Chap 73 – In the thick of it!
Helloooooooo Sunday Sundae yet again!! Jeez Diwali is over and New year has already begun 😉 Today’s serving is longgggggg. Please read slowly, and savour. Now we’re in the thick off it…Patel is a very happy man, Maan and Geet are very worried people…not to mention Chotu and Babli..but they’re doing well as can be expected 😉 Do comment love to read and reply. Tell me what you like and what you want more off! Yeah yeah….I know I know …but har waqt who tou nahi hata naaaaaaaaa? Hahahahhahaha love ya all 🙂
“Its just ringing and ringing.” Pinky screwed up her face staring at Adi. “ usually she answers quite quickly.”
“ Huh huh!” Adi laughed nervously. Pinky just ring Geet!
“Yes Ok,” Pinky dialled Geet.
Pinky’s eyes widened and she paled.
“Geet! Its Pinky, why are you sounding so scared?”
“P..Pinky! Some man just called said he had Chotu and wanted 50 lakhs. Pinky ..Chotu! He is so small!” A heartbreaking sob broke out from her.
“Geet it could be just a hoax,” Pinky said weakly.
“I..tried ringing Babli but she is not answering. Let me call Jaspal sir.”
“Ok Geet, don’t worry I am sure everything is OK.” Pinky hung up and looked up to see Maan staring down at her.
“What is it? Is Geet in trouble? Pinky tell me now!” His distress was evident.
“Its Chotu! A man called Geet and said he had Chotu …h..he wanted 50 lakhs. She is trying Jaspal sir to see if its all a hoax. I t..tried Babli but she is not answering.”
“Adi get the money arranged.” Maan barked, “where is Geet? Tell her to go home I am going to Rupnagar!”
“Maan!” Pinky groaned, “if I know Geet she would already be heading there knowing that you are going to be right behind her.”
Running his hand through his hair Maan stared at Pinky, knowing what she said was the truth. Just then his phone rang.
“M…Maan…..he says he has Chotu! Maan….” sobs wrecked her. “I called Jaspal sir and he said the children hadn’t come home after school, he had already been out looking for them.”
“Where are you?” He was already flying out of the door.
“Er…I am near home…” she controlled her sobs drinking them back because she knew it would help anyone lest of all Chotu.
“You stay at home, I am going to Rupnagar.”
“Maan….” Her hushed pained voice almost killed him.
“Ok Ok, be ready grab a few things from home and I will pick you up. But don’t think that if there is even a hint of danger that you are going anywhere near it.”
“Thank you Maan.” it was heartfelt, she knew he would be torn in two by taking her into danger again.
As soon as she cut the call another one came through.
He was laughing. “Geet double paise le aana….your little sister decided to rescue her brother, and now I have got her too!”
“Babli?” No wonder she wasn’t picking up her phone. She walked into the house with the phone glued to her ear. Daadima looked up from her paper and saw Geet’s troubled face and immediately realised something was dreadfully wrong.
“Who are you? Geet shouted now she was really angry. “If you harm one hair on their heads you are going to pay.”
“We will see..”Patel said, “but until then, you pay me first or you will not see them again!” Cutting the call.
“Geet?” Daadima stood and walked over to where Geet stood visibly shaking and pale.
“D..daadima someone has Babli and Chotu! They want money.” Blurting it out she almost bit her lip as she saw how daadima swayed in shock.
Muttering a loud curse to herself she lead daadima to the sofa, whilst screaming for Nakul to bring some water. She shouldn’t have blurted it out like that, knowing daadima’s fondness for the kids.
“I am OK beta,” Daadima righted herself. “Have you told Maan?”
“Yes he is coming to collect me, I need to grab a few things.”
Nakul ran in with water.
“I cant believe someone would hurt Chotu and Babli!” Daadima sniffed into her hanky.
The tray slipped from Nakuls hands and he paled. “Chotu ko kya hua?”
“Err Nakul, please dont worry,” Geet said pushing him down into a sofa as he looked about to faint.” Everything will be all right, nothing will happen to them” Geet tried to assure them and herself.
Suddenly both Nakul and Daadima sprang up.
“Where are you two going? Geet asked worried about the state of them.
“You will need cash!” Daadima replied making to go up the stairs.
Smiling through her tears Geet hugged Daadima. “Maan is coming.”
“Chotu! Babli!” Nakul pulled out a hanky and blew his nose loudly. He couldn’t bear to think anything could happen to Chotu. “Babyji I have some money too, I will go and get it.”
Geet smiled and thanked him. “Nakul its enough that you have offered, I know you love the kids too. I am sure Maan has arranged finance and I am sure we wont need it, we will find them both safe and well.” With that she raced up the stairs to pack a few overnight things she knew Maan would be driving home like a bat out of hell.
Daadima sighed and sat down again, whispering a prayer. “You just get Babli and Chotu back safely. Nakul please pack something for their journey, quickly, Maan will be here any minute.”
“Haan Daadima, I’ll do it now.” Nakul ran to do as he was asked.
“Geet! Are you ready?” Maan ran in, he was on a call to the ACP. “Yes, Rupnagar, Chotu and Babli. Err Chotu is seven, dark hair, brown eyes, Babli is eight, long dark plaits and big dark brown eyes. Both are missing since after school…..No..I know its not been long but these kids would never go off anywhere, they are very responsible especially Babli. And we have received a ransom demand and threats…..yes…..yes, utmost discretion is required. Sir these children are precious please do everything you can to find them…..Yes myself and Geet are heading that way. ”
Daadima watched his anxious face.” Maan beta everything will be all right you will see.”
He saw her hands twisting anxiously in her lap and smiled. Bending down he hugged her, “Daadima don’t worry, the whole of the police in the area have been alerted. I am sure we will find the children soon, safe and sound. After all Rupnagar is a very small place someone, somewhere would have bound to have noticed something or someone odd.”
Geet came flying down the stairs with a bag in hand, almost tumbling down the last few.
“GEET!” Both daadima and Maan screamed anxiously in unison.
“I’m fine, I’m fine..” she muttered at the glare on Maan’s face. Was he going to be treating her like a china doll all the time now?
“Maybe you should stay at home!” He growled.
Geet opened her mouth to throw back an angry reply. “No Maan, she knows the place really well, and the people, you must take her with you.” Daadima’s words rang out.
“Thank you daadima that’s just what I was going to say,” giving him a fierce look she grabbed her bag and hugged daadima. “Chalo I ‘m ready.” Only for Maan to glare back and take the bag off her.
Daadima grinned and shook her head at the both of them making a brave face.
Huffing and puffing Nakul came running in with a basket, “take this with you, and please bring them back safely.” he gasped out, handing the basket to Geet.
“Don’t worry everything will be fine.” Geet assured as Nakul blew his nose again.
Taking daadima ka aashirwaad Maan strode out to the car, leaving Geet to run after him.
Daadima sat back down on the sofa with a heavy heart.
“Shall I make some tea?” Nakul gently asked.
With tears in her eyes, Savitridevi nodded at Nakul to find that he too was wiping away tears that flowed down his cheeks.
“Haan Nakul, make a big pot, its going to be a long night.”
“Chalo Geet we are getting late!” Maan jumped into the car almost pulling out before Geet had strapped herself in. He drove out of the gates completely in the opposite direction to the road that went to Rupnagar.
“Maan! You’re going the wrong way.”
“No I am not.”
“Yes! You are!”
“Geet! We are going to the airport. We are flying there. Its already night. The children could be anywhere..” his eyes darkened as he thought of them in all sorts of trouble, “by road it will take too long, this way will only take us an hour, we can find the children quicker.”
Glancing at his profile, she watched as put his foot down to get to the airport. Tears fell down her face unheeded, she thanked God yet again for blessing her with Maan.
Without taking his eyes off the road, he muttered, “Mishty, stop crying, we will find them very soon, I have spoken to ACP Gupta he has contacted the police in that area, and of-course Jaspal sir and the rest are already out searching for them.”
Glancing at her he smiled,“besides on that road from hell we always meet up with the most lunatic of people. I don’t want to risk that today!” Sniffing, she nodded, as he reached out to clasp her hand in his with another reassuring smile.
“You bad man!” Babli shouted. “You let go off my brother! NOW!”
“Oyyyooooo!” Patel cooed, “quite the little fighter aren’t you?” He reached out again to grab her but she was too fast for him. Running around behind him to Chotu she quickly realised his gag, skirting out of the way as Patel ran towards her.
“Chotu scream!” Babli shouted at him hoping someone would hear. Dodging Patel, she started throwing whatever came to hand at Patel, stones, bricks, sticks, anything.
“Helpppppppppppp!” Chotu screamed kicking out at Patel as he passed by.
“Ouch!” Patel screamed as a stone hit him on the head.
“Stop it!” he screamed, As Chotu kicked his bottom hard, when he bent to pick up the gag Babli had thrown to the floor.
“You two terrors! I am going to teach you a lesson!” Patel pulled out a big knife and threatened Chotu with it. “You get here right now or else I am going to cut his fingers off!”
Babli stopped running instantly her eyes wide with fright.
“Y..You leave him alone! I will do whatever you say.”
“Didi run!” Screamed Chotu, “I will get this bad man!” Chotu stomped on Patel’s foot really hard making him scream and hop about in pain. After he stopped hopping Patel saw red, his face became very menacing and he grabbed Chotu by the neck.
“No, don’t hurt him! Chotu!” Babli said running towards them both. “I cant let him hurt you!”
Laughing loudly, Patel grabbed Babli roughly and tied her up next to Chotu. “Now! That’s better
You two can sit together. This is such a bonus, I was just expecting Chotu but Babli as well…what can I say…Jai Siya Ram!”
“You wont get away with it!” Babli said, “you wait my Geet didi and Jiju will be here soon and then you will get the biggest beating of your life.”
“Well little Babli,” Patel smiled a sinister smile, “I also hope your Sister comes very soon, she is bringing me lots of money. Once I get that, and the payment from your uncle for the maal we are delivering tomorrow I will be a very rich man.” He gagged Babli tightly whilst she glared at him.
“After I have all the money I will go on holiday…hmmm,” Tweaking Chotu’s cheek he asked them, “Where do you think I should go? Paris? London? Hmmm maybe South? Or perhaps I will go back to Gujarat…hmmm…better out of here before Pandey gets here, or I get bitten by a snake! So many here, I don’t like snakes!” he shivered.
Babli’s ears perked up, did he say Pandey? Wasn’t that the man who Jiju and Didi been after for such a long time? Was he coming to Rupnagar, why? What did Patel know about Pandey. She wanted to ask him so many questions.
Patel went to a corner of the room and sat down on a blanket, opening a packet of biscuits he started munching loudly. Chotu’s tummy grumbled in protest, Patel smiled a nasty smile. “I would have given you these but you two are really quite naughty, you don’t deserve any. You might not believe me but you know I am not really a bad man,” he said to the gagged and tied up children, “but I cant risk Pandey finding me here. You really don’t know him,” Patel took a swig of his homemade booze and munched on another biscuit, “Pandey is a bad man, you know he tried to kidnap your sister and …well anyway he is a very bad man. I am not like that at all, I just want money. So if you behave you will be fine.” He took another sip of his bootleg, his smile wide, “You sister she is something, ekdum phataka! She fights like a tigress, and that Maan, well anyway I am not going to hang around, once she drops off the money where I ask her to I am going…” he yawned and keeled over, promptly falling asleep with the loudest snore Babli and Chotu had ever heard.
Babli felt around with her tied hands and found Chotu’s small ones. She squeezed them reassuring him. Chotu nodded to her and wriggled closer to her warmth. In his inebriated state Patel had not bothered to light many lamps, the one he had lit blew out as a cold breeze flowed into the room. And now the darkness seemed even darker since Patel’s non stop chatter. Both the children sat huddling together, trying hard to untie themselves and stared into the night waiting for didi and jiju to come, they hoped it wouldn’t be long, the noises of the night were growing louder in the darkness.
Gullus was on stage. The Commissioner of Police was staring down at him and smiling. Gullus saluted smartly, looked up at him and smiled. A large medal was being presented to him, for bravery. The CP leaned forward to pin it on his chest.
Gullus grinned and smiled, “Yes Sir….”
“Yes, I ams the bravest officers in the whole four continents, thank you sir fors the promotions…”
“GULLUS! Wake up you Khota! The phone is ringing! Duffer, wake up!” Gulabo screamed so loudly it woke up the neighbours some distance away, but Gullu was used to her screaming all the time and his ears were trained not to listen. She pushed him hard when he still didn’t wake up. Gullus rolled right off the bed onto the floor with a thump.
“ CP sir! …my medal…”
“Stop dreaming and wake up!”
“I was havings a really nices dreams!” Gullus grumbled.
“That’s all it is, always just dreams!” Gulabo turned and went back to sleep. “ And don’t turn on the light it keeps me awake!”
Lest she heard, he quietly whispering curses at Gulabo under his breath and picked up the phone.
“This is ACP Gupta from Delhi. I have been told that Rupnagar comes under your jurisdiction?”
Gullus nearly dropped the phone in shock.
“Y..Yess..” Why was the ACP of Delhi calling him so late in the night. Oh dear what trouble was in he in now?
“Two children have been kidnapped from Rupnagar. You need to go start searching for them straight away.”
“Rupsnagars?” Gullus suddenly became alert. “Looks like alls thieves and bandits live theres.” grumbled Gullus.
“Keep your comments and opinions to yourself! And get on with what I am telling you. The children are related to Maan Singh Khurana a very prominent businessman of Delhi.”
“Mirchibhais!” Gullus blurted out. Why did mirchibhai’s name pop up everywhere?
“Mirchi..what? Gullu are you DRUNK? ACP Gupta stared at the receiver and wondered if he should call someone else sane.
“ Sorrys! Er..Sirs..nothings..nothings.”
“Ok then, the two children have been missing since this afternoon, shortly after leaving school. Go there now, there is a search party headed by Jaspal Singh the local headmaster already, contact them and start your own enquiries. I want regular reports. Understood? I want no stones unturned. Maan Singh Khurana is a good friend I want these children found quickly and unharmed.”
“Yes sirs! Straightaways sirs…err…sirs will there bes promotions?”
“Motions..What motions? Gullu are you sure you are not drunk?” ACP Gupta growled.
“Er nothings…right away sir.. going now sir!”
Grabbing his mobile, Gullus put the phone down and trudged to his bathroom grumbling that seemingly Rupnagar was ‘Chors ka aadas.’ He was about to turn on the light switch but he remembered Gulabo would kill him so he grabbed his uniform and started to dress in the dark. Whilst dialling his deputy Chandu.
“Hello?” a very sleepy Chandu answered.
“Chandus get dressed and pick me ups nows, we ares goings to Rupnagars!” Gullus whispered into the phone.
“But sir our pick up is in the morning!”
“Idiots ACP from Delhis called mes, he knows I am the smartests, Mirchi..er Maan singh Khuranas relations haves been kiddnappeds. Gets heres fasts! ”
“OK..” Chandu grumbled wondering if the ACP had lost his marbles. “I am coming.”
Wondering why his uniform was so unusually itchy, Gullu finished dressing and crept out to the door to wait for Chandu.