It is a morning with blissful nature. The wind from the heaven cautiously hits the gentle skin creating a cold atmosphere while the sun rays fall blissfully upon everything. Arun Panikar, a thin and tall young man with shady eyes, pointy nose, colour of the brown soil and a lip that has turned into a dark shade due to smoking which he believes to be an act of escape from the tensions of a chaotic world. He has an attitude that prolongs him to find new ways to deal with life and its chaos. He wakes up to the sound of the old alarm clock that has its spot next to the bed, on a small antique wooden table that reminds him of his old man who made it, he is quite sensitive about these things. As usual it was the routine that messed up his appetite which he claims to be the reason for him being late to 8 – hour work schedule at Koramangala, Bangalore the convenient spot to work due to the availability of anything and everything that exist on earth mainly food that is delicious. As usual Panikar the name by which Arun is called out is late to a Monday morning work. He does his normal routine chores and fixes a good breakfast which is the usual bread and two boiled eggs and having some hurries outside waving his hand to his sister called by the name Anitha panikar with similar features in looks and character that are of Panikar and with a bold voice that brings fear in anybody that looks or hears her speaking. He now walks toward the bus station dreaming as usual about all the possibilities of things that could go wrong but it was now that he remembered to take his wallet left inside the wardrobe.
He hurries back to the small apartment that he lives in and waits for the lift to open but since he was already late decides to climb the stairs back to 4th floor of the building. Panikar huffs and puffs while he murmurs to himself of the life that seems to be already going wrong. It is now when he reached the door that he heard a scream from the opposite apartment, a scream that was so high pitched that everyone in the neighbour hood could hear. “wonder what could be wrong, perhaps saw something horrible or dropped something precious” he thought and pushes hard the calling bell. “wait right there, I will be in a minute shouted Anitha from the inside who was taking a shower. With the already lost patience he waits and now decides to take a sick leave from work since he Is already late and thinks for himself being in a state where he cannot do anything but listen to his boss’s lecture about the concept of time. He recalls the scream and tries to turn and have a look but Anitha already opens the door. “Anitha, you must know that I am already late to work, what took you so long?” – “it’s because I was” – “never mind just keep this bag on the table and will you bring a glass of water?”. She walks towards the table and gets a glass of water. Panikar goes to the restroom to find clothes of Anitha with stain everywhere on the floor, all of it soaked in soap water. He does not bother to ask since he is too lazy to do anything and arguing about the clothes is not seen as an option. He believed it to be the sauce that could have stained her clothes since Anitha is a messy eater.
He takes a seat on the sofa and turns on the old radio to listen to the morning news. After a while his mind starts to wander off into thoughts as he sunk into the sofa, sitting in a sluggish posture. He remembers the scream that he heard an hour ago and starts to think about it. The thought of him not figuring out what happened next door haunted him. Never mind he said and walks toward Anitha who seems restless for some reason. “what happened to you? you seem to be in a bit of tension, is it because of the clothes that you need to wash? I could help you….do you feel sick? I could fetch some medicines” – “will you just leave me alone for a while, I am feeling better than ever before, are you happy now? – “well, as you wish” he pouted in a weird way and walked towards the bed room to take a nap. He giggled and thought in his mind of women in periods. Its evening when he woke up to the beeping of the pager. He at first thought it to be his colleagues at work but it seems that it’s a message from his boss asking him to leave the place immediately. Startled by the message he calls his boss with the cordless phone that lay beneath the pillow and his boss picks up at one ring. “good that you called, do not ask any questions just leave, I will explain everything later, just so that you know that your life is in great danger.” (boss hangs up the call and Panikar seems to be scared and confused, Anitha walks into the bed room.) Arun you must be hungry, there is some pudding left, would you like to eat? – No, its soon going to be dinner time”. – “but some pudding will not take away your hunger, come on now, eat some of it, I will get some right away”. ( Panikar feels some change in Anitha’s behaviour and starts to recall the scream that he heard in the morning.”) he wonders to himself that the boss calling him and asking him to leave right away and Anitha all of a sudden being different and forcing the pudding, the stained dress put for wash and the scream next door all could not be just a coincidence. He decides to meet the neighbour to confirm that its all just fine and could be a coincidence. He walks towards the main door passing through the living room and looks at Anitha for a moment who is serving the pudding in a bowl at the kitchen adjacent to the living room. (She seems to be looking at him with pity.) A cold shiver went through Panikar’s spine with that look. He without telling anything to Anitha walks straight to the neighbour’s door and rings the bell but nobody answered at the door. Anitha had mentioned few weeks back that there is nobody there because the owner had been gone on a week’s vacation. He walks towards the neighbour’s apartment and finds the door already unlocked. He walks in and could not see a thing because it was dark and already dusk. He searches for the switch to turn on the lights which is when he bumps into something unusual and his foot becomes wet. He switches on the light and sees a 6 – foot corpse of the lady with her head slaughtered with something heavy and blood spilled like wine on the floor which he accidently stepped. He turns back with no voice to raise for help which is when he gets stabbed twice in the back by a familiar hand that he holds upon for support while he was collapsing. It was the hands that serves him, pampered him gently when he was sick, that held him tight when he was scared. “I have a good reason for all of this, sorry brother but this is all I could do, I wished no harm to anyone but it is my fate that I cannot let you live, now you have witnessed my actions of barbarism too…..( Anitha weeps holding her brother who is nothing more than dead meat, Andrew, the boss of Panikar enters the scene after some time.) Andrew understood by the looks of the scene and silently walks outside towards the balcony, he bends over to look for the police that he called right away seeing the scene. Half an hour later he finds the police walking out of their jeep, he remains silent as though nothing had happened. He was calm as anyone could ever be as though nothing of the situation bothered him. Anitha is not happy with Andrew’s behaviour at this point of time. “are you not bothered a bit about anything that has happened. (Sobbing heavily) is this all that you love me, you hate me don’t you- shut the fuck up, you are mad woman….don’t you see ….there is nothing left in your life and this is what he wanted. Anitha confused stands there idle. The police enters and looks at bloody hands of Anitha and the body that lay on the floor, issues an arrest to take Anitha away (Andrew had called the police and let them know that it was Anitha). “what do you mean Andrew, I do not understand….” The police do not allow her to complete and hand cuffs her to take her away. The voice of Andrews rings in her mind. “inspector, please do not…” the police inspector understands the gesture of Andrew. Anitha is gone now and there is nothing he could do, he starts weeping now but wipes away his tears holding back the anger and all kinds of feeling. A week has easily passed by and Anitha is held before the system. She could not justify her act and is imprisoned for life and all she could think of is Andrews statement “this is what he wanted” She wondered who he referred to and why. Her answer to the questions lies with Andrew and hence she waits patiently for his arrival.
It’s a year that went past and Anitha has got comfortable with the routines established at the prison. As usual she wakes up to the thrashing of the plates which meant it was time to get up for it was her shift to cook at the kitchen but today she received a letter and the jail superintendent brings it to her. She was waiting for the letter assuming that it is from Andrews but her excitement vanishes from its peak since it was from somebody named Neeraj. It was the letter from her ex-lover whom she was in love with 6 years ago but Anitha is in confusion of why he would be writing a letter to her. She waits till afternoon since it was the only time she would be free from all the hectic work in the prison. Later that day she opens the letter gently and starts reading it skipping all the main part since her hopes had lost its wing to fly with the loss of faith in Andrew. The last few words said “sorry for being the reason for your brother’s death.” Anitha is shocked and starts to read the letter from the beginning. The letter goes something like this, Dear Anitha , it’s been years that we have met each other. I wish that I could come and visit you but my conscience does not allow me to do so and it is this very same reason that I am writing this letter. I hope you will forgive me for my mistakes, no perhaps you would not but still I think there are some answers that you seek. It is I who murdered the lady next door and not Panikar. I had asked Panikar to stay away from my girl but he did not, I could not stand another chance of being the victim again and hence I decided to stealth in to the apartment and kill both which is when Andrew my roommate entered while I was having a conversation to myself, you might think that I am mad but I am not. Off course a mad man could not have done such a neat job of murdering a couple. You made my work easier with your misconception of the scene thinking that Panikar killed the lady maybe as revenge. Andrew warned Panikar of me but he was too arrogant to listen to his fear. And this is why I had to take care of Andrew’s case too, may his soul rest in peace. Panikar should have died in my arms. Panikar did not kill the women while you were taking a shower, it was I who did it, Panikar did not kill the woman to hide the secret, infact he would never had done that since he was to become a father. You are surely a fool of ego and arrogance. Panikar was as loyal as he could be but never mind because they both are in a happy place now. Hope that you never die of hating yourself. yours sinister, NEERAJ Anitha falls to the ground, crying out on her sin never to live peacefully.