25th October 8 AM Bangalore
Mayur was contented after interviewing the suspects and verifying their alibis. Now, it's imperative for him to travel back to Hyderabad. He should continue his work with the information gathered so far.
It was evident from the revelations made by the suspects that the plot was deeper than Mayur had thought. He shouldn't delay compiling the case details and discuss them with Prakash.
A hot bath in the hotel bathroom comforted him. It soothed his fatigue-filled, aching muscles. He donned formal dress - a dark maroon T-shirt and navy blue pants - while Aisha walked into the bathroom. After a quick makeup, he made sure his clothes were in order and then strode towards the balcony.
He wanted to give Aisha some privacy so she could get dressed. He opened the balcony door and stepped onto it. A mild winter breeze ruffled his hair; he inhaled some fresh outside air. The pleasant weather and invigorating freshness elevated his mood.
Mayur stared down at the street, leaning on the railings. He was standing nine floors above. The vehicles on the road, city buses, and cars along with a few motorbikes, appeared like toy vehicles. A blue police Jeep with a red siren lamp flashing reminded him of a past incident. He was a superintendent of police two years ago.
It had been an interesting case. The murder of a journalist. Mayur's boss, Mr. Suresh Reddy, wanted to close the case as early as possible. He was ready to make all the resources available to Mayur. After working for a fortnight on the case, Mayur was close to succeeding and was ready to arrest the culprit. He thought his successful investigation would boost his career. Mr. Reddy would be pleased to know about the progress.
But, on one fine morning, when Mayur had arrived at his office, his boss had summoned him. Mayur had been a bit disappointed as Mr. Reddy sounded rather upset over the phone. He had disconnected the call without saying anything much. Guessing something was wrong, Mayur went to his office.
Mr. Reddy had appeared more serious than he usually did and he didn't even tell Mayur to take a seat. Instead, he had shocked Mayur by insisting he stop the investigation and hand over the case file. Mayur guessed his boss was under pressure from the Home Ministry. He had asked the reason why Mr. Reddy wanted to close the case. Mayur had told his boss he was one step away from solving the mystery, but Mr. Reddy didn't listen to his appeal.
He had told Mayur there would be a threat to Mayur's job and even to his life if they continued working on the case. With goosebumps on his skin, Mayur had cursed the red tape bureaucracy and had stormed out of the office.
That bitter incident was one of the reasons why Mayur resigned from his post. He started his own brainchild - Dolphin Detective Agency. Though he was angry at his boss and a few co-workers, Mayur had made sure he remained cordial when he bade adieu to his job.
The police department realized they'd lost an intelligent young officer. That was the reason his close colleague Prakash consulted Mayur to handle the cases. Prakash knew Mayur's way of functioning and his accommodating nature.
Being his own boss, Mayur liked to work as a private detective and as a consultant. Though he had teething problems with his agency, he had steered it towards success in the last year. In its third year, Dolphin Detective Agency had made considerable progress. Mayur was getting cases not only from Prakash but also from local families to solve their feuds. The corporate organizations approached him to investigate the background information of their employees.
Mayur jerked when Aisha put her arms around his neck from behind. He inhaled a quick breath and turned around, holding her right hand. A jasmine scent from her hit his nostrils.
Aisha smiled wide with her neatly arranged white teeth glistening in the daylight. A dimple formed on her left chubby cheek. She kissed his lips, preventing him from speaking. The smell of red lip gloss, smeared on her full, open lips cheered him a bit.
"I love you," said Aisha. "You look so handsome."
Mayur put his hands around her neck and said, "You too look so beautiful in this green sari."
"Thank you," she said, loosening her grip on his neck. "I'm fortunate to work with you and have you as my close friend."
Mayur nodded. "I've never regretted having you as my junior. And thank you for the support you've been offering in the last two years." He walked her inside the room, closing the door behind him.
"I'm glad that you're happy with my work," Aisha said. "Please try to be open-minded if you've anything to suggest for me to improve myself."
He sat on a sofa and gestured her to take a seat beside him. "No doubt you're doing a good job and taking interest in the cases." He paused for a moment, looking sideways. "But I want you to be more proactive when I question the suspects. You're asking a couple of questions, but I want you to be more enquiring."
"I've been thinking my interference during the interview might annoy you. That's the reason why I concentrate more on making notes," Aisha said. "I will try to ask more questions now on as you rightly suggested."
He nodded. "Your well thought out and intelligent questions would definitely help us."
"Okay," said she. "I'm apprehensive of our stay which got extended by a day and I'm not sure how to convince my mother."
"I too am thinking of how to calm my sister and mother. My sister wanted me to return soon because of her college work."
"When are we leaving for the airport?"
"Soon," Mayur said. "Would you like to eat some snacks? I'm feeling hungry."
"Sure, I too am hungry."
Mayur picked up the intercom receiver and said, "What would you like to have?"
"Whatever you like." Aisha smiled.