THE DARK GIRL | Storytelling/ Poetry in hindi | shayarix 2.0

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Chapter 11 – The Murder Suspect

Phone ki ghanti baji toh meri aankh khuli. Pehli nazar maine ghadi ki taraf daali. Subah ke 3 baj rahe the. Call Khan ki thi.

“Itni raat ko kya ho gaya?” Main phone uthate hue puchha.

“Kahan hai tu?” Doosri taraf se uski bahut dheemi aawaz aayi, jaise vo phone apne munh phone ke bahut kareeb karke neechi aawaz mein phusphusa raha ho.

“Ghar pe aur kahan. So raha tha” Maine jawab diya.

“Tera dimag kharab hua hai?” Nikal vahan se, abhi isi waqt” Doosri taraf se aawaz aayi.

“Niklun? Kahan ke liye niklun?”

“Kahin bhi ja jahan chhup sakta hai tu. Policewale tujhe arrest karne ke liye pahunchte hi honge”

“Arrest, mujhe? Kyun?” Meri neend achanak gayab ho gayi aur main bistar par tankar beth gaya.

“Achha ye bhi main hi bataoon? Ye jo tu yahan kaand karke gaya hai iske jurm mein”

“Kaand? Kaun sa kaand?”

“Ya toh tu ban raha hai ya tu bahut bada bevakoof hai. Geetanjali Thakkar ke ghar jo karke gaya hai vo Kaand” Usne phir dheemi par gusse se bhari aawaz aayi.

“Wait a minute. Unhen lagta hai ke maine mara use? Abey maine hi toh phone karke police ko inform kiya tha”

“Baat karne ka waqt nahi hai. Nikal vahan se abhi isi waqt. Baad mein baat karunga main tujhse”

“Lekin main kyun bhaagun jab maine kuchh kiya hi nahi?” Maine kaha par tab tak main khud bhi uthkar apni almari se kapde bahar nikalne laga tha, pehenkar bhaagne ke liye.

“Abe batane ka waqt nahi hai par itna jaan le ke yahan jitne saboot hamein aadhe ghante ke andar andar mil gaye hain unke rehte tu mar jaayega court mein ye saabit karte karte ke tune kuchh nahi kiya. Filhal nikal, kal baat karte hain” Kehkar usne phone kaat diya.

Maine jaldi se apna phone table par rakha aur ek jeans aur T-shirt daali. Apna wallet uthaya, dawaiyan uthayi, phone jeb mein daala aur ghar band karke sidhiyon se neeche utara.

Apne instincts ko follow karte hue main sidha bhaag kar apni gaadi mein beth gaya. Gaadi start karke gear mein daali hi thi ke khyaal aaya ke kal tak har police check post par is gaadi ka number aur model available kara diya jaayega. Gaadi band karke main bahar nikla aur paidal hi gali ke kone par jakar andhere mein khada ho gaya.

Khan sahi keh raha tha, mujhe zyada intezaar nahi karna pada. 15 minutes ke andar andar police ki 3 gaadiyan mere ghar ke bahar khadi thi, mere ghar ka darwaza toda ja chuka tha aur meri gaadi ke aas paas kam se kam 5 policewale khade the.

Main chup chap palta aur andhere mein paidal hi ek aur chal pada. Mujhe koi idea nahi tha ke main kahan ja raha hoon aur ab kya karna chahiye. Yun toh kai policewalo se meri dushmani rahi thi jinmein se Joshi ek tha par kabhi aisa nahi hua ke mujhe police se bachkar bhaagna pad raha ho. Zindagi mein itna kuchh ek saath pehli baar ho raha tha ke mujhse sambhalna mushkil ho raha tha.

Koi aadhe ghante tak main yun hi sadkon par bhatakta raha, sochte hue ke ab kya karna chahiye. Bukhar toh mujhe nahi tha par kamzori kaafi mehsoos ho rahi thi. Ek jagah sadak ke kinare mujhe ek bench dikhai di, jaisi ke aksar bus stand aur parks mein bani hoti hai. Us bench ke aas paas us waqt poori tarah andhera tha. Maine apni chaaron taraf ek saavdhani bhari nigah phirayi aur jakar Bench par beth gaya.

Aur phir ek ek karke mujhe meri vo saari bevakoofiyan yaad aani shuru hui jo main us raat karke aaya tha. Koi hairat nahi thi ke Khan ne mujhe bhaagne ko kaha kyunki apne liye phaansi ka phanda toh maine khud taiyyar kiya tha.

Cigarette ka packet. Uspe mere finger prints.

Vo aadhi pi hui cigarette ka butt jo ash tray mein milega, phir se mere finger prints.

Geetanjali ke khoon mein mere haathon aur jooton ke nishan.

Uske darwaze par mere khoon se sane finger prints.

Aur koi hairat ki baat nahi thi agar kisi ne mujhe darwaza kood kar paar karte dekha ho.

Aur meri sabse badi bevakoofi, police ko mere ghar par mere khoon mein sane mere kapde jo maine washing machine mein daal diye. Aur jo ke main jald-baazi mein uthana bhool gaya tha.

Khan sahi keh raha tha, in sab sabooton ke rehte meri umar beet jaayegi ye saabit karte karte ke main begunah hoon.

Hadbadi aur ghabrahat ka daur guzra toh maine apne khyaal ek saath jodne shuru kiye. Us shaam Geetanjali ne mujhe phone kiya par us waqt main Bijli ke saath dinner kar raha tha toh maine call receive nahi ki. Uske baad usne mujhe message kiya ke vo Saanwli wale case mein mujhe kuchh information dena chahti hai. Ye kareeb 9 baje ki baat thi. Uske baad main uske ghar par 11 baje pahuncha tha yaani jo hua in 2 ghanto mein hua. Aur vahan pahunch kar qatil jo koi bhi tha par uski mushkil maine aasan kar di, khoon ka ilzaam apne sar lekar.

Geetanjali jis tarah ke dhandhe mein thi usmein galat logon ke saath uthna bethna aam baat thi, kisi se dushmani bhi aam baat thi aur mumkin tha ke use uske kisi dushman ne mara ho par jaane kyun mera dil baar baar ye keh raha tha ke use isliye mara gaya hai kyunki usne mujhe phone kiya.

Maine apni soch ka silsila is baat ki taraf moda ke mujhe filhal is waqt kya karna hai.

Apna phone nikal kar maine Nisha ka number milaya par phir irada badal kar apna phone off kar diya taaki mujhe iske zariye track na kiya ja sake. Bench se chand kadam ki doori par hi ek Phone Booth bana hua tha. Us phone se maine Nisha ka number milaya.

“Sir?” Uski neend mein doobi aawaz aayi “Kya time hua hai?”

“Nisha sun. Neend se jaag. Kuchh zaroori baat batani hai” Maine kaha.

“Haan jaag gayi. Itni raat ko, kya ho gaya?”

“Meri baat sun. Kal se office mat jana”

“Kyun?”

“Poori baat abhi nahi bata sakta par kal se samajh le ke tu ek lambi chhutti par hai”

“Kyun? Kab tak?”

“Pata nahi kab tak. Maine phone karta rahunga tujhe. Aur sun, agar policewale puchhen toh kehna ke kyunki teri mangni aur shaaid ki taiyyari chal rahi hai isliye tu chhutti par hai. Kisi ko mat batana ke maine raat ko tujhe phone kiya tha ya filhal teri mujhse baat hui thi. Tune aaj se 2 din pehle se hi chhuti li hui thi”
“Sir meri samajh mein kuchh nahi aa raha. kya keh rahe ho? Kaun policewale?”

“Jitna keh raha hoon filhal utna kar. Baad mein phone karunga tujhe. Palatkar is number par phone mat karna kyunki ye phone booth hai” Kehkar maine phone rakh diya.

Jo mere saath ho raha tha iska Nisha se koi lena dena nahi tha. Phir bhi vo meri secretary thi aur zahir si baat thi ke police usse sawal jawab karne wali thi. Mera use jhooth bolne ke liye kehne ka maqsad sirf itna hi tha taaki main us sawal jawab ke silsile ko chhota kar sakun. Vo agar ye kehti hai ke vo pichhle 2 din se office hi nahi ja rahi aur mujhse koi baat nahi hui toh isse aage aur koi sawal nahi paida ho sakta. Us bechari ki shaadi hone wali thi aur main nahi chahta tha ke meri vajah se use koi bhi takleef pahunche.

“Auto” Maine paas se guzar rahe ek Auto ko ishara kiya.

Agla stop tha koi ATM jahan se mujhe jitna ho sake cash nikalna tha aur phir koi chhota sasta hotel jinki Mumbai mein koi kami nahi hai. Auto mujhe lekar aage badha toh maine apne dono haathon se apna sar thaam liya. Main bahut badi pareshani mein phans chuka tha aur mujhe yakeen nahi ho raha tha ke ye saari bevakoofiyan maine ki thi…

Dharavi ke ek 3rd class lodge mein room lekar maine check in kiya toh tab tak subah ke 6 baj chuke the. Lodge ke reception par ek 14-15 saal ka ladka betha tha. Uske paas ek bahut purana sa mobile phone tha jo shayad apni zindagi ki aakhri saansen gin raha tha jo use ek 500 ka note dekar maine khareeb liya. Zaroorat ke liye main hamesha apne paas ek aur sim rakhta tha jo mere naam par registered nahi tha. Aaj pehli baar mujhe ye number use karne ki zaroorat padi thi. Sivaay Khan ke aur kisi ko nahi pata tha ke ye number mera hai.

Ye sim hamesha mere wallet mein hi rehta tha. Jab liya tha tab rakh diya tha aur uske baad aaj pehli baar nikala tha. Sim mobile mein dalkar maine on kiya hi tha ke 10 min baad hi us number par Khan ki call aa gayi.

“Kabse tera number mila raha hoon. Mujhe toh laga tha ke tu bhool hi gaya ke ek doosra sim bhi de rakha hai maine tujhe” Phone uthate hi vo bola.

“Haan actually bhool gaya tha. Abhi thodi der pehle hi dhyaan aaya ke mere paas ye doosra number bhi hai” Maine kaha.

“Ab batayega ke hua kya tha kal raat?”

Maine use raat ko poori kahani sunayi.

“How can you be such a fool?” Vo gusse mein lagbhagh cheekhte hue bola “Is tarah ki bevakoofi toh koi aam aadmi bhi nahi karta aur tu toh apne aapko bada jasoos samajhta hai”

“Pata nahi kya soch raha tha main yaar. Uski laash dekhi toh bina kuchh soche samjhe vahan se nikal aaya”

“Is waqt kahan hai?”

“Dharavi ke ek lodge mein room liya hua hai”

“Ab meri baat gaur se sun” Khan bola “Policewale haath dhokar tere pichhe pad jaayenge. Ye Geetanjali Thakkar ke fans kaafi badi badi jagahon par maujood hain jinko uski maut ka tahe dil se afsos ho raha hoga. Ab tu chup chap jab tak main na kahun vahin lodge mein pada reh. Apna sar bhi khidki se bahar mat nikalna”

“Aur kya karun yahan?”

“Apni jaan bacha saale. Pada reh andar hi. TV dekh, saas bahu serials follow kar kuchh bhi kar par chhupa reh jab tak ke main ye case ka bawal tere sar se utha kar kisi aur ke sar par na daalun”

“Ye case tere paas toh nahi ho sakta” Maine kaha.

“Nahi hai par mat bhool ke main bhi policewala hoon. Karta hoon kuchh jugaad”

“Kya lagta hai kisne mara hoga use?” Maine puchha.

“Koi idea nahi hai filhal yaar par uske dushman bhi i am sure hazaar honge. Lagata hoon main pata”

“Tujhe lagta hai iska Saanwli ke case se koi lena dena hai?”

“Mere bhai tu filhal Saanwli ko bhool ja aur apni jaan bacha. Baad mein dhoondh lena use.”

Khan ke phone rakhne ke baad main kamre se nikal kar phir reception par aaya. Vahan ab bhi vahi ladka betha tha jisse maine phone kharida tha. Vo gardan jhukaye koi kitaab padhne mein magan tha.

“Mere kamre mein ek cup chaai aur kuchh khaane ko le aana” Maine sidhiyon ke paas se hi aawaz di.

“Idhar naukar nahi laga hai koi kisi ka. Jo laane ka hai bahar jaake khud leke aao” Vo bina gardan uthaye bola.

“All right” Maine jawab diya “Yahan idhar khaane ko achha kahan milega paas mein?”

Usne gardan utha kar meri taraf dekha aur mujhe dekhte hi fauran uth kar khada ho gaya. Chehre par muskaan khil aayi.

“Arrey aap kaahe ko takleef karta hai sahab. Apun laake dega na aapko. Bolo kya maangta hai?”

Shayad use mera diya 500 ka note yaad aa gaya tha aur ummeed kar raha tha ke meri sewa karega toh tip bhi achha milega. Sach kahun toh mujhe bhi is baat se koi etraaz nahi tha, vo mere kaam aa sakta tha.

“Ek cup chaai le aao aur kuchh khaane ko, chatpata sa” Maine use kuchh paise dete hue kaha. Bukhar ki vajah se mere munh ka taste ab tak kharab tha aur mera dil kuchh teekha khaane ko kar raha tha.

“Aap kamre mein chalo sahab. Apun abhich leke aata hai” Kehkar vo lodge se bahar nikal aaya.

Kamre mein vaapis aakar main nazar ghadi par daali. Mujhe ummeed thi ke is waqt tak Nisha jaag gayi hogi. Maine use phone milaya.

“Main bol raha hoon” Pehli ghanti par hi usne phone utha liya toh maine kaha.

“Oh thank god” Doosri taraf se uski aawaz aayi “Main jabse aapka phone aaya hai tabse soyi nahi hoon. Ek baar aapka number bhi milane ki sochi par phir aapne mana kiya tha toh nahi kiya. Kya keh rahe the aap subah? Hua kya?”

Maine ek baar phir kal raat ki ghatnayen dohra di.

“Oh shit” Baat poori hone par vo boli “Abhi ho kahan aap?”

“Dharavi ke ek lodge mein hoon”

“Ab?”

“Ab soch raha hoon ke aage kya karna hai. Phone karunga main tujhe baad mein. Tu ek kaam karna. Aaj sara din ghar se bahar kahin nikalna nahi. Ghar par hi rehna. Aur policewale aayen toh vahi kehna jo maine kal raat bataya tha”

“Ke main pichhle 2 din se chhutti par hoon aur aapse meri koi baat nahi hui?”

“Haan”

“Theek hai”

“Main aaj raat ko tujhe phone karunga”

“Ye number aapka hi hai?”

“Haan par tu galti se bhi phone mat karna. Main hi karunga”

Nisha se baat karne ke baad main phir soch mein pad gaya. Mujhe Khan par poora yakeen tha ke vo kuchh na kuchh karke ye museebat mere sar se hata dega. Ham dono bachpan se hi bahut kareeb the aur is waqt ek vahi tha jis par mujhe poori tarah bharosa tha. Filhal sirf itna hi karna tha jab tak vo koi raasta nikale mujhe policewalo ke haath mein nahi padna.

Tabhi vo ladka ek cup chaai aur 2 samose lekar aa gaya. Vo table par rakh kar usne apni jeb se change nikal kar meri taraf badhaya.

“Tum rakh lo” Maine muskurate hue kaha.

“Thank you sahab” Usne bhi palat kar daant dikhaye aur jaane laga.

“Ek minute ruko” Maine toka aur jeb se ek aur 500 ka note nikala “Mera ek kaam karoge?”

“Haan sahab. Aap jo bhi bolo” 500 ka note dekhte hi uski aankhon mein phir chamak aa gayi.

“Yahan tumhare alawa aur kaun hota hai?”

“Apun ich rehta hai sahab. Apna mama hai par vo full tight rehta hai toh kabhi idhar aata ich nahi toh apunich sambhalta hai”

“Hotel mein koi aur bhi hai?”

“Kya sahab” Vo hasta hua bola “Idhar koi rehne ko thode aata hai. Idhar sab kahin sadak se koi dhandhe wali leke kuchh ghante ke liye aate hain bas”

“Gud” Maine kaha “Toh ab meri baat gaur se suno. Jab tak main yahan hoon bas yun samajh lo ke nahi hoon. Kisi se kuchh nahi bolna aur koi puchhta hua agar aa jaaye toh pata hai na ke kya kahoge ?”

“Ke aap idhar ho ich nahi” Vo mere haath se 500 ka note lete hue bola.

Mere paas ab karne ko kuchh bhi nahi tha. Khan ke kahe mutaabik mujhe tab tak chhupe rehna tha jab tak ke ye museebat ka badal mere sar se na tal jaaye. Usne ab tak jo kaha tha vo bilkul sahi tha. Geetanjali bade bade raees logon ko ladkiyan supply karti thi aur uski upper class mein achhi khaasi jaan pehchan thi. Uske marne ka jhatka kaafi uper tak mehsoos hone wala tha.

Insaan jitna uper jata hai, jitna bada hota hai duniya utni hi uske liye chhoti bhi hoti jaati hai. Agar ek aam aadmi kisi prostitute ke saath pakda jaaye toh zyada se zyada ye hoga ke uski biwi use chhod degi, agar vo shaadi shuda hai toh. Agar kunwara ho toh ye bhi khatra nahi. Gharwale kuchh din ke liye munh banayenge aur phir baat bhool jaayenge. Haskar sirf ye kehkar taal diya jaayega ke ladka jawan ho gaya hai. Par agar koi bada mash-hoor aadmi kahin aisi jagah pakda jaaye ya uska naam aisi kisi jagah ya kisse ke saath jud jaaye toh mitti paleet hona laazmi hai. Media walo ko aajkal vaise hi cover karne ke liye news ka akaal rehta hai. Aisi koi khabar milte hi vo tab tak us baat ko gaate rahenge jab tak ek poori duniya ko uski khabar na ho jaaye. Jab tak ke har kisi ko pata na chal jaaye ke falana insaan kitna bada tharki hai aur jab tak us naam wale ko achhe se badnaam na kar diya jaaye.

Aur yahin sabse eham bhoomika nibhati thi Geetanjali. Uske dhandhe ka sabse bada raaz tha uska privacy code. Shehar ki kaun se shareefzaadi asal mein ek high class prostitute hai ye vo jaanti thi. Shehar ka kaun sa devta roopi shareef asal mein 3-4 ladkiyon ko ek saath bhogta hai ye vo jaanti thi par sirf vo hi jaanti thi. Uski ladkiyan aur uske clients dono hi chain ki neend sote the kyunki vo jaante the ke unki dogli zindagi ka raaz kabhi kisi ko pata nahi chalega.

Aur yahi sabse badi vajah thi ke uske upper class ke clients uski maut ka matam manane wale the. Agar Geetanjali nahi toh unhen kisi aur dalal ke paas jaana padega, khulle mein aana padega aur phir se koi Geetanjali jaise bharose wale insaan ko dhoondhna padega. Ek bahut bada khatra mol lena padega.

Ye toh shartiya baat thi ke is murder case ko lekar police par kaafi dabaav aane wala tha, yaani ke mujhe police ka har kutta soonghne ke liye nikalne wala tha.

Main apni hi soch mein gum betha tha ke darwaze par kisi ne halke se knock kiya.

“Main hoon saahib” Bahar se us ladke ki aawaz aayi.

“Andar aa jao”

Maine kaha toh vo chup chap andar aaya aur khada meri taraf ghoor kar dekhne laga.

“Kya hua?” Maine puchha.

Usne koi jawab nahi diya aur chup chap ek taraf table par rakha chhota sa TV on kiya aur channel palatne laga.

“Kya ho gaya?”

Maine phir se puchha hi tha ke vo ek news channel par jakar ruk gaya aur thoda sa pichhe hokar khada ho gaya. Ek nazar usne meri taraf dekha aur phir TV ki aur dekhne laga.

TV par ek news reader Geetanjali Thakkar ke murder case ki news padh rahi thi. Aadhi screen par us news reader ka chehra tha aur baaki aadhi par mera chehra, murder suspect ke naam par.

Vo keh rahi thi ke jis kisi ne mujhe kahin bhi dekha ho fauran police ko soochit kare. Aur saavdhani barte kyunki main armed aur dangerous hoon.

Maine phir ek baar ladke ki taraf dekha.

“Apun ne police ko phone nahi kiya” Vo mujhe apni taraf dekhta pakar fauran bola.

“Good. Bakwaas kar rahi hai ye, khoon maine nahi kiya” Main fauran apni safai mein bola.

“Apun ko kya farak padta hai saahib” Vo daant dikhata hua bola.

Uski nazar mein aisi khushi jhalak rahi thi jaise kisi billi ne abhi abhi koi chuha mara ho. Main janta tha ke vo kya ummeed kar raha tha. Apne purse se maine 500 ka ek note aur 100 ke 5 note nikal kar uski taraf badha diye.

“Aap chinta nahi karo Saahib” Usne fauran jhapat kar mere haath se paise le liye “Aapki security ka poora zimma apne sar hai. Aap bindaas hokar raho jab tak rehne ka hai idhar”

“Thanks yaar” Maine muskurate hue kaha.

Murder case ki jaankari police ko subah kareeb 3 baje ke aas paas mili thi toh bahut mumkin tha ke aaj ke akhbaar mein shayad ye na chhapa ho par main ye chance nahi le sakta tha. Agar TV par meri shakal akkhi Mumbai ko dikhai ja rahi hai toh aaj nahi toh kal ye khoobsurat chehra har akhbaar ke front page par bhi aane wala tha.

“Ek kaam kar mera” Maine kaha “Mujhe ek shaving cream aur ek razor la de”

“Khopdi ke baal saaf karne ke baad chehre par bhi baal uga lo” Vo fauran meri baat ka jawab dete hue bola.

Main hairani se uski taraf dekhne laga. Maine razor kaha hi tha ke usne fauran andaza laga liya ke main apne sar se apni reshmi zulfen saaf karne wala hoon taaki shakal ka huliya badal sakun.

“Ab itni jaldi daadhi moonchh kahan se laoon, waqt lagega” Maine jawab diya.

“Arrey asli nahi, nakli lagao”

“Aur vo main kahan se laoon?”

“Apun hai na, abhi ghante bhar mein leke aata hai. Aap bindaas hoke aaram karo” Vo haste hue bola aur kamre se chala gaya.

Ladka asal mein kaafi kaam ka saabit ho raha tha. Ek ghante se pehle hi vo ek shaving cream, ek brush, ek Gillete razor aur nakli daadi moonchh le aaya.

“Ye kahan se laya tu?” Maine daadi utha kar apne chehre par lagate hue bola aur sheeshe mein khud ko dekhne laga.

“Uski chinta nahi karo aap. Aur kuchh chahiye ho toh batane ka” Kehkar vo phir chala gaya.

Agla ek ghanta maine apna huliya badalne mein lagaya. Sar se saare ke saare baal saaf kar diye. Jo daadhi moonch vo laya tha vo mera aadha chehra dhak le rahi thi. Agar khud se ugaane ki koshish karta toh kam se kam mahina bhar lag jata. Poora ganja hokar jab maine vo daadhi moonch apne chehre par lagayi toh sheeshe mein khud ko pehchan pana mushkil ho gaya.

Uske baad kya karun ye mujhe samajh nahi aaya. Bekaar bethna meri aadat mein shumar nahi tha. Agar main ek ghanta bhi haath par haath rakh kar kahin beth jata tha toh bechaini hone lagti thi. Aur filhal toh aalam ye tha ke pata nahi kab tak yahan bistar par pada rehna tha.

Maine TV on kiya par dil nahi laga. Agar aapke sar par murder ka ilzaam ho aur aap kuchh na kar pa rahe hon toh TV mein kya ho raha hai ye kise padi hai. Thak haar kar maine ek baar phir sidhiyan uthar kar neeche aaya aur us ladke ke paas gaya.

“Aap toh pehchan mein hi nahi aa rahe” Vo mera naya huliya dekh kar bola.

“Ek kaam kar” Maine kuchh paise uski taraf badhaye “Paas ke kisi medical store se mujhe cough syrup ki ek bottle lakar de de”

Cough Syrup mujhe isliye nahi chahiye tha ke meri tabiat theek nahi thi balki isliye ke mujhe samajh nahi aa raha tha ke kya karun. Bachpan se mere saath aisa hota tha ke cough syrup ki 2 ghoonth maar lene ke baad main ghanto pada sota rehta. Ek ajeeb sa nasha ho jata tha jiski vajah se main cough khaansi hone ke bavajood bhi cough syrup nahi leta tha, anti biotics kha kar kaam chalata tha.

Jab vo ladka cough syrup ki ek bottle mujhe de gaya toh maine kamra andar se band kiya, apne phone on kiya aur ek chauthai bottle gatak gaya.

Nateeja, maine 15 minute ke andar andar gehri neend mein ja chuka tha.

“Oye” Khan ki aawaz mujhe kahin door se aati sunai di “Khada ho. Mar gaya kya?”

Maine hadbada kar fauran uth betha. Mere bed ke paas Khan khada tha aur darwaze ke paas vo hotel wala ladka.

“Shukar hai, zinda hai. Tu ja” Khan ne ladke ki taraf palat kar kaha. Vo haan mein gardan hilata bahar chala gaya aur darwaza band kar diya “Baal kahan gaye tere?”

“Teri saas aayi thi, budhape mein ganji ho gayi thi isliye mujhse udhaar le gayi mere baal” Maine apne sar par haath pherte hue kaha.

“Shabash Munna. Bhes bhi badal liya tumne. Kaafi jaldi seekh rahe ho par ye sar ke baal uda dene bhar se shakal thode badal jaayegi teri”

“Daadi moonchh bhi hai” Maine table ki taraf ishara kiya “Sote hue utaar kar rakh di thi”

“Tu sahi hai beta” Khan bed par bethte hue bola “Murder ka ilzaam tere sar par hai, akkhi Mumbai ki police haath dhokar tere pichhe padi hai aur tu yahan pada aise so raha hai jaise abhi abhi duniya jeet kar aaya ho”

“Toh kya karta” Maine table par rakha pani ka jar uthaya aur ek glass mein dalta hua bola “Tune hi toh kaha tha ke yahan se kahin jana nahi, gardan bhi khidki se bahar nahi nikalna. Toh yahan sara din hotel mein pada kya jhak marta”

“Hairat ki baat ye nahi ke tu so gaya. Hairat ki baat ye hai ke tujhe neend aa bhi gayi”

“Aayi nahi, zabardasti laayi gayi” Maine cough syrup ki taraf ishara karte hue kaha “Tujhe kaise pata chala ke main yahan hoon?”

“Din bhar kam se kam 50 phone kiye maine tujhe. Jab tune uthaya nahi toh mujhe laga ke kahin museebat mein na pad gaya ho isliye tera number trace kiya”

“Kya time ho gaya?”

“Shaam ke 7 baj rahe hain” Khan utha aur table par rakhe ek packet ko kholne laga “Uth aur kha le kuchh. Aate hue khana laya tha main”

“Shaam ke 7” Maine hairani se khidki ki taraf dekhte hue bola “I slept all day man, damn”

“Yes you did you weirdo. You were sleeping like a log with a murder charge on your head”

Usne khana table par plates mein nikala aur ham bed par bethe bethe hi khane lage.

“Ek baat samajh nahi aayi mujhe. Ye bevakoofi hui kaise tujhse?” Khan bola “Ek aadha koi saboot chhoda hota toh baat bhi thi, tu toh saale jaise vahan khulle mein elaan karke aaya tha ke tune mara Geetanjali Thakkar ko, ukhad le jo ukhaad sakta hai koi”

“Mujhe khud samajh nahi aa raha yaar ke kaise mere dimag mein ye baat nahi aayi. Aadhe se zyada uske ghar mein jo maine apne finger prints chhode hain vo laash milne se pehle ke hain. Tab mujhe kya pata tha ke vo ghar mein mari padi hai. Aur uske baad jab maine uski laash dekhi toh jaise dimaag apne aap sunn pad gaya”

“Hmmm” Khan ne haami bhari.

“Yaar saaf seedhi si baat hai, main koi homicide detective toh hoon nahi. Zindagi mein pehli baar kisi murder case mein involved hua hoon. Mera dhandha sidha sa tha ke khoye hue logon ko talash karna, aaj tak kabhi zaroorat hi nahi padi apna chehra ya apne finger prints chhupane ki. Aur mujhe toh door door tak koi idea nahi tha ke ye bomb mere hi sar pe aakar phatega. Maine toh khud hi police ko phone karke murder ki information di thi”

“Khair, jo hua so hua. Ab meri baat gaur se sun. 2-3 din yahin pada reh aur phir yahan se nikal kar koi aur lodge pakad. EK hi jagah mat pade rehna varna der sawer phas jaayega”

“Aise main kab tak chhupta phirunga yaar?”

“Jab tak ke ye bawal tere sar se hat nahi jata. Aaj toh pehla hi din hai beta,abhi se yun pareshan na ho. Abhi toh tamasha shuru hua hi hai, pata nahi kab tak chalega”

“I dont like it man”

“Neither do i but this is how it is and there isnt much that you or i can do about it. Kisi aur ko pata hai ke tu yahan hai?”

Ek pal ke liye maine socha ke Nisha ke baare mein bata doon par phir inkaar mein gardan hila di. Vo jabse aaya tha tabse mujhe sunaye hi ja raha tha, ab main ek aur vajah nahi dena chahta tha.

“Gud. Kisi ko batana bhi mat”

Hamne khana khatam kiya aur takreeban ek ghante ke baad Khan nikal gaya. Police ko ab tak mere khud ke chhode hue suraagon ke alawa aur koi saboot haath nahi laga tha toh murder ka poora ilzaam is waqt sirf mere hi sar par tha. Aur vaise bhi, jab already ek bakra mil gaya ho bali chadhane ke liye toh hamare desh ki aalsi police ke paas kahan itna waqt ke doosra bakra dhoondhen. Filhal unka sara dhyaan mujhe pakad kar murder ke ilzaam mein tangane ka tha taaki is saare masle se unki jaan chhute. Meri saari ummeeden is waqt sirf Khan par hi tiki hui thi.

Main betha soch hi raha tha ke kamre ka darwaza khula aur vo ladka andar aaya.

“Maine nahi bataya saahib. Apun udhar neeche hi betha tha aur vo aake bola ke aapka dost hai. Apun bahut mana kiya par vo maana hi nahi. Bola ke aapka phone tracing karke aaya idhar aur apne ko guddi se pakad kar aapke kamre tak le aaya”

Main uski baat sunkar hasne laga.

“Naam kya hai tumhara?”

“Babu” Vo sehmi se aawaz mein bola.

“Vo mera dost hi tha Babu, ghabrane ki koi baat nahi”

“Apun ko laga koi policewala hai”

“Haan vo bhi hai par mera dost bhi hai”

“Vo sahi police mein hai?”

“Haan, kyun?”

“Policewale kisi ke dost nahi hote, bachke rehna padta hai. Apne ko toh laga ke abhi apne maathe par bhi bandook laga dega vo”

Main uski baat sunkar phir has pada. Thodi der tak vo mere saath hi betha raha aur phir chala gaya. Main sara din soya tha toh zaahir tha ke raat ko neend nahi aane wali thi. Abhi soch hi raha tha ke kya karun ke phone ki ghanti bajne lagi.

Call ek unknown number se thi. Maine 2 second socha ke uthaaon ya nahi par phir bhagwan ka naam lekar call receive kar li. Line ke doosri taraf Nisha thi.

“Tujhe maine mana kiya tha na phone karne ko?” Main use daant-te hue bola.

“Chinta mat karo. Ghar se drive ke bahane kaafi door aakar ek booth se phone kar rahi hoon”

“Policewalo ne tujhpar nazar rakhi ho sakti hai, ho sakta hai ke tera pichha kar rahe hon”

“Arrey sir itna toh aapke saath rehkar maine bhi seekh liya hai. Aadhe ghante se gaadi shehar mein yahan vahan ghuma rahi hoon sirf ye pakka karne ko ke mere pichhe koi nahi hai. Aur ghar se bhi 15 min chhat par tehalne ke bahane aas paas ka jaayza lekar nikli thi”

“Gud” Main impress hota hua bola “Phone kyun kiya?”

“Ek toh aapka haal chaal puchhna tha aur doosra ek baat batani thi”

“Kaun si baat?”

“Mere paas Maya ka phone aaya tha”

“Maya vo Saanwli ki room mate?”

“Haan vahi. She called me aaj dopahar ko”

“Usne tujhe kyun phone kiya? Aur number kahan se aaya tera uske paas?” Kehte hue maine ek cigarette jalayi.

“Arrey aapne kaha tha na mujhe ke main uske ghar phone karke uska Puna ka address loon to kiya tha maine uske ghar phone. By chance us waqt ghar par koi nahi tha, naukrani ne phone uthaya. Maine kaha ke main Maya ki dost bol rahi hoon aur apna number chhod diya tha ke jab uske maan baap aayen toh vaapis aakar mujhe phone kar lein. Kismat se maan baap ki jagah khud Maya ka hi phone aa gaya. Uske gharwalo ne mujhe phone karne ki bajay khud use hi phone karke mera number thama diya”

“Ok great. Kya boli vo?”

“Usne phone kiya toh maine jhooth bol diya ke main asal mein Saanwli ki behen ki dost hoon aur kyunki Saanwli itne din se gayab hai isliye ham log use dhoondh rahe hain”

“Jhooth kyun?”

“Ab sidha sidha ye toh nahi bol sakti thi na ke main ek jasoos ki secretary hoon, use mamla kuchh gadbad lag sakta tha. Filhal toh behen ki dost hoon, ham log dhoondh rahe hain, ye sunke vo bhi thoda personal level par baat karne lagi thi”

“Awesome. Samajhdaar hoti ja rahi hai tu. Phir kya boli vo?”

“Asal mein maine zyada puchha hi nahi. Mujhe samajh hi nahi aaya ke kya puchhun. Mujhe laga ke aap hi baat karo toh behtar hai isliye maine usse keh diya ke agar main Puna aakar usse milna chahun toh kya vo mil sakegi. Vo maan gayi. Address de diya usne apna”

“Yaar baat toh teri theek hai par main is waqt kaise ja sakta hoon. Main toh yahan shakal chhupaye betha hoon”

“Ye na actually mere dimag mein us waqt baat aayi hi nahi. Phone rakh kar mujhe yaad aaya ke aap khud kaisi museebat mein pade hue ho aur filhal Saanwli ko dhoondhna baad ki baat hai, filhal toh apni jaan bachani hai”

“Ek baat sach kahun toh mujhe poora yakeen hai ke ye dono baatein aapas mein judi hui hain” Maine sochte hue kaha.

“Matlab?”

“Matlab ye meri jaan ke ise meri hunch keh lo, ya gut feeling ya mehez veham par jaane kyun mujhe lagta hai ke Geentanjali isliye mari kyunki vo mujhe kuchh Saanwli ke baare mein batana chahti thi”

“Aisa lagne ki koi khaas vajah?”

“Koi khaas vajah nahi hai, filhal toh sirf andhere mein teer chala raha hoon aur sach maan toh ye Saanwli ke case ko lekar shuru se ab tak saare teer andhere mein hi chalaye hain. Ye ladki toh jaise kahin thi hi nahi. Aisa lagta hai jaise kisi bhoot ko dhoondhta phir raha hoon”

“Ye toh hai” Nisha meri baat se sehmat hote hue boli.

“Aisa bilkul mumkin hai ke Geetanjali apni kisi dushmani ke chalte mari aur meri soch mehaz mera veham hai aur mera andaza galat par is baat ko nazar andaaz nahi kiya ja sakta ke vo mujhe call aur message karne ke mehaz 2 ghante ke andar maari gayi. Us jaisi aurat ko marna aasan kaam nahi tha aur aaj tak koi uska baan baanka nahi kar paya tha. Uski pahunch itni uper tak thi ke log darte the usse par phir bhi mere involve hote hi kisi ko use marna pada”

“Baat toh sahi hai”

“Aur jab main uske ghar par pahuncha toh kamre ki har cheez saleeke se rakhi hui thi, sharab ke 2 glass the, cigarettes ke butt ash tray mein the, koi cheez ulat pulat nahi thi toh saaf si baat hai ke vo qatil ko jaanti thi. Usne apni marzi se andar aane diya aur mauka milne par us insaan ne uski peeth mein chhura ghonp diya. Koi jaddo-jehad nahi hui, koi hatha paayi nahi hui.”

“Aur aisa bhi ho sakta hai ke vo jo koi bhi tha usne bandook ki nok par ya maybe kisi aur tarike se use is baat ke liye majboor kiya ke vo aapko call ya message karke bulaye taaki jab aap vahan aao toh uski laash padi mile aur khoon ke ilzaam mein aapko phasaya ja sake jaisa ke hua bhi.”

Uski baat 100 taka sahi thi. Hairat ki baat thi ke ye khyaal mere dimaag mein ab tak nahi aaya tha.

“Baat to tu sahi keh rahi hai par 2 cheezen hain”

“Kya?”

“Ek toh ye ke main vahan jakar, apni saari bevakoofiyan karke shanti se bahar nikal aaya. Kisi ne roka nahi, kisi ne toka nahi. Doosri ye ke main apne akalmand kaarnamo ki vajah se khud phasa hoon. Na main vo saboot chhodta aur na main phasta toh aisa lagta nahi ke kisi ne mujhe vahan phasane ke liye bulaya tha”

“Ya ye bhi ho sakta hai ke vo insaan vahan us waqt maujood tha aur usne dekh liya tha ke aapne khud apni dhoti mein itne chhed kar liye hain ke use kuchh karne ki zaroorat hi mehsoos nahi hui”

“A very valid point” Maine sochte hue kaha aur mujhe dhyaan aaya ke jab main Geetanjali ke ghar pahuncha tha toh darwaze mein us waqt bhi vo Pepsi ki bottle phasi hui thi yaani ye mumkin hai ke vo insaan tab bhi vahin maujood tha. Agar chala gaya hota toh vo bottle bhi shayad hata kar jata.

“Khair” Maine kuchh pal chup rehne ke baad kaha “In sab baaton ke chalte hi mujhe lagta hai ke is murder ka bhi Saanwli ke case se ho na ho kuchh toh lena dena hai”

“Toh matlab aap chhup kar bethne ke bajaay Saanwli ki talash jaari rakhoge?”

“Mera dimaag mujhe aisa na karne ki salah de raha hai par option nahi hai mere paas. Yahan chhup kar kab tak betha rahunga. Kuchh na kuchh toh haath paon maarne padenge”

“Toh batao kya karna hai phir?”

“Tu ja sakti hai Maya se milne?”

“Haan ja sakti hoon. Kal hi ja sakti hoon”

“To ek kaam kar. Tu kal Puna ja aur dekh kya information nikal sakti hai Maya se aur phir mujhe phone kar”

“Theek hai. Kal niklungi subah”

“Ya ek kaam kar” Maine fauran apna irada badla “Tera jana theek nahi rahega. Mujhe uska address bata”

“Aap khud jaoge?”

“Haan”

“Dimag kharab hua hai? Mumbai ki har sadak par police ka pehra hoga, aapko dhoond rahe honge. Khaas taur se Mumbai se bahar jaane walo raasto par”

“I know par tu address toh bata. Main sambhal loonga”

Nisha se baat karne ke baad main thodi der beth kar sochne laga. Ye sach thi ke mera dimag mujhe is waqt aisa kuchh bhi na karne ki hidayat de raha tha jiske liye mujhe Khan ne mana kiya tha par ye bhi utna hi sach tha ke is tarah chhup kar choron ki tarah bethna mujhe manzoor nahi tha. Main ek akele Khan ke bharose hi nahi betha reh sakta tha, Kuchh na kuchh toh khud bhi karna hi tha…

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