In the middle of all the sadness and anger, a story that might seem pointless.
Arindam is an officer in the C***, a para-military force, presently posted in Aizawl. Last year he married Tuhin Babu’s daughter. This tangentially concerns me, because Tuhin Babu was my secretary when I was in P District and I hold him in high regard. A fine, earnest, good man of the old school. He asked to be transferred out of the DM’s office after I left, now he puts in his and gets home comparatively early. When I went to P in May, he took me home and his bright-eyed wife served me a superb lunch in a spick-and-span room thick with the scent of incense sticks. Afterwards, we walked in his tiny walled garden and he plucked fragrant limes for me to carry home to
Monday afternoon I got a call from Tuhin Babu. Upset, barely holding back tears. He was in Aizawl. His daughter and son-in-law had quarrelled over some trivial issue the previous Monday night. On Tuesday, Arindam came home in the afternoon to find his wife sulking in bed and no lunch. He went back to work. Driving home in the evening, he asked his chauffeur to drop him off at the airport. And vanished.
From Tuhin Babu and his daughter Indira, over a phone line that faded and crackled, I pieced together a picture of an unusual man. Sensitive, moody but considerate. A man who couldn’t get through the work-day without talking to his wife, yet struck her when his patience ran out. Who, after he drew money to buy an air ticket to
For three days, Tuhin Babu and I phoned everywhere. Bank. Home. Friends. Police. Colleagues.
My friend who heads the detective department in
Arindam does not have a cell phone, which might have made things easier. The bank inquiries paid off. His ATM card had been used for withdrawals at
Today, Tuhin Babu called me from
Ten minutes ago, Tuhin Babu called from a phone booth at the station. I cold practically see his beaming face over the phone. “Sir, Arindam has been found. My daughter saw him at the station, about to board a train for the North-East. I bought her a ticket, they’re together now, on a train home to Aizawl.”
Fairy-tale ending. Nice.