Please read the previous chapter here
Author name : Neharika Sethi Mehra
Seshadri and Venkat still chose to grab a cup of tea and started walking towards Seshadri’s favourite tea shop. While they walked, both seemed lost in their own silence. Trying to put the pieces of this murder puzzle together, as they looked lost in their own thoughts. Taking a cutting chai, Seshadri couldn’t do without his fuel, his favourite samosa.
Suddenly Venkat as if in despair moved his hand. “we seem to get nowhere with this case, tying the loose ends with such little information is difficult without a doubt, but Sehshadri, I have seen you solving so many cases, I am sure we can do it together.” Seshadri have him a terrible look, he didn’t like being disturbed while eating even when it was a matter of life or death.
As they were done eating, they decided to dig deep and enquire further. After a few minutes of brainstorming Venkat suddenly came up with a suggestion, “Let’s meet Lipika, the landlord. I’m sure she’s been in touch with the couple and would know something at least.”
Lipika lived on 6th Floor of Vedika Apartments. A posh locality and with a few small gardens all around but as Seshadri’s luck would have it, the lift wasn’t working. Seshadri was out of breath as he took the flight of stairs. “Venkat, I am never working on a case that involves taking stairs, please call up your friend Chaturvedi next time you need help with a case.” Venkat looked at him irritated, “Seshadri you’ve lost your mind and patience with age I guess. Why do you forget the rewards these cases get you? You are known more as a detective than a lawyer and you can thank me later for that. “This argument won’t take us anywhere Seshadri, let’s get back to business buddy, both us want this case solved.” Finally agreeing to Venkat they proceeded to Lipika’s house.
As they knocked her door, a short fair woman opened it by a few inches and gave them a skeptical look. Lipika was in her mid fifties and lived alone while her husband worked abroad. Her two sons were married and lived in Bangalore. She let them in after Venkat showed her the badge, “Sub-inspector Venkat Phansalkar”, he said. “See, I know why you’ve come here, I got the news too. Please have a seat but let me tell you I don’t know anything.” Immediately Seshadri responded, “We are only here to ask about any detail that you know given your interaction with her as a landlady. Without wasting any time please tell us all you know of the couple, especially his wife.”
“They’ve been staying in my house for last five years and over these years my interaction with them has been very professional and to the point. I won’t say they were madly in love, not that I knew them too well like I earlier mentioned. But with our brief meetings I could sense that. The husband had had issues in his business hence I wasn’t paid the rent in time. They had no kids.”
Venkat further tried to interrogate her and said, “Oh! That would have caused some trouble to you!” “Of course! I had been expressing my wish to sell off the house too but Sukanya wouldn’t listen.” Seshadri looked at her with all his detective instincts. He had been observing people all his life as a lawyer, and his observation had mostly been correct. He added, “Since you wanted to sell the house, did you tell them to pack themselves off?”
Lipika, almost shouting in anger and disappointment said, “I had been giving them warnings to vacate the house but in vain. They always wanted more time both for rent and vacating the house. I really lost it one day and we had a terrible argument. My buyer wasn’t ready to wait and Sukanya wanted time. This was the way god planned for me I guess. I can now have the house and sell it off. Is there anything you’d like to know, I need to carry on with my work.”
“Thank you, Ms Lipika for the help, we might trouble you again.” Both stood up and left.
On reaching the police station which was close by, they both sat with a file in their hands. Each of the three they had met, be it Sukanya’s husband, her club member or now the landlady, Lipika looked like a suspect to them. Sukanya had been the quiet kinds but Lipika quoted the argument they had and clearly Lipika was known for her revengeful nature, and that even the slightest of things would leave her filled with vengeance as she couldn’t take anyone not agreeing with her.
“Could Lipika be involved in the murder in some way?” asked Venkat, “She seemed to look quite satisfied with the news.”
“People with vengeance can look very intimidating but we can’t be sure. This does look like a murder to me, blood oozing out from hands and legs shows the murderer was heartless and intended to give a painful death”, added Seshadri. “Venkat, I feel there is a missing link to the whole story. I don’t get this feeling too often and I can bet a hundred samosas on this.”
Venkat laughed, “Seshadri, can we ever talk about anything beyond samosas, your soulmate?”
We are yet to decide on how to take the next chapter.