakir. Every time he walked away clean. It wasn’t the first time he had someone killed, or murdered, or raped. His image was that of a wild animal, but his wealth and strong political influence, always saved him. Police would find yet another gimmick to close the matter and the people would be busy in a new issue. All of this will be forgotten. Suddenly, all my pain disappeared when I thought about the girl who was murdered last night. She might also have a family or her own. I wasn’t the only victim of this vile, corrupt man, but there was a fleet of victims now! Somebody had to do something someday. I was charged up with the mere thought of shooting Zakir with my own hands. Even if I had to go to jail for a century after that, I would happily agree! Dying a martyr is much better than dying a coward!
My phone buzzed again. It was the same old man, who was reminded of his alive daughter after a decade. This time I picked up.
‘Listen I’m not in a mood to chew upon your facts and figures. What you did is unforgivable, and I request you to stop contacting me…’
‘You want to kill Zakir, I will help you in it. You just need to meet me at the Royal Café at 9 pm tonight. I’ll tell you everything.’ And he cut the call. His words froze me and I stood there still, for another minute, trying to process if he really read my thoughts!
I had never told anyone that I wanted to kill Zakir, and neither would anyone suspect me because I was already a member of his political party, then how did my father know? But the bigger questions was – who was my father? It had been 15 years since I had seen or met that man, I could recognize him but couldn’t guarantee that he was still the same, as he was 15 years ago.
It was 8 pm and I was dressed pathetically in an old pair of jeans and a 3 years old sweater of my mother. I had booked a rickshaw to reach the Royal Café, where my father was supposed to meet me. I hated to call him father. But his deeds didn’t change my relation with him!
‘Royal Café…’ I said to the rickshaw-owner. He drove me to the café in thirty minutes.
The place was dim-lit, a dingy street, full of smell from the sewage and smoke that people were puffing around. It appeared like a red-light area. How the hell was I unaware of this place? I thought and walked ahead.
The Royal Café, was not as royal as I had imagined it to be. It was rather a complete injustice to its name! The café was lit with dim red light and the sofas were old, some were even torn from places. The waiters didn’t dress up differently, they looked like customers but were just carrying trays and utensils from which I figured out that they were actually the waiters! Shabby looking group of guys were taking deep puffs of a powder spread on the table, from their noses! They were so badly stoned and drugged. Girls wearing almost nothing in this stark cold, were trying to seduce rich guys who dressed smartly. It was a disgrace in the name of a café!
I found out a shabby looking corner and placed my handbag on the table. I pulled the heavy chair out and sat in it, waiting for my father. I looked at my watch, it was 08:50pm. There were still 10 minutes for him to arrive. Meanwhile, an old man came at my table. He had typical styled beard and no moustache. Which made it clear that he was a Muslim. I looked at him carefully. He had deep eyes that were hidden under thick glasses of spectacles he wore. The English hat he wore, made him step out from the rest of the crowd.
‘Kavya…’ he said and sat opposite to me. He was my father.