TPR Chap 74 – Forces are gathering!
Morningggggggg! Sundae Sunday is here again 😉 We are getting closer and closer…forces are gathering. I hope you will enjoy the detail I have written, lots going on and the thrill continues 😉
Funny moments, and tense ones…all in your ice-cream cup. This chap is longgggggggg OMG I cant believe I have written this much! Please do comment and
and tell me what you like and what you don’t! Thank you all for coming back have fun! :))
They landed outside of Rupnagar around one in the morning. The chopper blades dispersing the silence of the quiet countryside with brutal force, but it couldn’t be helped, every second counted. Throughout the journey, they had both been at a knife edge. Unable to comprehend that anyone would kidnap or try to harm the children. Adi had already called whilst they were on the go to say the money had been arranged and he and Pinky were on their way by car to them with it.
“I should have thought of it! Arranged security, brought them to Delhi earlier.” His thoughts burst from him as they hurried along the dark road.
“Maan…don’t blame yourself , it never even occurred to me that in my home village someone would even try such a thing.”
“Damn it Geet, we have to take them back now with us, I am not leaving them here any more!” He glanced at the dark fields and swaying tries. The chill in the morning air. Where could they be? What conditions were they in? How were they being treated? Violently he kicked at a stone.
“Nothing is going to going to happen to them Maan! They are fighters both of them.” she could feel his tension.
“I should have protected them.”
“They are my responsibility, Maan.”
“Shut up Geet, as soon as they are found they are going with us to Delhi. That’s final!”
“Maan I know you are worried about them, but we will talk about this later!” Geets eyes flashed at him.
“No. Its final.” He was not going to take any more of this stubborn muleheadedness from her. If anything happened to Chotu or Babli he would never forgive himself.
“Chup bilkul chup,” he growled with a look that said don’t push me any more on this. Staring at his closed face she decided not to push the issue any more.
Finally they reached, it took them a while in the dark to walk to the main road where Jaspal sir was waiting for them along with a few of the search party.
“Have they been found?”
“Nahi beta, but so many people are out looking for them.” Jaspal sir scanned their anxious faces, “We will find them soon don’t worry, they couldn’t have got very far, they are small and Babli is very responsible she wouldn’t have let Chotu wander far.”
“It’s become slightly more complicated sir, Geet has received a call from a man demanding ransom for them, he could be holding them anywhere.” Maan filled him in.
Jaspal sir, gasped in shock, “Kidnapping? Here in Rupnagar?”
“Who were the last people to see them,” Geet asked.
“Well…they were at school until it finished. Then I saw Chotu run out of the gate, and Babli too after him, there was a boy with Chotu…” Jaspal sir racked his brains but couldn’t remember…”Oh yes it was Munna. We asked him earlier and he said he hadn’t seen them……but now I am not so sure!”
Jaspal sir shook his head, Kidnapping in Rupnagar..then a thought stirred in the back of his mind. “Wait a minute, there was a man hanging around at the school gates a few days back. When I went to see what he wanted he ran away! I have seen him around town too, let me think.”
“Please sir, think hard!” Geet begged.
“Haan beti, now I am sure he was hanging around the chaiwallah’s shop the few times I saw him. Lets start there.”
They went to the chaiwallah’s house and woke him up. He came to the door in his night clothes.
“Kya baat hai Jaspal sir?” He asked rubbing his eyes and staring at Maan and Geet with a troubled look on his face. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No No, some children are missing and we wanted to ask you if you had seen any strangers in the area? I mean, most strangers usually come and have a cup of tea at your place don’t they.”
The chaiwallah scratched his head and had a think, “Thats true sir, but I haven’t seen any strangers in town lately.”
“Please think hard,” Geet begged.
“Didi, really I cant think of anybody…..wait…… there was a man and his very odd looking brother that came into town the other day but as far as I know they left that day, I haven’t seen anyone else. Which children are missing?” then he saw Geet properly for the first time. “Chotu and Babli, oh dear!”
They all looked at each other could that have been the kidnappers?
Maan questioned, “Did you hear anything unusual when they came to you? I mean what business did they have in Rupnagar.”
The chaiwallah gulped, he didn’t really want to say he had given them an idea where to find some illegal booze. “nahi sir, they didn’t really talk about anything. The man was fine but his brother was a little slow if you know what I mean, what a strange little man he was.” he felt guilty about lying to the Geet and the headmaster but he was sure those two had nothing to do with the children.
Jaspalsir stroked his chin. “Well…if you are sure….if you do remember anything call me at once.” He gave him his mobile number.
“Yes sir, err sir its nearly morning anyway, let me go to the shop and start making you all some tea, you could probably do with it on this cold morning.”
The rest of them all agreed, chilled to the bone they were.
“Sir, you go ahead with all the others, I will keep searching, you all have been searching all night.” Geet said,anxious that it had now been quite a few hours and the chailwallah was right it was very cold, she hoped that the children at least had some sort of shelter.
Haan we will keep searching Maan backed her up. Maan pulled out a wad of notes and handed them to the chaiwallah.
Yeh kya Sirji?
Sab ke chai aur nastha isme se lena. Make sure they are all fed well they have been searching all night.
Nahi sirji, those children are the children of the whole village, we all feel responsible. He tried to hand it back.
Just keep it, we dont know how long this will take. If you need more just say.
Thank you sirji. The chaiwallah happily went off to make tea and nashta for everyone. They all walked towards his shop.
“Sir, is there no transport we can get hold off? Car, bike? It will be easier to search the outer areas. Maan questioned, he so badly missed not having a car in this situation.
“One of the junior teachers has a motor bike.” Jaspal sir said. “I can get someone to fetch it.” saying that he sent one of his men to get the bike. “Yes who knows if they had transport, they may have taken the children out of the area.” Jaspal sir thought unhappily.
“Hmm..” Maan thought for a moment and replied, “even if they did have transport they would have taken them far, he asked Geet to bring the money to Rupnagar so I assume when he calls the drop off will be not too far.”
“Excuse me,” he said as his phone rang. “Adi, yes come into town when you get here, we are going to search the outer areas. Just ring me when you get here.” Turning he said to Geet, they should be here in an hour or so.”
Geet nodded, her hand clenched around her phone. She willed it to ring, she wanted to speak to the children so badly.
Chandu rolled up in the jeep at Gullu’s house and hooted. It was still dark, he muttered about lack of sleep, and didn’t really bother to look at Gullu as he climbed in.
Sir, are you sure it was the ACP from Delhi that called you? Chandu rubbed his eyes and peered into the dark road as they sped towards Rupnagar.
“Are you questionings my minds?” Gullus shouted at him. “Just keep driving!”
Yawning away Chandu kept his gritty, sleepy eyes as focused as he could on the road. They sped along the road towards Rupnagar. The air was fresh and chilly, Gullu fell fast asleep happily snoring away whilst Chandu drove only to wake up rudely as a loud horn woke him suddenly.
“HEELPPPPSSS!” Gullu screamed as chandu fought to control the jeep. “Idiots! Are yous tryings to Kills uss?”
“sorry sorry sir, but I am so sleepy, I need a hot drink or something!”
“Okays Okays stops at the next dhaba when u see ones! I am hungrys too.”
The sky was getting lighter as Chandu saw a dhaba on the road, he drove into it.
“Sir I just need to…” He said quickly getting off and heading in the direction of the conveniences.
“Okays Okays but donts takes longs.”Gullu grumbled stretching and sitting down on a khaatiya , absently itching his tummy.
“Kya lenge…………hahahahahahhahahaah!” The sardarji howled looking down at Gullu.
Gullus peered up at him.
“Why ares you laughngs! Idiots!”
“Hahahhaahahahahahah! Carried on the sardarji and was joined by a couple of people who were making tea and cooking in the kitchen. They all gathered around Gullus laughing their heads off.
Gullus jumped up angrily and reached for his badge only to find that the pocket that should be there was not. Instead he found it was quite padded.
Sir? Chandu’s came back and wondered why everyone one was starting at him so. Then he looked at him properly for the first time that morning. A giggle burst out from him and Gullus who had been looking down at himself in astonishment at the same time let out a shriek. Dressing in the dark, he had somehow managed to wear Gulabo’s seriously embroidered punjabi top, complete with slightly padded chest and which glittered and glowed fluorescent pink in the wispy morning light. He did look like a mad clown with his hair all in disarray, and his weathered little face screwed up in shock.
“Bhaisaab nautanki show mein ho?” Saradarji giggled.
“Idiots I ams a Polices Offcers!”
“Police officer!?” Laughed the Saardarji, “tum tou foolish officer laagte ho! Itna maaza subah subah khabhi nahi hua..chalo mere taaraf se chai aur aloo parathe muft mein..”.he laughed and walked off.
Gullus made to go after him but Chandu stopped him. “Sir, he is giving us free breakfast, lets eat all we can, we don’t know when we will get our next meal.”
“Okays!” Grumbled Gullu glaring at the Saardarji and looking down himself in despair. “Have you gots a spares shirt Chandus?”
“Err sorry sir no…..er but sir you have your disguise in the back, remember, and you need to wear that today anyway.”
Gullus groaned, stuck between a rock and a hard place at least the disguise would look better then the pink monstrosity.
After wolfing down a huge breakfast, Gullus changed into his little masters disguise giving the Saardarji and rest another huge laugh before they drove back on the highway, Chandu now wide awake and putting his foot down towards Rupnagar.
Back at the ruins…..
Babli woke up from her snooze. Chotu was leaning heavily against her, they had both managed to wiggle their gags off by rubbing against each other. Again, she began the task of trying to free her hands. She had managed to loosen the knot a little before exhaustion had set in and she had fallen asleep. Patel suddenly coughed and she looked at him in alarm, but he just turned and went back to his snoring.
She nudged Chotu to wake him. If she could manage to free them, they could both run before Patel woke up.
“Didi!” He woke up with a start, his sleep fleeing as he remembered where he was. Glancing at Patel he also made sure he was asleep before starting to wiggle to see if he could free himself.
“Chotu!” She whispered in his ear, “I have managed to loosen the rope a little, can u pull that bit,” she turned her head and sought out his hand to the bit she wanted pulled. He moved as close as he could and tugged at the bit she had indicated.
A dog barked loudly nearby and startled them all, waking Patel up from his deep sleep, Chotu and Babli instantly pretended to be asleep.
“Subah hogaye?” He grumbled looking at the children. Good, they both still looked asleep. Moaning and grumbling he got up glancing at his watch he saw ok for time.
“I cant wait to get my hands on the money and get out of here.” He picked up a water bottle and gulped it down. “Kitna gala sukh gaya tha!” then he saw the the children, “wake up! Here I told you I am not a bad man, have some biscuits and paani.”
“Oh how did you manage to get your gags off! You two are very smart!” he said prodding Chotu. Chotu grumbled and pretended to just wake up.
“You too guddiya, wake up! Eat something and then I have to go and pick up my money. After that if all goes well I will tell them where you are. Don’t worry. I am not a bad man.” he said yet again.
Patel sat in front of them on his haunches and fed them biscuits and gave them each a drink of water.
“Yes you are!” Chotu complained munching away as his tummy was quite empty. “Wait till my Jiju catches up with you, he is going to give you a good seeing to!”
“Is Pandey coming here?” Babli asked remembering what he had said the night before.
Patel’s eyebrows flew up in astonishment, “how do you know Pandey? How do you know he is coming here?” Patel looked around in fright almost as if expecting Pandey to appear suddenly.
“You said,” Babli replied and then after a thought, “I know you are not a bad man….” she tried diplomacy, “perhaps if you let us go, I will tell Geet didi to keep you safe from Pandey. I know he is a very bad man.”
Patel peered at her. She was one smart cookie for such a young child.
“Nice try little gudiya, but I am a bit long in the tooth to fall for that. And whilst its true, I am not keen on meeting up with Pandey at all. He is a very bad man, or for that matter your didi, or jiju!” he mimicked her voice, “I am sure after doing this they will not be helping me, but sending me straight to jail!” he pulled up her gag and went off to collect his phone.
“Now lets ring your didi and tell her to bring the money.” He dialled the number it was answered immediately.
“Geet. Listen carefully. I want you to drop the money off near the crossroads, where the Rupnagar road meets the road towards Delhi. There are some ruins there, You will see a large aam tree, at the base of that there is a large hole. Put the money in there. And listen no tricks or else!” It was quite close to where they were but not having any form of transport he couldn’t ask for the drop off point to be to far.
“I want to speak to the children!” Geet begged, her voice full of pain an anger.
“Here speak to you didi and mind, if you say anything out of place I will hurt Chotu!” Patel warned as he held the phone to Babli.
“Didi! We r fine! Dont pay him we are at…….”
Patel grabbed the phone off her and gagged her before she could give away any details.
“Just drop the money off in half an hour there at the tree! No tricks, no police!”
“But..but wait….!” Geet’s face filled with terror. Adi wasn’t here with the money yet. What could they do.
“Don’t worry Geet we will sort something out. Do you know the place he is talking about?”
“Haan its…” Geet felt sick, Babli had been so brave. Huge tears filled her eyes.
“Mishty!” Maan’s eyes too were filled with worry. He squeezed her shoulder in support, he wanted to gather her in his arms and tell her everything would be all right, but the truth was that he was just as worried.
Biting back a sob she said in a firm voice, “yes I know exactly where that is.”
“Good!” he gave her a smile full of love, then turned back to the job at hand. “Jaspal sir do you have a bag, a large holdall? We have to come up with a plan B since the money isn’t here yet.”
“Nahi Maan, but that grocerywallah keeps large hold alls in his shop.”
“Geet, call Adi and see where he is, he cant be that far.” Maan said as he and Jaspal sir went off to wake the shop keeper.
“Sirji ?” the shopkeeper said coming down from his rooms upstairs, “What happened? Emergency?”
“Haan we need a large bag.” The shop keeper peered at Maan, “err please come in, come in..” he said pulling out a huge bunch of keys and opening the door letting them inside.
“Funny that, I only have two bags left, lately people have been buying these a lot.”
The headmaster clicked. “Err have you seen any strangers, or anything unusual lately? Two children have been kidnapped from here.”
“Hai Ram!” He exclaimed. “Kidnapped! Children! ..well..” .he thought “..sirji now its not my place to say..and maybe its nothing but……..”
“Come to the point!” Maan exclaimed.
Gulping at Maan’s dark eyed glare he continued “Well sirji there is a man who came and bought children’s snacks and parle biscuits and lots of water the other day. I mean he has been in this area a while, but I have never seen him with children or anyone else for that matter.”
“Who is it?” Maan and Jaspal sir looked at each other in hope, maybe finally they had a break through.
“I think he is called Patel. He lives in an abandoned building as far as I know, the one that is someways out of town near the river not too far from the old temple ruins.”
“I know where that is,” Jaspal sir said smiling for the first time that morning. Maan paid for the bag and they ran out of the store, just as a jeep pulled up near the Chaiwallahs shop.
“Yeh kaun hai? The headmaster questioned, from their distance they couldn’t quite make much out.
Suddenly there was a shout, “ Those two!” Screamed the chaiwallah, “they were snooping around here the other day!”
The crowd of helpers abandoned their tea and nashta and rushed to the Jeep to pulled out its occupants and started hitting them.
Geet, Maan and the headmaster ran towards the action. There were screams coming from the middle of the commotion loud enough to wake the whole town.
“IDIOTS! I AMS A POLICE OFFICERS! I HAVE CAUGHTS THEIVES IN FOUR CONTINENTS!”
Geet looked at Maan, they both groaned, they would know that sentence anywhere….
“Inspector Gullus!” They both said at the same time.