Chapter 10

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

It was an innocuous hairclip that solved the mystery.

This is how the events unfolded before the final verdict. 

A few days before her murder, Jessica discovered that she was pregnant. However, having a child out of wedlock was almost blasphemous in the conservative society that Raj belonged to. Giving immediate legitimacy to their relationship by way of marriage was the only option for Raj and Jessica.  

After several failed attempts, Raj finally broke the news to his parents. As expected, Lakhbir lashed out at his son. After Lakhbir’s angry exit from the room, Daisy meekly handed her red wedding sari and an expensive diamond and ruby hairclip to Raj. It was her way of accepting Jessica into the family and silently defying her wilful husband. 

The next day, Raj cajoled Jessica into donning his mother’s gifts, capturing her pretty yet reluctant sari clad frame on her cellphone, which Jessica later used as her profile picture. Jessica was worried but Raj convinced her of his commitment. That night, they celebrated their impending nuptials with friends and Raj slept over at Jessica’s. 

Early next morning, Lakhbir arrived outside Jessica’s apartment. Raj sleepily opened the door and was shocked to see Lakhbir. His father barged inside calling out to Jessica and waving his gun frantically. After a violent struggle Raj found himself pointing the gun at his father. Jessica rushed to stop Raj but it was too late. Three bullets had already left the gun.   

Raj was hysterical but Lakhbir quickly recovered his composure. He pulled Raj from the apartment and drove to the safety of their home. He used his influence to buy freedom for Raj, who was too devastated to confront the truth.    

Lakhbir procured the red sari and hairclip from the crime scene after much bribing. The sari was burnt and the hairclip hidden under the Siva statue. The murder weapon was dumped into the Yamuna river.     

The investigating officer regularly demanded obscene amounts of money from Lakhbir in exchange for his silence.  He was the mystery visitor whose voice Shankar had recorded. 

When Shankar inadvertently stumbled upon the hidden hairclip during his secret snooping, Lakhbir was alarmed. He admonished Shankar, rousing suspicions in Shankar’s head regarding Lakhbir’s object of interest. 

When Cody showed Shankar and Daisy Jessica’s sari-clad picture on Facebook, Shankar’s suspicions were confirmed. Daisy also recognised the hairclip but could not understand how Lakhbir had come to possess it.  

The hairclip was the starting point of the new investigation. When Lakhbir realised that Raj could be charged for manslaughter, he confessed to having murdered Jessica out of rage. He gave a written statement claiming that he was a bigoted and ruthless father responsible for killing his son’s girlfriend and their unborn child.  

Lakhbir was sentenced to life imprisonment. His sudden transformation shocked everyone, especially Daisy and Raj. But Lakhbir had no regrets; he was finally atoning for his sins. He hoped to cleanse his soul and clear his conscience with some good karma.

Comments

Congratulations Hemali on the way you gathered up all the information and tied it together. You had to pack a lot into 500 words so that was a tough ask.It'd be interesting to see if it was possible to edit some information out and make the sentences less clipped and rushed. I'm not sure you could but it might be an interesting exercise to do. You've done a great job so please don't take the comment above as criticism...just a thought.
Constructive criticism is always welcome, in fact necessary Suraya. You are probably right. Maybe sharp editing can help to round off the clipped edges. But honestly, there were so many loose ends and story leads in the preceding chapters that it was hard to get everything together under one chapter and give a convincing ending to the serial. I feel when a reader reads a chapter, especially the last one, he should have answers to all the questions that may have arose during the course of the story. If he is left with doubts or questions such as how, why and where, then I feel the author has failed in telling a good story to the reader. Hence giving a logical ending is very important to me. As I reader I myself have felt 'cheated' when an author is not able to close up an otherwise wonderful story in a convincing manner. Then maybe its my critical Virgo mind talking!!!