Hemanth had been with us the whole time. We had earlier asked the others, albeit not with as much venom as the CI did if they knew anything about the whole incident before we call the police. None replied in the affirmative, so we went ahead with the call to the law enforcers.
I had previously come up with a theory to explain the whole episode. Only in my head. I had not ventured to share it with anyone. Some guy who thought he had one too many balls had gone up to the terrace overlooking the cemetery and must have been sleeping, drinking, whatever. Fuelled by my imagination, this thought led onto the sensational one that he had seen/encountered something out of the ordinary which freaked out the poor guy. In his obviously frantic attempt to run away from the apparition(?), he had been clumsy and must have either fallen or hurt himself after having struck something on the way, which explains all the blood. True, the theory had its gaping holes.
Supernatural stuff, I knew, humans, even the police, could do nothing about. We didn’t know what to expect from the police when they trudged towards us in the Jeep, but certainly, his clear pin-pointed accusation was totally unprecedented.
All of us looked at him in shock. The guy seemed genuinely shocked too, but he could have been acting the part of his life. He was pleading with the police that he didn’t know a thing. The CI looked at him for a second and impulsively looked at the rest and asked, “Take me to the terrace!”
So, the entire bandwagon started up again. A friend of mine who was very awed by the CI went over to him offering to take pics of all the blood-strewn places on our way. The inspector didn’t pay him much attention. My friend, however, went clicking all the way, all the while beaming like the morning sun that was due in about a couple of hours. Anyway, we tried to explain all that had happened to the police as we went up slowly, showing the blood and illustrating the episode. The CI didn’t say much but did not take his eyes off Hemanth and our hapless watchman. As we neared our flat, my enthusiastic friend offered to demonstrate what he thought had happened outside our door. He duly went up the flight of stairs leading to the terrace, made an excellent job of acting scared and flew down the stairs. While turning around to take the next flight of stairs right beside our door, he made a shoddy job of falling on our door while doing so. That, he declared was why we heard the thud on our door. I had a couple of doubts about it all but didn’t want to spoil his portrayal of the scared sprinter.
Once on the terrace and after having shown everything, the CI summoned Hemanth and asked him if he knew a couple of guys giving him their names. The way he asked questions, even such simple ones really made us think again of the incompetence of the police. Surely, this man, notwithstanding all the foul-mouthed language, knew how to deal with crime.
Hemanth replied that he knew them and as the conversation went on, we could make out that these two guys had once stayed at the apartment and still frequently came to our building. They had come that very evening according to Hemanth and he had had a rendezvous with them. This puzzled us, what did they have to do with all of this? We wanted to ask the CI but couldn’t muster up enough courage.
As it was nearing 3 AM, the defining moment of the entire night came upon us. The CI after having taken our names and numbers went back to the watchman and asked him, again a very simple question. “When did this actually happen?”
The moron replied, “Why sir, just about 10-15 minutes ago”.
We sang out in unison, “Sir, it’s been almost two hours, sir…”.
The Circle Inspector looked at him and seemed to be searching for words to say. After about a minute of staring, even the loudmouthed CI had to give up. Such was the foolishness of our watchman. Legendary.
He instructed a constable him to take Hemanth and follow him. We could see the investigation seemed to have come to an end. The constable shouted into the night, “Ramesh, take him into custody” with the last word spelled with much emphasis. Hearing the orders being barked, Hemanth was close to tears. We felt for him.
Once back on the road, the CI said that their work was done and he was about to go back into the Jeep. In the background, the other policemen were standing around giving poses to my overawed mobile camera happy friend. The scene looked so out of tune. To the CI’s query as to what they were doing, they replied, “Sir, we have just been to an investigation. We need to take pictures with us right!?”
And so, they went off, with a new passenger in their already congested ancient vehicle. As the vehicle went away spewing dust, we looked at each other, What Just Happened?
The epilogue was delivered the next evening by Hemanth himself.
Coming back from work, I saw him head to his flat with some “curry packets” in his hand. I called out to him and asked him what he was doing back home already.
He then told me what happened.
The two guys he was asked about the previous night had had an argument resulting in one guy stabbing the other. A drunken brawl on the street next to ours. The wounded guy in his bloody ordeal came looking for Hemanth but forgot the flat he stayed in. Apparently, he came all the way to the terrace, realized that there were no more floors above, panicked and ran away the same way he had come.
He luckily came across the police station and went in to lodge a complaint. In that complaint, he named Hemanth too. The exciting part was that that was exactly the time the police team came to us. The call to the CI was the key to all of this.
An inexplicable episode explained rather simply in the end.
I had mixed emotions on hearing it. Relieved to know that it was a mere non-fatal stabbing and nothing more, but at the same time disappointed that there was nothing otherworldly like in the X Files! No apparitions, no ghostly tinge to the incident. A very human and normal episode in fact. Anyway, I consoled myself, at least it was an exciting encounter if nothing else.
After this episode:
We Roommates: We try to open our door at the first knock.
Eager friend: Uploaded bloody pics on Facebook.
Hemanth: Wary of every guy who comes to meet him and terrified of khaki-wearing people, Auto drivers included.
Bloody guy: Underwent treatment worth a lakh of rupees.
Our opinion of the IPS: Slightly bettered.
Watchman: Being tortured every night by the nightly patrol team. (They visit every night and shout out his name, shaking him awake). Sadly, it hasn’t helped with the foolishness though.