It was 2 PM., during a March afternoon. The local train came to a halt at Andheri Station. She got down from the blue Ist class ladies compartment holding 2 heavy suitcases and a handbag. She appeared to be at the threshold of her 20s, beautiful and sober. As she walked away towards the over-bridge, another girl coming from the opposite side bumped into her. Mumbling an apology, the other girl ran towards the blue ladies Ist class compartment and was just in time before the train started again. As the train left the platform, picking up speed, screams were heard from the blue ladies compartment.
Trying to be unruffled by the screams, the girl with the suitcases turned towards the western side and boarded a rickshaw. She gave the driver an address on Yari Road and the rickshaw putted off. It took some time to find the address and finally, when she reached her destination, she ruffled through her handbag for the money but couldn’t find it. After a patient 5 minutes, she found the right sum, which she handed over to the rickshawwala and got down.
She carried the bags all the way to the 2nd floor of the building and rang the bell of a door after referring to the paper she had. A girl her age opened the door and the other girl’s face took on a questioning expression.
“I am Shruti Pandit,” the girl with the suitcases declared.
“So, Radha, you have to let her in for some time. She has come so suddenly that we can’t change our plane. We are going to America to my brother’s place, tonight. We don’t want any cousin to fend for herself, either,” Vijaya finished the monologue. Radha Mahadevan had no objections to it.
She found Vijaya, her friend from the dance class at Juhu, to be a chatterbox. Wasn’t it surprising that Shruti, the same Vijaya’s cousin was more sober and thoughtful? Well, they make all kinds; she thought and let that pass.
That night, Radha was woken by Shruti’s screaming on the other bed in her room. “Let me go. Let me go. Help!” When Radha shook her and asked, “What happened?”
For a vulnerable moment she was about to say something. But then, she shook her head and said that it was only a nightmare. This continued for about 10 days almost every day.
One day, in the afternoon, Radha was busy chatting with a friend on Facebook on her smartphone, when the bell rang. When she opened the door, she found a police officer and a lady constable standing in front of her!
“Where is Ms. Shruti Pandit?” the officer demanded.
“I’ll call her. Please come in. What is the matter?”
“I would like to speak to her.”
“Ok. Shruti, come here please,” Radha called.
Shruti came out of their bedroom and paled on seeing the inspector.
“Are you Ms. Shruti Pandit?”
“Y-yes,” she stuttered.
“Miss, you are under arrest for killing Ms. Shruti Pandit!”