“No it’s perfectly alright, you have done enough for me. And it’s getting pretty late, you need to be with your mother. See you then, good night!”
“Oh, okay! Good night. See you on Monday!” Kabir said as he watched Amaya hurry to the cab. “Text me once you are home!” he shouted and Amaya just responded with thumbs up as the cab drove away.
Continued from Part IV
A week went by there was no sign of Amaya. When he had texted her that night Have you reached home? He just received a yes. And nothing since then.
She wasn’t answering his calls or replying to any of his messages. When she did not turn up for work on Tuesday also, he started to get worried. He asked a teammate of hers at lunch about her whereabouts. She just told him that Amaya had some family emergency and so she had gone back home.
He tried to track Amaya’s phone through GPS, it showed to be in somewhere near Bandra. He tried calling her, convinced he was being lied to. It was switched off. Disheartened, he even went to her apartment and knocked on all five doors on the fourth floor till one of them turned out to be Amaya’s. Her flatmate told him the same story that Amaya had gone home.
In the coming week, Kabir kept sending messages to Amaya asking her if she was okay, if everything was alright at home, but to no avail.
I know you cannot just suddenly vanish. I could tell something spooked you at my house and it was not just a rat. Please talk to me. I REALLY like you and I’m going crazy here because I don’t know what went wrong. Did my mother say something to you by any chance? I told you she has Alzheimer’s right? Sometimes she says really creepy stuff… please at least tell me what’s wrong. I’ll wait for you at our terrace spot every evening. I hope you decide to come and talk to me.
By next Monday, he started believing that he had, in fact, scared her off somehow and she was not going to come back. He tackled one of the minor flunkies in HR and was told she had not resigned. That was a relief. She’ll be back. After all, how many days would the company let her be on leave?
Every day he took a bottle of whisky and a couple of packs of cigarettes to the terrace and sta there, feeling sorry for himself until it was time to go home. She did not come. This was his fourth day. Sitting on the terrace he poured himself one drink after another and felt a certain relief with every puff of his cigarette.
It was 9 p.m. already. He was on his fifth drink and the third cigarette when he heard the terrace door open. He quickly stubbed the cigarette out and turned around to find Amaya standing there.
“Hey! You came back! Wait, am I dreaming?” Kabir said, words tumbling over themselves.
“No, you’re not. I’m here. I’m sorry I vanished suddenly but I had a family emergency,” she said.
Kabir rushed to hug her. She did not hug him back; she could smell the smoke and alcohol on his breath.
All of the past week she had spent stalking him. She had managed to find a contact at an unexpected—and right now—a fortunate place. A friend helped access his records at Amity so that she could know his father’s name. Meanwhile, she tried to search for a certain Anu on his Facebook connections only to find two profiles; one was married and settled in the US and the other one was based in Mumbai. There were no posts on it since November 2016. The profile security was set so that those not on her friend-list couldn’t see much apart from her profile photo and cover photo.
A distant cousin in the police department helped her fish out some more details on the death of Kabir’s father. Kabir’s father was a drug addict who had been sober for five years until the day he lost his balance from the terrace of his office building and fell; his eleven-year-old son, Kabir, as the sole witness. Kabir could give no explanation to why the father and son were at the terrace in the middle of the day. On post-mortem, the body was found to have consumed a lot of cocaine. His death was chalked up as an unfortunate accident.
As she tried to distance herself from him, Kabir frowned and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing I just came to tell you that I’m fine but I’m not in the headspace to date anyone right now. I’m sorry.” Amaya had a deadpan face but her eyes avoided his.
“You are lying!”
“I’m not! I just cannot be with you… or… or… anyone,” she said.
“Oh no, please don’t do this! I love you. Please don’t leave me!”
“I’m sorry… I can’t…”
Kabir started getting angry. “You… it’s women like you who don’t deserve to be loved! All you deserve are jerk boyfriends and fiancés who dump you. Because when a guy truly loves you, you don’t value him. Shame on you!”
Amaya stood there stunned. “I never told you about my ex or my broken engagement. Have you been stalking me, you creep?!” She turned to walk away when he caught her by her wrist, pulled her in an embrace and forcefully kissed her. She somehow managed to push him away horrified but he caught hold of her again. “What is wrong with you Kabir?! Let me go!”
“You’re as stubborn as my mother, aren’t you? You think you are so strong, independent, beautiful and kind, don’t you? Too good for the likes of me, eh? Just listen to me once and then you can go.” For somebody who was drunk and slurring a bit, Kabir’s grip was quite strong. “I know it must have freaked you out to discover that I have stalked but…”
“Let me go! I don’t want to listen to any of this. You are scaring me, Kabir!”
“Shh… shh… just listen to what I have to say. I’ll let you go then… promise!” There were no construction workers in the building by now, she realized in panic, regretting her decision to meet him at this time and place. Kabir was not bothered by Amaya’s screaming but it was a little too jarring for him in this drunken state.
“So as I was saying. Yes, I did stalk you and it is unacceptable but my ex repeatedly cheated on me. I wanted to make sure I knew as much about you as possible before I worked up the guts to ask you out. I’m really truly sorry but I fell in love with you the day I first met you! It was love at first sight for me! I promise to keep you happy forever. You know… you know… I… I’m not ever going to cheat on you like Anu or… or… like my father cheated on my mother. They got what they deserved and… I’ll never do that to you.”
Seeing the anger and frustration in Kabir’s eyes, Amaya’s blood ran cold as she realized that Kabir was a murderer!! He had killed his father and his ex! So his mother was right… oh my God! Amaya’s panic froze her into total numbness.
“Kabir please let me go… I haven’t harmed you… just please let me leave…” she tried to sound as calm as possible.
“No no no! You don’t get it. I love you and we will be very happy together! Amaya, please marry me! I know this is sudden but when you know… you just know, right?” His grip was still strong around her wrist, and his eyes had a wild, lunatic look.
“Alright, al… alright! I will marry you,” Amaya said. She held his hand and pretended to relax. She then gently guided him to the corner where the bricks lay. “But I need this to… to be a proper marriage proposal you know…”
“Oh! Of course my love… anything for you!” Kabir said as he went down a knee. “Amaya my love, will you marry me?”
“I will!” Amaya too went down on her knees to kiss him. While they were kissing, she picked up a brick and smashed it on his head and ran.
She could hear Kabir screaming in pain. She had almost reached the door when he grabbed her again. They both fell and Kabir quickly pulled her by her legs and picked himself up simultaneously. He then caught by her hair and forced her to get up too, “You girls don’t understand, do you? Huh?!”
“Kabir please let me go!” Amaya started screaming and sobbing.
“All of you are the same, aren’t you? You were my seventh girlfriend Amaya, my seventh attempt at love,” he said through gritted teeth as he dragged by the hair to the corner of the terrace.
“Kabir stop it!! Help!! Somebody help me please!!!!”
“Nobody’s coming darling. It’s just you and me. You know seven is my favourite number. I named you subject seven… I… I had such high hopes from you! But you disappointed just like the rest of them and now you will be punished for it! Why do people disappoint those who love them? My father didn’t give a damn about anything but his filthy drugs! What use is a human being if he can’t care for those who love him with all their heart? He might as well be dead!”
“No Kabir! Please don’t! I made a mistake! I’m sorry..! Please let me go! Please!”
“Too late… my love.” With one swift move, he banged her head on the concrete, knocking her unconscious. Then he pushed her over the edge. He stood, looking at the unconscious girl float silently down the side of the building and land on the wet ground below with a dull thud. There you go. You were quite promising really. Now I’ll have to start all over again. What a bore! He shook his head irritably, feeling sorry for himself.
It had been a couple of hours now. He had finished his bottle. He had thrown her to the rear of the building, still littered with filth. He backed away from the edge of the terrace, feeling giddy. It was the same feeling as when he had pushed his father.
I should probably call the police now. My alibi is perfect. I was dating her, she vanished—I was heartbroken and depressed and hence drinking. She came here because of my texts but I was too drunk. She tried to help me get up but in my drunken disorientation, I pushed her away. She lost her balance and since there was no parapet she toppled over. I tried to save her and stumbled. I fell down, hit my head on this brick and passed out. When I came to my senses I understood what had happened and called the police.
Kabir stood at the edge of the terrace, his loose tie fluttering in the wind. Through the smoke of his cigarette, he looked at the cityscape with its twinkling lights, wondering once again if what he had done was right. Staring at the horizon his thoughts travelled back to the fateful rainy day when he almost fell in love with her… Amaya. The name meant immeasurable – that is the much he loved her, until a few hours ago.
He now fished out his phone and deleted all the voice notes. I’ll burn the journal and all the photos I have on my bedroom wall when the police let me go home tonight, he thought.
“Perfect,” he said, smiling smugly, dialling 100.