Getting bail for Savitri proved to be a minor legal snag, which Kartik got over, expertly. Then Kartik and Radha met the Iyers at their hotel room.
“Savitri, we need to talk,” Kartik declared with finality.
Silence. Savitri kept looking down at her wet hands. Large tear drops were falling on them.
“Hey, I’m your lawyer, damn it!”
“Anna, cool it. I’ll try,” Radha suggested and turned to her friend. “Savitri, you’ve lived with us for almost 10-15 days. That way we have some kind of bond, between us. I want you to be happy, not behind bars for crimes you have not committed.”
“Listen, you don’t have any right to suffer silently. Have you ever thought of your parents? What they are going through?”
Savitri covered her face and started sobbing.
“I did not want to hurt my parents. That is why I refused to talk. What happened was so shameful for me,” Savitri wiped off the tears and continued. “That day, I returned home from college earlier than expected. My parents had not returned from the temple. I had a key, so I let myself into the house. I went into the bathroom to freshen up, when I heard the main door close behind me. I turned and saw Rajan come forward menacingly. His intentions did not seem good. He chased me all over the house. After a few minutes of struggle, I could lay my hands on the kitchen knife, Mom, which you had very conveniently left on the dining table. When he came too near for comfort I plunged the knife into his chest! He was dead within minutes.
“For a few seconds I stood there. My dress was torn; there were blood stains on it. Luckily for me, he did not shout for help. By the time, I reached the bathroom, I was crying uncontrollably. I had to do something, then. I wanted to get away from all that was happening with us. So, I washed up, changed into new clothes in the bathroom, packed the torn clothes in a polythene bag and left the place.
“I was still crying, internally. I threw the bag in the nearest dustbin. I went to Dadar station and caught a Virar fast local train. When I entered the blue first class ladies compartment, Shruti was writhing in pain. She had already been stabbed. She was God sent for me. I took on her identity for some time to peacefully sort things out. It was easy. We were of the same built. After all, Mumbai is a vast city, where one can lose oneself very easily.
“Mr. Mahadevan, I saw a man jump off the train on the other side of the tracks, when I got in. Shruti was stabbed by her husband. She told me before dying. She also told me about her diary which was in her bag. From her diary I could understand that her husband used to torture her for dowry and she was running away from him.”
“Can you identify Shruti’s husband?”
Yes, I think I can.”
Then Kartik took them to the police hospital’s morgue and pulled out a casket from the wall. Savitri screamed on seeing a man’s blood-stained head and turned away to her mother!