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Chapter-1: Jyothsna went missing!


8 min read

Feb 24



The Present: Madhapur, Hyderabad

“You two, stop.” Shouted Jyothsna’s father beyond his vocal capacity. The anger is felt, the pain has filled the room, insecurities and the lost hope. Jyothsna’s mother stood at one corner holding her photo while I held Karthii’s collar demanding answers about her whereabouts!

“I’m sure he’s to be blamed, he must’ve done something.” I accused Karthii, not with personal aggression but with a clear understanding of the last message left by Jyothsna a few days ago which just read, “HELP.” What could’ve contributed to such a disturbing message? She got married to Karthii 3 months back at a private marriage ceremony in Himachal Pradesh. I was not invited yet I was a part of it!

“You want to blame me?” Karthii asked walking away, “I suggest you be honest to yourself, having hidden intentions and trying to frame me isn’t gonna work.”

“Well, if I am to have double intentions I would’ve straight shove this up your ass right away,” I said holding the bed-lamp post.

“Beta.” Cried Jyothsna’s mom wetting the photo glass frame with tears.

“Sorry man,” I said and tried to calm myself. Jyothsna is missing, this is unsettling! A series of mixed thoughts hurting my confidence in her being safe is diminishing as time passes by. Putting up a straight face and exhibiting hope is all I can do trying not to scare her parents.

“Truth is, we haven’t fought in the recent time. Everything is normal, everything is fresh as a bed of Lilly. Why would I even think to hurt her? And why am I being blamed here? Why are you letting this junkie accuse me?” Questioned Karthii turning to Jyothsna’s father while he remained silent.

“She is with you and if there is anything that is bothering her she should’ve asked you for help. I mean that’s the basic protocol a married woman follows, either she approaches her husband about it, or if he’s least bothered she turns to her father. If either of them doesn’t happen then something’s wrong with phase one I.e. with you. Why did she even reach out to me?”

“Papa, I don’t need to answer this junkie but I am answerable to you, that’s the only reason I am standing here trying to recollect what has happened or at least what could’ve happened. I’ve been to all the places she was last seen, and I’ve requested my clues team and forensic team to do a primary search on the premises. We didn’t find any suspicious marks, or prints in the area, objects are intact and everything seems flawless.”

“Well, then that’s the work of an insider/ someone who knows how it’s done by books/ someone who’s been working in the system/ someone who is known as a ghost investigator.” That’s what Karthii is known as in the block. A real ghost investigator, meaning he could even find the smallest of clues, and identify the impossible patterns, a remarkable visual illustrator, in the CBI they also call him the ‘ANSWER’!

“Sriteja, if you’re done blaming can we seriously think about Jyothsna for now? It’s been a solid 52 hours so far since we had her last contact. The last time when she called me, she said she was shopping at the Inorbit mall in a hi-tech city. She asked me to come and pick her up from the mall at 8:30 PM. I went there by 8:20 PM, we also planned to have dinner at Stonewaters, I reserved the table for us two at 9:00. The day is Friday! 17th of October.” Karthii said sitting on the sofa.

“When did she leave a text with you?” Uncle asked me!

“17th of October at 10:08 PM. The message just said ‘HELP.’ I was on a Mount Everest trek above 5000Ft, when I got down after the trek I switched on my phone, saw the message and it’s already been a day, I called Aunty on the 18th of October to inform the same, by then she already sounded disturbed, I took the next flight and I immediately reached here only to find out she’s been kidnapped or to the least of information, she went missing. My question is why? Hasn’t this so-called caring husband not been messaged? Why this junkie is texted when she is in danger?” I asked trying to extract more answers.

“How am I supposed to know that?” Karthii retorted.

“Who’s supposed to know then?”

“I don’t know, anyways who invited you here? Aren’t you done with our family months ago?”

“I called him. I believe in him, if not for uncle you would’ve not been married to Jyothsna.” Aunty replied loudly at karthii. “Sriteja has loved Jyothsna beyond and above love, he deserves to be here, I need him to be here.”

“Shut up.” Uncle shouted at Aunty for raising her voice at Karthii.

“I got my daughter married to a man who she loves, there is no debate about it. If you people can stop debating about who’s right and who’s not, what should be the line of action now?” He asked worriedly.

“I’ve requested a special team from the anti-kidnapping squad to track her down. In another two days, we should be hearing from them. I’ve also recruited two underdogs I know from the army to look after you two, we never knew what was waiting for us in our line of duties. We make enemies without our interference. You should be safe, I’ll find out who is the real enemy here. I’ll not be the one who does only talking!” He said and hugged Uncle.

“Your words earlier suggested this could be the work of an insider, who do you think might be helping them?” I asked trying to help.

“The investigation is on, I don’t have any definite answers right now but all I say is I’ll bring whosoever is that ass in front of the law and ensure he is punished.”

“Going after your job, you always ignored Jyothsna. That’s why she didn’t think of you when she was in danger, you cared the least.”

“True, I may have not picked up her calls always but I suggest you get the fact that I just don’t have a single family, when on duty I’m probably saving one more daughter from rape, helping a family to live another day peacefully, helping a deprived partner know who murdered their beloved. This is a part & parcel of my profession, I can’t simply ignore. But, never have I ever tried to put her in a place where I know It’s dangerous.” He said while we all remained calm and Aunty seemed uncontrolled. I tried giving some words of comfort but couldn’t help her.

“Sriteja, you are the one who loved her more than any one of us here. You should find her for us, at least for me. You remember? The first time you came to me and asked to marry her? I’ve always believed in you but things didn’t materialize, she chose to marry him. I’ve always been approved of Karthii, but as a son, you are the only hope we have! I suggest you stop fighting and start finding answers we need to find Jyothsna.” Aunty said seeking help. True, I’ve loved Jyothsna beyond and above love but life never really participated with me in that event, it distanced me! You know fate and future are two unquantifiable bodies that are inversely proportional yet play with each other irrespective of the line of control on the events. You can only believe and stay strong to make things happen but in the end, sometimes your contributions mean nothing, sad but true.

“So, we just wait until we hear from the team?” I asked Karthii.

“Do you have a better plan? I suggest you run behind the unseen entities and spirits you always love to hunt. The soul and the heart games!” Karthii said provoking me but in bits and pieces he’s right that’s what I am, a part paranormal investigator and a theoretical physicist, a curious man who runs behind the afterlife, is it even possible? Well, I have my reasons to believe so. You don’t have to!

“Yes, I am. Those claims don’t anger me! Also, you can add I am a time-traveling enthusiast working on interplanetary afterlife traveling. Do you want to make fun of the things I do? I’m sure I can help.”

“I don’t mean disrespect but the things you do are always a point of mockery from day 1, the conversations we had have made no sense whatsoever. You seem impossible with those uncertain thoughts!”

“Ridiculing someone for their thought process, you are not the first and you’ll not be the last. That’s how we are built, what seems impossible to you to believe is not always a point of mockery. Winning an argument isn’t winning everything, context and the trust factor are essential to call yourselves mature. Are you enough?”

“I guess I’ve not graduated with the maturity degree, that’s why I catch criminals and hunt down anti-social threats but where did your so-called mature research take you? Ignore the people around you at least has it been useful to you? I wonder.”

“Not everything you do has to directly contribute towards progressiveness. Things take time!” I wanted to shout out giving my reasons but what’s the point in dissecting your argument when the other is a blind ass who isn’t open to ideas.

“I guess, hoping you’d not be left out of your life.”

“Everyone has a different idea of life karthii. I don’t see a point arguing with you here, I’ll find Jyothsna even before you start the advanced evidence proceedings.” I said while walking towards Aunty and touched her feet. “I’ll find her maa.” I said and reached out for the door, I opened the door, was half out, and stopped to remind him just one thing, “If I ever find out you are involved in this in any way,” I said closing the door and walking away.

I reached home, opened the refrigerator door, and emptied half a bottle of water, I sat on the chair on the balcony checked my phone for notifications left it aside, and fixed a peg of whiskey. Has it ever happened to you? A name, a simple name that could bring a smile to your face, just like that, for no reason? People call you with a name that isn’t yours and yet you feel delighted to respond? Whoa! Life is all beautiful surprises and Jyothsna is one such surprise in my life that I wish to cherish for the rest of my life. She came in at a point when I was having none in my life, it was dry AF, lab, research, and dreams, that’s all. I couldn’t have been happier in my life, she is full of life, energy, positivity, and above all, the craziness I needed in my life.

Her thoughts filled in while I rested sipping whiskey. Alcohol started killing my brain cells allowing my subconscious mind to take control. All I know is I still love Jyothsna and I need to find her!

Jyothsna! It feels good when I call her name out, just like that.

Jyothsna. I repeated. Sometimes love can never go away! You hold on to it, subconsciously you will tough guy.

When there is love, you don’t ask for it! The moment it leaves you realise how empty you can get. The shallowness of a heart is only to be felt, no matter how hard you try you still be hurt and the truth is no one can replace you. We all run into existential crisis only to question ourselves the purpose, the very idea of life.

Sooner or later you realise moving on is a myth!

Find Jyothsna and bring back things to normalcy. I owe her that not because I promised her mother, but because I loved her more than anything, anyone in this world.

Slowly I dozed off in the chair thinking about her. Where do I even start to reach her? The question just multiplied the pressure I have.


8 min read

Feb 24



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