Deserted, isolated and alone the street lay all by itself. One side with a deep forest and one side with houses in a row. The street had lights installed by its side but that night only one light illuminated the road….the light in front of Mr. Barman’s house. The only light glowing on the road gave an awkward atmosphere. But the light seemed to shine much more brightly than other days as it was shining alone. The deathly silence was broken by a car screeching to a halt just before the light. It was an Audi A4. The headlights were turned off. The same silence prevailed until a clicking sound of a door of a car opening was heard. A man dressed in a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie came out. More clicking sounds were heard and out came three men carrying spades, trowels and rakes. All of them went to the back of the car and opened the back bonnet of the car to reveal a package wrapped in cloth and tied with nylon strings. The men brought it out with a lot of strength and dumped it on the ground. The suited man ordered the other men to dig a hole just under the street light. The men got to work and in no time dug an appropriate hole to bury the package. The package was untwined and what it revealed was shocking. A girl in a pink salwar kameez with her mouth tied was tossing about with great difficulty as her hands and feet were tied. The three men then waited for further orders and on being ordered by the suited man they picked her up and dropped her into the hole and covered it with mud. Nobody heard her shrieks, nobody noticed her being carried, nobody knew about a teenage girl being buried alive under the STREET.

“Atanu, come here once”, said Mr. Ghosh Dastidar. “Yes, Dad.” “See, I don’t have much of my days left, so I would like to make a will in favor of you, Biswajeet and Taruna, leaving half of my property for Taruna and the rest half for both of you.” “Why half to Taruna? She will leave this house after her marriage, so why should she get the maximum benefits?” “Atanu…….” “I didn’t say anything wrong, Dad.” “It’s my property and I will decide how to distribute it. Now go and call up Mr. Das and tell him to meet me urgently today evening. I need to talk to him.” “OK”. In the evening Mr. Das came and cleared all the formalities for the will and told that the papers would be ready for signature by next week. A week passed and Mr. Das came home with the papers for Mr. Ghosh Dastidar’s signature. As witnesses he had his very old and faithful servant, Bahadur and his driver, Shyam. With the three siblings agreeing to the terms and conditions, Mr. Ghosh Dastidar happily signed on the papers. After 6 months, Mr. Ghosh Dastidar died with a heart attack. Atanu, the elder brother became the head of the family and his main intention was to marry off Taruna as the earliest so as to get rid of her as soon as possible. So he started to look for a worthy husband for Taruna. He asked her if she had anybody in her mind. She replied whatever her elder brother decided would be final. Atanu was relieved. But during these 6 months Biswajeet was struck greatly by his sister’s behavior. She was a little unusual from her normal self. He was so awestruck by the difference in her behavior that he decided to consult someone. He took out a card from his wallet and dialed the number and made an appointment for the morning.

Mr. Ganguly was seated in his Behala office, smoking a Gold Flake and letting out smoke rings into the air. On his table was scattered a pile of newspapers, a penstand, his mobile, and a table lamp. Beside him seated in another cubicle was his assistant Mr. Chatterjee. Suddenly the door bell buzzed surprising both of them. “Come in.”, said Chatterjee. “I had made an appointment over the phone for today with Mr. Ganguly. My name is Biswajeet Ghosh Dastidar.” “Oh! Yes..yes, please have a seat and tell me why you want to meet me.”said Mr. Ganguly. “My problem is not a big one but it is quite complicated.” “Let’s hear it.” “My father Mr.Subarna Ghosh Dastidar who had died 6 months ago, has left a will for me, my elder brother, Atanu, and our sister, Taruna where Taruna has been given half of the property and we the two brothers the other half . Atanu was not so happy with Dad’s decision and he wanted him to change it but in vain. After Dad’s death, suddenly in the last 6 months Taruna has changed completely. She seems to be happy, indeed very happy with the will’s guidelines. Earlier she used to like me very much and always used to hang around me, but now she is in great favour with her elder brother, somebody whom she used to hate a lot. I think there is something very fishy going on between them but I can’t figure it out. That’s why I have come to you for help.” “Maybe your sister has agreed to the will’s terms……but why will she be in good terms with your elder brother when she does not like him?” “That is what is keeping me in the dark.” “OK….anything unusual you have noticed in your sister in these 6 months other than being in good terms with Atanu?” “Yeah! Number of things.” “Like?” “She used to write with her left hand but since she has got her left hand fractured she is not being able to write anything. How can somebody’s hand be fractured for 6 months?” “Hmmmm…….and?” “She loved fish, but for the past 6 months she has not touched fish.” “Interesting….anything more?” “No, but I think this is not my sister Taruna.” “You never know when a person’s mind changes, still I will look into the matter and find out what has happened.” “Thank you so much. Sir, may I know your fees?” “Half now and half after solving the case. My total fee is Rs. 20000.” “OK, Sir, here is half your fees.” Biswajeet left. “Chatterjee, what do you think about this case?” “It is quite a complicated one.” “Hmmmm……let us see what happens.”

“Dada, I have two of my friends coming to our house.” “When?” “Around 12 today” “Who are they?” “Some of my school friends…..will be meeting them after a long time.” “Are any of them a bachelor?” “Why?” “No, then maybe we could get somebody for our Taru.” “Oh! Yeah, one of them is.” “Good, I would like to speak to them.” “OK.” “Let me go and tell Taru to dress up in her best dress. Taruuuuuu……..” The clock struck 12 and the doorbell rang. TING TONG!! TING TONG!!! “Seems as if your friends are very punctual.” Biswajeet opened the door and standing in front of him was Mr. Ganguly and Mr. Chatterjee. Both had sunglasses on their eyes. Mr. Ganguly in a brown suit and Mr. Chatterjee in a white one. The bachelor (Mr. Chatterjee) was looking quite handsome. “Come in brothers….how are you?” “We are fine…how about you?” “Oh I am fine too. Please have your seat.” “Yes, please be seated and make yourselves comfortable.” “My elder brother, Atanu…hope you remember him.” “Obviously….how are you, Dada?” “I am fine. What do you want to have? Tea, coffee or anything else?” “Coffee might do.” “Bahadur da, 5 cups of coffee with the Swedish biscuits please.” “Biswa, as far as I can recall you had a sister too? How is she?”, enquired Chatterjee. “Oh! You remember her…..TARUUUUU!!!!” The clicking of heels was heard from the staircase, a just-passed-teenage girl came down the stairs draped in a red and white saree. Her lips were red and her eyelashes pink. She was looking wonderful as a fairy and the bachelor could not move his eyes from the girl. “Yes, Bhaiyya….calling me?” “Come meet my friends. This is Subir and this is Shome.” “Oh! Hi!” she extended her hand towards Shome first and then Subir. Shome could not take his eyes off her. Gossips continued and Atanu brought up the topic of Taruna’s marriage saying that she was not getting any suitable boy to marry. This shocked Shome and on asking why, he got the reply that none was matching her status and needs. “Bhaiyya, but this boy is good, can we talk a bit privately?” “Of course, go up to your room. Go Shome.” “Huh? Yes…..” After talking for about an hour they both came down with a smiling face. “Bhaiyya, I approve this boy.” “Ahem! Ahem! Shome, how do you find her?” “Good.” “OK, so should we consider it final?” “No Atanuda, I need some time. Maybe I will let you know later.” “Fine. No problem.” “OK! So now I think we should take your leave.” “Where have you put up?” “Ashoka.” “Why don’t you both stay over at our house?” “No, No,thank you, it is OK!” “As you say” “Bye, Biswa. Meet you again.” “Bye.” “Bye, Taru.” “Bye.”

“Shome, what did you get from her room?” “Some very important clues.” “Like….” “Have a look at these.” A white handkerchief came out of his pocket . Marked on one corner was the letter ‘M’ in red. He placed it on the table. Next came out a cigarette box “Gold Flake’. Then a piece of paper on which some drawings were made. “How did you collect these?” “Though I am your assistant I am quite sharp. While she had gone to the washroom I rummaged her chest drawer and took out all these things.” “Anything else you could rescue?” “No, but I have clicked some photos from her childhood album.” “Great work, Shome.” “Thank you, my reward?” “Hahaha….Taruna….Hand over the pictures, let me see.” Shome turned on the television and inserted the pendrive at the back and some pictures popped on the screen in a slideshow. Taruna dancing, eating, laughing, and in many other different moods. “Just a second, go back to the previous picture once…….Pause.” Subir looked at something very curiously in the picture of Taruna laughing with her mouth wide open. “Shome, zoom on her mouth please.” “Sure….” “Do you notice anything?” “No……..yes yes I do.” “Good, now let us go to the lawyer, Mr. Das.”

“Can you please show me a copy of the will made by Late Mr. Ghosh Dastidar?” “Why, who are you?” Subir handed Mr. Das his identity card. “Ya ya sure!” Subir flipped over the pages of the will, reading it intensely and observing the signatures very carefully. “OK! Thank you!” “Is there any problem?” “At this moment no, but please keep yourself free in the next couple of days. You can be summoned to Ghosh Villa any day.” “Me? Why?” “We will inform you.” “OK” In the car, Shome asked Subir, “What did you see in the will?” “Nothing interesting. Do you have the piece of paper with you?” “Yeah! Take.” On the paper some lines and some figures were drawn. On the top, it had a straight line beside a stickman’s figure. Beside that on the right, a TV with SONY written on it and on the left a Christian cross. Below the straight line and stickman was a sun drawn and below that was written SOFT. Nobody could make out any head or tail of it. But Subir was looking at it with intense concentration.

Next morning while Shome was going through Taru’s pictures, Subir called him to show something in the newspaper. The news read,


“On Saturday morning, some workers while digging and mending a street in Jodhpur Park were shocked to find a body of a girl wearing pink salwar kameez, with her hands and feet tied up. The police on being informed reached the spot immediately and started enquiring. On asking the neighbors, they said that they were totally unaware of the fact. The CBI chief, Mr. Mukherjee told…………”

“Take out the car; we need to go to the police.” Reaching the police station, he directly went to the Senior Inspector’s office. “Mr. Ganguly, sit down, sit down.” “What do the Forensic reports say about the buried girl?” “Why do you care? Was she any of your relatives?” “Just tell me…” he sniffed. “Forensic reports tell that the girl was buried alive about almost 6 and half months ago.” “Alive?” “Yes, Sir…ALIVE…because there is neither any cut mark on her body nor any trace of poison in her stomach.” “Can I get a picture of the girl?” “Sure…”, he rotated his chair and brought out a picture from a drawer and gave it to Subir. Taking it in his hand, Subir sat motionless in his chair for quite a while and then handed over the picture to me. I was shocked. “Who all are the enquired neighbours?” “One is Mr. Barman, in front of whose house the body was found just under a street light, one Mr. Soni and one Mr. Williams. Except Mr. Barman all were out of town 6 and a half months back so they could not throw any light on the murder.” “OK! Thank you!” “My pleasure, Subir babu…..but let me tell you one thing, don’t meddle into these things.” “You know what my profession is……” “Hahahahaha… of luck.” “Thank you.” While in the car, he again took out the piece of paper and kept brooding over it till they reached home. Just as he reached home, he called Biswajeet, “Is your sister at home?” “Yes, she is, but why?” “Does your sister have a twin?” “What are you talking about?” “Yes or no” “Of course, no….” “Tell all of your family members to be present today evening at your home including your family lawyer, Das. I think I have solved your mystery.” “That is great; I will inform everybody that you and Shome are coming over to let us know your decision about the marriage.” “Excellent. We are coming around 7.” “OK”

Sharp at 7, they reached Ghosh Villa. All were waiting eagerly in the drawing room, Taruna looking as beautiful as always. Subir started, “Taruna, you never told us that you smoke. Is this the reason why nobody marries you?” “Me, no…I don’t smoke.”Taruna replied shockingly. “Oh! Really? Then why are your lips and finger tips yellow just like mine.” “Yes! I do smoke.”Taruna confessed. “Atanu, why have you not married?” “What type of a question is this? It is my personal life….” “Exactly, you can do anything in your life……kill your sister, bury her alive and bring your partner to your house, change her face by plastic surgery to represent your sister’s face and keep everybody in the dark about the changed Taruna being your love, but you made a mistake, you forgot that plastic surgery cannot change the texture of one’s teeth. Your sister Taruna had pointed canines whereas this girl has flat ones.” “What are you saying, Mr. Ganguly…..?” “The truth, Mr. Atanu is that, you had buried your sister alive in the Jodhpur Park street and the map says so.”, saying this he took out the piece of paper from his pocket, and started explaining the figures drawn on it. “The bar and the stickman represent the name of a person…Mr. BARMAN….on the right a TV with SONY written on it represents Mr. SONI…..and the cross on the left signifies Mr. WILLIAM who is a Christian. The sun under the line and the man represents the street light under which the body was buried….and the word SOFT tells us about the place where the street is soft to dig. 6 months ago when you and your sister had gone to a party, you buried her and returned home with the fake Taruna, your partner, MRINALINI…..AM I RIGHT OR AM I WRONG, MR. ATANU?” “Y…Ye…Yeee…Yeeessss…..”, while saying this he slowly got up from his chair and started moving towards the back door to flee when suddenly, “Where are you going Atanu babu?”, Senior Inspector Bose stood in his way. He held Atanu by his arm and forced him to sit down on the couch. “Now, tell us why did you kill your sister?” Atanu fumbled and said, “I was very jealous of my sister as she had got half of the property……so I decided to kill her and planned to bring my partner in the house as her substitute so as to enjoy the maximum benefits. So I buried her alive in the street and came back home with Mrinalini as Taruna…….” “An excellent master plan, Atanu babu…..but now you have to enjoy the maximum benefits of the jail”, said Mr. Bose and carried Atanu babu away. “Mr. Ganguly, thank you so much for your help…..Biswa said this and handed over a brown envelope to Subir. “Oh! Thank you, Biswa… pleasure.”