The Serenity Lake

He always felt paranoid while crossing the street as cars went zooming past him with breath taking speed.

 He always had a nightmare where a speeding car has hit him and he is lying in a pool of his own blood in the middle of the road, this recurring dream had made him even more scared of crossing the street.He hated going to work, his office was just across the street. A famous pharmaceutical company where he was a data entry operator during the day but as soon as he finished work, the real 30 year old Rishab Chaudhry rushed home.

An amazing artist who wrote beautiful songs and then composed mesmerizing music on his electronic keyboard, He sometimes bunked work and walked miles alone to reach his favourite destination , An Oasis of Serenity ad-mist a busy city full of chaos .A Beautiful lake called The Serenity Lake that he had christened as SHANTI,. He could sit with his feet immersed in this still water for ages without getting bored. He loved the birds chirping , the wind blowing on his face. This inspired him to create more beautiful music. He usually played The Violin on the lake and named the tune as Eternal Peace.When the beautiful music echoed on the lake , Rishab chaudhry thought ‘ No Materialistic Gadget, No Amount of Money, Stature, Prominence, Nothing mattered to him more than the soul-stirring music he was creating with his violin.

He had created his own space on this lake that was still unexplored by anyone. He feared that the day mankind found this heavenly abode they would commercialize it and he would see it filled with hawkers, boats and then filth all around.

Rishab had built a small hut there where he had kept his favorite books which he usually read when he stayed there in nights under the bright light from the lamp he had kept there.This was his home away from home.

At home he had a wife named Ruchi (29), who was the part of the higher management of a multi- billioniare multi-national company. She was very practical in her approach to life and in her eyes Rishab was just an ordinary failed musician who should look for a well paid job, rather than following his passion for music.

She showed no interest when he tried to sing to her a new composition or just play to her a new tune had just created. In fact she always taunted him for wasting hours in his room on his keyboard. they were like two people renting the same house living in separate rooms with separate lives.

Rishabh joked about the situation as he sat down to drink his cup of tea with contentment on his face. He was satisfied with the little money he was earning and he wanted a stress free job so that he could continue to create his magical music.

Ruchi usually worked from early mornings to well past midnight, she was busy replying to her emails to her clients working in different time zones even when she lied down to sleep. She had her reasons, she was a very ambitious woman , she wanted to be become a prominent name in the corporate world unlike Rishabh who derived pleasure only from satisfying his soul.

He had tried his hand at getting work in Bollywood, Music Concerts and many other places but he had been rejected. He had realized that in today’s world the only way he could get work was by creating a network or through lobbying.

But he was not very social, he liked living in his lost world near the lake. He had grown tired of waiting for Ruchi endlessly for her acceptance, acknowledgement and attention.Now they hardly communicated.He left her alone and kept no expectations, Whenever she showed him some love , it was the bonus he got.

Ruchi was embarrassed of introducing Rishab to the high profile successful people she socialized with.hence she mostly went alone on this social events usually on friday evenings. On October 15th , It was rainy Friday Evening as Ruchi slid her fingers across to unlock her phone screen . 17 Missed Calls from  Grumpy Old Man it read. They had saved their numbers as Grumpy Old Man and Grumpy Old Woman on their respective phones. She called him back but his phone was switched off.She attempted Umpteen number of phone calls all night but his phone continued to be switched off. It was strange but she was missing him, in fact craving that he could come home and she could hug him. It kept raining heavily all night and Ruchi stood there at the balcony looking outside.She could sense something was terribly wrong.

He did not come home that night. It was strange considering the fact that he did stay on the lake sometimes but one off night in a month and always informed her. It was she who sometimes forgot to inform him her timings. But Rishabh always called her at least twice a day to ask her how her day was. She had realized that no matter how much she had hated rishabh, but she actually waited for that call from him.His voice was a stress buster for her and she purposely ignored his music because she wanted to see him doing well in his life. It pained her to see him as a failed musician and doing a mediocre job in her own office.

She remembered her college days where a guitar playing Rishabh was a heart throb that every girl wanted to date. She had been lucky as Rishabh had got close to her. He was good at everything. He always got the highest marks even without attending class and he played flawless music at the college auditorium. He sang from his heart and had everyone grooving to his songs.

Her thoughts were broken by the buzzing of her phone. It was an unfamiliar unsaved number. ” Hello” , A Harsh Deep voice spoke from the other end. “Yes, Who is This” She said.

” Inspector Aslam Khan from Bandra Police Station” ” Are you Ruchi Chaudhry” He Replied

She seemed shocked and replied ” Yes I Am”

” Can you please come to the Police Station” He said and disconnected the phone

She folded her umbrella and entered the Police Station. It had been a stormy day.She saw a bearded man in the khadi uniform who came and addressed her

” Your Husband came here last night and asked us to give you police protection, He said someone might try to kill you” Said Aslam Khan

She made a irritated expression and said ” He has gone Mad” ” I am so worried, He has not come home last night” “Switched off his phone” “Idiot, Stupid, Fool, Moron  ” She said fumbling with her every word and almost choking.

Aslam Khan interrupted ” Why does he feel you need police protection? “

and who is Aniruddh Singh ” He asked

‘Aniruddh Singh’ she seemed shocked ‘He is my boss’

‘Sorry, we cannot give you any police protection’ This seems like a personal husband -wife debacle which needs to sorted by you both personally’ And sorry i cannot file a  missing persons report too as he seemed Hail and hearty, smiling and carrying a violin, it would be wasting time looking for someone who has left his house on his own , we have a lot of other more serious cases lined up to solve’ He said

A Shattered ruchi drove to the highway and started searching for the lake, she reached the quiet and silent lake in the middle of the city and saw his violin there placed in the hut he had created. Her photos were stuck on the walls of the hut, some of her favorite books were kept in the corner. These were the books she had lent him during college days. Some notebooks scribbled with musical notes .The hut had his presence, his aroma and she could imagine him sitting on the makeshift chair made out of pillows singing his favorite song “Barbadiyon ka Jashn manata chala gaya, har fikr ko dhuein me udata chala gaya ‘. She prayed with tears in her eyes ” God !!!!! Please send my Rishabh Back, I Love Him”

She Revisited the police station with her well connected boss so that the policeman would write a missing persons complaint and attempt to find Rishabh.

Anirudh Singh was a flamboyant Millionaire , He had earned a fortune from his ancestors who had all been in Politics. His father held an esteemed position as the Cabinet Minister and he had just been given the party ticket to contest elections from that state. He also ran a group of companies under his wife’s name where Ruchi and Rishab worked.

Ruchi was the Managing Director at the ‘ Ambika Group of Industries ‘ and the personal assistant of Ambika Singh who was the Director who never showed up in office. Hence Ruchi was the decision maker, she almost ran the entire business on her own and directly reported to Anirudh Singh.

Anirudh Singh was tapping his huge gold ring on the glass table as Aslam khan finished writing the missing persons report.” I want you to find him , Leave all your work and do this on priority basis. ” he ordered.

“Stop Crying” He said turning to Ruchi. “They will find him soon”. She wiped her tears and handed a photograph of Rishabh to Inspector Aslam Khan.

On the same night, the weather gods had been extremely rude and Aslam Khan was driving on the highway . The Road had zero visibility but Aslam noticed a man stranded across the highway. He slammed the breaks of his car and was astounded to see that it was Rishabh. He was bleeding profusely and was trying hard to stand up on his feet, It seemed that he had been hit by a speeding vehicle. He shouted in a high pitch ” What Happened to you?” Rishabh tried to speak but his mouth was full of blood, what he spoke barely made any sense. With great difficulty Aslam Khan lifted him in his arms and made him lie down in the back seat of his car.

He drove to Rishab’s house which was on the way and told him ” We will take your wife along , we should be immediately heading to a hospital.  15 attempts to ring the doorbell and bang the door met with no response. He decided to go back to his car. To his astonishment there was no one in the back seat. he looked around and then he saw Rishabh entering his house through the window. Aslam Khan followed him.

The House was in shambles as if someone had broken into and demolished the entire house. As he walked behind a limping rishab he saw some blood stains on the bathroom door. He shrieked when a crying Rishabh pointed towards the dead body of Ruchi lying in the bathtub A wailing rishabh said ” I had told you that her life was in danger, i had told you she needed police protection”

Aslam Immediately called the police station and the house was filled with forensic experts taking pictures , collecting blood samples. He decided to call Anirudh Singh but he saw it was 2.30 am and thought its too late to disturb him.

That is when he saw Rishabh chaudhry walk out of his house. Rishabh seemed rejuvenated , He had no bruise marks, no blood stains. He was wearing a shiny black suit as he walked with enthusiasm and stood near Aslam Khan’s Car

He sounded chirpy and happy . He smiled and said ” Can you drop me to Bandra -Kurla Complex. My Boss has promised me that he will fund a live musical event for me. It is the best opportunity of my life. He is a powerful man with lots of connections. I will become a famous name in the musical world now”

A Surprised Aslam Khan wanted to tell him that he sounded insane, his wife had just been murdered. Aslam Khan turned around to look at the house but it seemed a perfectly normal morning. There were no police cars, no sirens, it was not even night anymore. The house was locked and the clock showed 9.00 am.

Aslam Khan failed to understand how the time zone changed in one minute. He had just seen the time as 2.30 am a few seconds ago. Nevertheless he decided to drive to Bandra -Kurla complex. He wanted to understand the situation better and he wanted to investigate this case which had now transformed from a missing persons case to a murder.

He looked at Rishabh through the rear view mirror and he had closed his eyes, he was busy composing something on his guitar and he sang a melodious tune.

He followed Rishabh through the corridors of a multi national company. Rishabh stopped at a cabin which read Ruchi Chaudhry, Managing Directors- Head of Operations. He gleefully smiled at her through glass door and then aslam was astonished to see Ruchi who waved at him and raised her thumb as if gesturing the best of luck to him. Aslam Khan felt giddiness, his head was churning. He was not understanding these events. He had just seen her dead body in the bathroom. 

Rishabh Entered Anirudh Singh’s Cabin with a gleeful smile and said ” Hi Boss”

Aslam khan decided to hide behind a pillar and not alert Anirudh Singh who would not be kind enough to let him in his office premises.

Anirudh Singh introduced ” This is Mr Banerjee , The famous music director and judge of a musical reality show.” I have been talking with him about you and they have promised me to give you a break first as a contestant on their reality show”

“Ruchi played some songs to them, the other day and they really like your voice”

Mr Banerjee then signed a contract with Rishabh and gave a cheque of Rs.5 Lakh as signing amount for their singing reality show.

An jubiliant Rishabh jumped with excitement as Mr Banerjee left.

He then left the office with Anirudh Singh and they both waved a goodbye to Ruchi through her glass door , Anirudh offered to drop him back in his car and Aslam slowly slid into the back seat and sat on the floor and kept his gun ready, just in case Anirudh singh saw him. Anirudh said ” So, You will be a singing sensation now”.Rishabh Expressed Gratitude  “I am overburdened boss, you have made my life. Ruchi will be so happy when she comes back home and i give her the news “

Anirudh nodded ” Yes, I have done this for her happiness”

Rishabh Replied ” Thank you boss, I will never be able to repay you back. You are such a fantastic human being Boss. Not many people do this for others”

Anirudh’s expression changed ” I can propose a way you can repay me back.” He said parking the car near the lake., Rishab’s Shanti Lake.”So This is the place where you come after bunking work,Have u ever thought why i never cut your salary ?” Anirudh Said

An Embarrassed Rishabh said ” Sorry Sir, But now i do not need to work, i love only creating music. i hate doing anything else”

As they walked towards the Hut Anirudh Hesitatingly said ” You and Ruchi are two different people. You are a creative person and she is a woman with a strong business sense , i know everything about the your sad , mute relationship and i keep piling her with more work so that she stays back in office and gets more close to me” 

Rishabh Felt concerned ” What are you saying Boss ? ” He said with an angry face

Anirudh Laughed as he walked in circles and came straight to the point ” I keep staring at Ruchi through my cabin, She has flawless beauty and she looks immensely attractive. Not that i love her, or i want to marry her.  I just lust for her, she is my obsession and you can repay me back by …….” Before he could complete his sentence there was a  resounding slap which made him off balance

Rishabh stood there furiously grinding his teeth with tremendous anger ready to slap him again

Anirudh Said ” How Dare You ? ” with bloodshot eyes ” Do Kaudi Ke Sangeetkar, ” 

” I buy and use women like that in cents . This slap has blown away every chance you had in the music world” Now you can try, i will make sure you have no home and live in this hut on this lake all your life” I can sleep with her any time i want at gunpoint but i wanted to be a little decent as i thought i could maintain a healthy relationship with her and in the bargain make you something” Anirudh shouted in anger.

Rishabh had enough of it, He pushed Anirudh and with all his might punched him in the face breaking his tooth and making his mouth bleed.

Aslam Khan decided to intervene but he realised that they both could not see him, he was mere outsider who had travelled into a different timeline somehow to see this event from the past.

He Noticed the same badly bruised Rishabh Crying in the corner of the hut and then he turned to look back to the two men who were hurling brutal blows at each other when suddenly some more men entered and caught Rishabh by his arms.

Anirudh Picked up the violin and walked in circles again dragging the voilin on the ground around Rishabh who was held by his men

He hit him ferociously on his feet first breaking the violin and then ordered his men to beat him in a ferocious voice almost growling.

The Strong muscular men threw him around laughing. Each hitting him with immense power. Anirudh Singh was enjoying this and laughing out frantically. A Profusely Bleeding and Limping Rishabh was then left at the highway with cars zooming past him.

As Anirudh Sat in his car, he looked at rishab and said ” If you can get help and get home, tell Ruchi that her life is in danger and that i am soon going to barge into your house and fulfill all my desires and fantasies”

Anirudh singh parked his car at the corner of the highway across the street to see Rishabh struggle to get help and eventually die.

No One cared to stop for a  profusely bleeding man and if someone stopped Anirudh’s men would order them to get going and point at Anirudh’s car. His name was enough to petrify people. Aslam Khan saw him struggling , waving to cars that were speeding across. Rishabh then sat down in one corner and tried to call his wife, Grumpy Old Woman the screen read as he dialed and waited patiently , his face showed hope but she did not answer the call. He felt extremely agitated after numerous attempts he just slammed his phone when the battery died. It was turning dark and then it had started raining heavily too. Rishabh noticed a police car and waved at it, He limped across the highway in great speed shouting ” Help Me !!!! ” 

A Speeding truck that was being driven very rashly hit him minutes before the policeman turned around and blew him away across the highway and he fell exactly where Aslam Khan had seen him.

Slowly succumbing to his injuries , he was slowly dying. Anirudh singh’s men picked up the body and threw it into the lake. Loud sounds of melodious violin buzzed into Aslam Khan’s ears as he entered the lake. It was not pleasant anymore.. The melodious music did not sound like eternal peace. It sounded more like the music of death, ugly and very disturbing .Rishabh emerged from the lake walking towards aslam at alarming speed . Unusual footsteps limping fast drenched in blood.He almost flew towards him.

Aslam Khan felt heaviness in his chest, He felt giddiness, his head felt extremely heavy and he felt a certain uneasiness. He suddenly felt his eyes were closing and he fell on the ground.

He woke up with the same heaviness in his head and slowly struggled to open his eyes. He saw the road like it looks while driving a car, As he grew more conscious he saw that he was seated on the steering wheel of his car which was racing ferociously.He had no control over his hands..He then saw Anirudh Singh standing in the middle of the road folding his hands and crying. The Car hit him with a tremendous impact and he was blown away. Aslam Khan was petrified and wide eyed and he noticed sitting right next to him was a smiling Rishabh as the car turned around at the same speed. The Enchanting sound of Rishab’s voilin played as Anirudh Singh limped across the street and the car followed him and hit him again with the same intensity and slayed him.

Aslam Khan had no proof in hand to prove that Rishabh’s death was planned by Anirudh. His dead body was recovered from the lake and the reason for his death was the collision with the truck Hence he closed the case as a road accident. He also could not decipher how he got Anirudh on that highway and how he ran him over, hence closed Anirudh’s death case also as a road accident.Only if he had taken Rishabh Seriously on that night when he came to the police station.

“He might have been already dead then,.It was Rishab’s soul that come to the police station and on the same night he had appeared in his house and seen Ruchi standing in the balcony”

Ruchi’s death was investigated and it revealed that Anirudh Singh had forcefully entered her house and done what he had warned Rishabh before killing him. After filing the Missing persons complaint with Ruchi , Anirudh had offered to drop her home in his car and while on the road , he had revealed everything to her and demonic man had then forcefully entered her house by breaking the window and over powered her attempts to fight him. Many criminal offences of Anirudh singh were revealed and many other women he had exploited came out and spoke about him, giving their confessions. The Party lost elections and Ambika group of companies had to be eventually shut.

Aslam still visits the lake sometimes. He still sees a happy, smiling Rishabh sitting there with his feet immersed in water playing his violin, the music is mesmerizing , it is the melody of eternal peace. Many other people crossing that lake have heard the music but unlike aslam they cannot see the man playing that enchanting music. He also feels that all materialistic pleasures, prominence , statures, gadgets are nothing compared to the serenity of this beautiful lake resounding with the enchanting music played by a man who lived only to play soul-stirring music. but the greediness, lust and unrealistic desires of the materialistic world made him lose his life.” What a Waste !!! Success is not in the wealth amassed by generations of greed. Success is in our creativity, in our passions. we have lost the essence of life somewhere.and made earning money as our only basis of survival..” he says lying down in the makeshift chair made of pillows singing ” Barbadiyon ka Jashn manata chala gaya, Har Fikr Ko Dhuen Me Udata chala gaya “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “The Serenity Lake

  1. What do I say for this one? Its a perfectly written story which not only connects but turns that it takes just….. Let me use one of ur word mesmerizing . I think its time to publish ur frst book. Go for it jitya.

  2. Omg… I feel short of vocabulary to describe how mesmerising this story is ….the end of the story was unexpected …. Words were appropriately used to portrait love , creativity and aspirations on one side and obsession on the other to destroy the beauty
    Serenity lake may be an imagination but it makes all charachters look alive.. A very good one .. Once again

  3. Jeetu, this was awesome. Loved the flavour of this story and the way it kept the readers interest. Way to go bro.
    All the best for the next one.

  4. It was nicely narrated story. Never expected a murder in the story…
    Was thrilling but slow & a bit lengthy
    Aslam Khan was a typical Police Officer with less skills & brain..
    Overall it was Good Jitu…

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