The Zara Lone Case

‘Yes?’ It was the Lover of the Century, Raghu. ‘You have to leave this girl. It’s been too long.’ ‘I am so over her.’ 5 WhatsApp Messages, Zara Lone: ‘It’s my birthday. I hope you remember.’ 9th February. ‘This is insane,’ Saurabh kept chanting. ‘Ready?’ I said, putting on my helmet.

___

The victim is Zara Lone, a PhD student at IIT Delhi. She was found murdered in her Room, Number 105 at Himadri Hostel. ‘The point is, I found her body. When I went to wish her on her birthday.’ A Kashmiri Muslim Girl. Killed. The Watchman – We have enough against him to make an arrest. ‘Dean Saxena?’ ‘Is it true that you propositioned Zara?’ ‘You delayed her thesis. Asked her to sleep with you.’ ‘I am Keshav Rajpurohit. May we come in?’ ‘What makes you think you can investigate my Daughter’s murder?’ Safdar said. ‘You and Zara had no rishta. Now get out of my house. Zara could not have been a terrorist.’ I emptied out the contents of the safe. ‘Indian Rupees, 20,000. US Dollars, 900. Pakistani Currency, 10,000. Gold Earrings. Oppo.’ ‘How do you know ‘S’ is him?’ ‘We will find out.’ ‘Did someone from Tehreek-e-Jihad kill her?’ ‘I need to leave,’ Sikander said. ‘Why are you going to Srinagar?’ ‘You used your own Sister as a Drug Mule?’ ‘Yes. She slapped me.’ Captain Faiz, in Ray-Ban Aviators, waited for us. ‘Zara had an affair with Captain Faiz. I am quite sure.’ ‘Faiz gave her the Earrings?’ ‘You heard the news about Mr. Richie Rich? Saurabh was referring to Raghu. I had seen the news pop up on Facebook: The World’s Biggest Artificial Intelligence Firm had invested in Raghu’s Company. They had valued Raghu’s Company at 300 Million Dollars. ‘You have to call to tell him it is important for all of us to be there at the Prayer Meet.’ ‘I am the Villain. I have planned. I messaged who I knew would respond like a Loyal Pup. I started a chat with Keshav Rajpurohit. I sent him a message: ‘So you don’t even wish me anymore?’ ‘I had fallen in love with Zara,’ Faiz said, gaze still down. ‘Sikander sent me Gold Biscuits. She ended our relationship. She wanted to make a fresh start with Raghu.’ ‘But you had an affair?’ ‘Yes. But you don’t murder for that.’ ‘My girlfriend fucks a fauji on the side, doesn’t use protection, could be pregnant by him and, at least in digital emoji form, laughs hysterically when told my kids could be all black black, ugly.’ ‘How about I give both of you more than you would ever earn in your life?’ Raghu said. ‘All you have to do is tell the people to take Faiz.’

___

The carpenter raised the slogan above the shop by six inches. ‘Z Detectives.’ ‘Saurabh and I started it. We had helped the police on the Zara Lone Case.’

Chetan Bhagat, The Girl in Room 105, (Westland, 2018).

XX