Episode 11

NOT GUILTY

At the warehouse, Mr. Juneja walked inside along with Rafiq.

“Ritesh! Ritesh, YOU GOOD FOR NOTHING BRAT!! COME OUT… COME OUT OR I AM GOING SKIN YOU ALIVE.” Mr. Juneja yelled, he was burning with rage.

Ritesh walked towards his father, his feet trembled looking at him. He was also shocked to see that the the men who had hacked the college systems were still alive and looked at Rafiq in disbelief.

“I am sorry, brother. I know it is my duty to help you, however, this is a job that I couldn’t do without telling your father. Your father was planning to send you abroad, far away from all situations and that is the reason why he has been trying to call you, yet, you did not answer the phone. You ended up calling me and telling me to kill them.

I understood that you were trying to destroy the evidences. It is my mistake, Mr.Juneja… I did not realize that he would go and meet the professor, I did not realize that he would kill him.” said Rafiq.

Ritesh was again shocked… How did Rafiq know that he had killed the professor? It did not take him a minute to realize that the news had spread like wild fire… he was done for.  

He looked at his father again and wanted to say something but before he could speak, his father caught hold of him and kept slapping him hard. Ritesh begged for mercy but his father was relentless. Rafiq, realizing that Mr.Juneja could kill his son in anger, caught hold of the latter in an attempt to subdue him.

“Mr. Juneja, control yourself. He is your son… he is your son, goddammit!” exclaimed Rafiq.

Mr. Juneja looked at Rafiq and then back at Ritesh. He controlled himself and lowered his hand. Anita could see what was going on through the office window.

“Yes, of course, he is my son. HE IS MY SON. A son who is hell bent in bringing disgrace to my name… a son who is hell bent on destroying everything that took me years to create. I created all this for him, for his future and he doesn’t understand it.” said Mr.Juneja.

Ritesh looked at his dad, tears welled up in his eyes as he blurted everything that was in his mind for so long, “You are right, dad. I will never understand it, I never understood it. Why? Why do you think I never understood it? That is because I never had you by my side to make me realize my purpose.”

Mr. Juneja stared at Ritesh, the latter continued, “I was 5 when mom passed away. Since then, I always looked up to you for love and comfort, yet, you were always busy with your work, with your business… I had nobody with me to tell me what is right and what is wrong. If I did something right, there was no one to encourage me, if I did something wrong, there was no one to correct me.

The last thing I know, I just kept doing what I thought was right. I saw how people respected you and never questioned you. I saw how you made the life of people hell whenever they questioned you. I wanted the same for myself. I wanted to be loved; I wanted to be respected… I wanted to have everything.

There was no one to stop me, not even you. I wanted everything and whenever something couldn’t be mine, I either snatched it or destroyed it. Is it my fault? If it was, then why didn’t you stop me? Why didn’t anybody stop me? You slapped me today… why didn’t you slap me when I did my first mistake. I remember I had stolen someone’s bike when I was in school, a police case was registered, yet, you did not scold me, did not slap me that time… just used your power and influence to silence those who complained against me.

I was never serious about my studies because like all other parents, you never asked me. When was the last time you asked how I did in my exams, when was the last time you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up? I am 24 years old, do you even know that… yet, I still go to college. I haven’t completed my studies.

I saw Anita in college, she is so beautiful and thus, I wanted her… I craved for her love. Yet, I got to know that she was seeing Sameer. My blood boiled, and once again, no one stopped me. I was hell bent on destroying Sameer’s life. I thought I succeeded, yet, the reality is right in front of me.

I have committed a crime. I tried to destroy all my mistakes, yet, Anita saw me… so many people saw me. The police are after me and I have no place to hide. I am finished… and this time, no one can save me, not even you, dad. Not even you.”

Ritesh sat down on the ground and clutched his head in anguish as he cried bitterly. Mr. Juneja looked at his son, for the first time in his life, he realized that his son was right; the former sat down on a chair and clutched his head too. Anita was able to hear every word of ritesh.

“I must say I pity him now. He is not a spoilt brat, he is just another man who never got what he deserved. An animal that was never taught what was right and what was wrong. Nothing can be done now. He has already committed a lot of crimes that he is answerable for. There is no escape for him. It would be best if he surrenders, that is all.” Anita thought.

Anita then saw Mr. Juneja getting up from his seat, she watched in horror as he took out his handgun and shot the 2 men who had hacked the college systems. There was no mercy; his hands did not tremble while he shot them.

Ritesh saw the 2 men fall to the ground dead. He then saw his father come close to him, the latter lifted him up and said, “I am sorry, Ritesh. I am sorry for everything. I will now do what I should have done a long time ago. You are my son and I cannot stand here watching you taken away from me. We have to get you out of here. However, you will have to sacrifice one thing for your safety.”

“Sacrifice! What do I need to sacrifice?” asked Ritesh confused.

“Anita. You cannot have her. She is a burden now, she is a prime witness and she needs to be silenced before you leave this place.” said Mr. Juneja.

Ritesh looked at the office room, he saw Anita standing near the window and realized that she had heard and seen everything that was going on over here. He was disappointed at first, yet, he yielded and said, “Alright, dad. As you wish. Do what needs to be done.”

Mr. Juneja then ordered 2 of his men to bring Anita to them. The 2 men listened, and walked towards the office room. Anita understood and began to panic. The 2 men caught hold of her and dragged her downstairs. She struggled to break free but there was no escape. She was brought to the middle of the room and Mr. Juneja walked towards her.

“We have no enmity against you. It is the situation. I cannot see my boy going to jail. You have to be silenced. Forgive us for it.” said Mr. Juneja, aiming his gun at her forehead.

Anita started to cry again. Accepting the fact that this could be her last moment, she prayed to god and asked for forgiveness. Her mind flashed through all those moments with her father, her friends, she cried profusely when Sameer’s face flashed up.

“I am so sorry, Sameer. I am so sorry. I am paying the price for disbelieving you. Forgive me if you can.” said Anita to herself.

Suddenly, there was a gunshot and Anita screamed. Her eyes were closed and it took her some seconds to realize that nothing happened to her. She slowly opened her eyes to see Mr. Juneja, Ritesh and their goons looking at the warehouse gate. The police had arrived and leading the force was Inspector Khan.

“Drop your weapons everyone or we will be forced to shoot. Mr. Juneja, Ritesh… surrender yourself. There is no escape. You may have tried to destroy all your evidence, yet, we still have all information about your crimes. You better not do anything stupid.” said Inspector Khan.

Anita looked at the force and spotted Sameer in the group. He was wearing a bullet proof jacket just in case a fire fight broke out. She couldn’t believe it and a smile sprouted, Sameer spotted her too and smiled back. He nodded his head indicating that everything would be fine.

Sameer stayed back and hid behind a machine while the force came forward to nab the criminals. Ritesh started to panic, he was angry at everyone and everything, he lost his mind and allowed his anger to take control. He yelled in anger, grabbed hold of Anita and clasped his gun on her forehead.

Sameer was horrified by this move, while Inspector Khan stopped his force from moving forward.

“Ritesh, don’t do it. Surrender yourself. There is no escape. Mr. Juneja, please explain to your son.” Inspector Khan said firmly.

Ritesh’s hasty act made even the goons aim their weapons at the police force and the latter had their fingers on their triggers. Sameer, building up courage, came out of his hiding and stood ahead of the police force, alarming Inspector Khan.

“Sameer, get back here. You will be killed.” said Inspector Khan.

Sameer smirked and said, “Who will kill me? Ritesh!! Look at his hands, sir. He is afraid, he is shivering… he knows his game is up yet, he is behaving as though he has one more card to play. The truth is, he is a coward, he is someone who has been in his father’s shadow all his life. Go ahead, Ritesh… besides, you wanted Anita. You did all this to get Anita. Here I am, Ritesh. Kill me… and fulfil your ‘dream’.”

Ritesh stared at Sameer in disbelief, the latter stood without any fear while the former had a gun in his hand yet trembled in fear. Anita took a deep breath and thought hard, he could make out Ritesh shivering, she saw Ritesh’s hand which was not steady, he then looked at Sameer who was wearing a bullet proof jacket. She had to make a move; she had to take a chance. No way these people could go scot-free, they had committed enough crimes, taken the lives of many innocent people.

She looked at Sameer and said, “Sameer, I am sorry for everything. I want you to know that I always loved you. I want you to know that I deeply regret not believing in you. I hope you will forgive me.”

Sameer looked at Anita, confused. The next moment, Anita kicked Ritesh’s feet; the latter winced in pain and staggered back. Anita did not think twice and scurried towards Sameer. Sameer, horrified at Anita’s act, ran forward. He looked behind Anita, Ritesh had taken a grip of himself and aimed the gun at her. Sameer grabbed Anita and turned around, Ritesh fired the gun and Sameer was hit on the back. Sameer winced and the force of the bullet pushed him. As Sameer and Anita fell to the ground, a firefight began between the goons and the police force.

Sameer grabbed hold of Anita and covered her from incoming fire. All the goons were killed, 3 police officers were martyred, when the firefight stopped, Sameer and Anita got up.

“Sameer, are you alright? Please tell me you are alright. I am sorry, I am so sorry.” Anita reacted.

“Damn you, Anita, that was seriously radical.” Sameer reacted back.

Anita looked at Sameer in tears; the latter then smiled at her, kissed her forehead and hugged her. After a long time, Anita heaved a sigh of relief and embraced Sameer. Sameer looked around and then took of his bullet proof jacket, and turned it around to see the bullet deeply etched into it.

Anita looked to her right and gasped in horror. Sameer, confused, looked at the same direction. Along with the goons, Mr. Juneja and Ritesh also lost their lives, Sameer and Anita could make out that they were shot multiple times… a brutal way to die. Anita looked away due to the bloodshed, while, Sameer continued to look at Ritesh’s body.

“It is ok, Anita. It is ok. This is how it works out. Let us go home.” said Sameer.

As the police were doing their job, Sameer dialed Mr. Patil’s number and gave it to Anita, saying, “Your father was worried, quite obviously. Here, speak to him.”

Anita took the phone and spoke to her father; the latter heaved a sigh of relief. He even conveyed the message to Mr. Malhotra that his son was also safe and they were coming back.

A few days later, while sameer awaited the court hearing in reference to the hacking case, he however received permission from the management of his college to continue his studies. The locality that he lived hosted a grand party in his honor inviting him, his family and Anita. Inspector Khan was also invited along with his family and they had a ball.

Damodar was teary eyed realizing that Sameer was leaving the job and going back to finish his studies. Sameer couldn’t help laughing at Damodar’s antics.

“For the love of god, Damodar! Seriously!! You are behaving as though I am going to leave this planet or something.” Sameer commented.

“We have worked together only for 3 months, however, they were the best and the most adventurous moments of my life. I will cherish them always. I am happy though… happy for you and your family.” said Damodar.

Sameer then looked at Govardhan and said, “I have learned a lot from you, uncle. Every word of yours is etched inside of me, and I promise you, no matter whatever happens in life, I will never give up.”

“Stay blessed, son. And take care of yourself and your family.” said Govardhan.

The very next day, Sameer reached college and found Anita waiting for him at the gate. As both stepped in, Sameer was surprised to find a huge board with words – SAMEER THE SAVIOUR, WELCOME BACK. Sameer was then welcomed among huge cheers from the college students and teachers. Words of praise fill the air as the principal approached him.

“I got influenced by a criminal like Mr. Juneja and took such a drastic step. I am sorry for whatever happened to you… please forgive me.” said the principal.

Sameer nodded his head in disagreement and said, “Please sir. Let’s forget the past and move on. What has happened, has happened. It is good to be back, sir and I will see to it that the name of this college is not tarnished anymore.”

“Well done, my boy. Welcome back.” said the principal.

As the students started to leave for their classes, Sameer’s old friends, Dinesh and Sangeeta walked towards him.

“I guess even you people will apologize and say the same boring Dialogue that the principal said or wanted to say.” said Sameer.

The friends looked at each other, Sangeeta was about to say something but Sameer cut her short, “You people are forgiven. No apologies needed but yes, you people do deserve a big punishment.”

“And what is that?” asked Dinesh, confused.

“Exams are 15 days away and I have nothing… no notes, absolutely no idea of whatever happened in class. No way am I repeating a year again to clear my graduation, so you people better help me out.” said Sameer.

The others started laughing at that comment, and Dinesh, winking his eyes, said, “Don’t worry about that, dude. We will see to it that you pass. Legally or… a bit illegally…”

Call it irony, Sameer raised his right eyebrow at that comment and then burst out laughing along with the group. They hugged each other and then walked towards the main building to attend their classes.

THE END

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