She really ought to do something about her weight. Even the mild uphill walk through this neglected patch of wayward growth was causing her to gasp for lung-fulls of fresh air. The dry leaves groaned their last painful cries, as her heavy boots crushed them into merciless bits. She ought to have laid off the cheese. The lunch at the newly opened Bars and Blues had been delicious. The company she was with had been rather boring. The ring of her cell- phone summoning her to this neverland had , as a consequence, been welcomed. She panted harder, as she tried to stay in step with the two deputies forging ahead of her along an unseen path.
The sun had beaten even the remotest green out of the landscape. Naked trees stood like brown slaves tormented by the cloudless skies. Every footstep crunched with a loud crackle. If somebody’s half-lit cigarette bud didn’t send this entire area blazing, then the sun definitely would. The sooner she was out of here, the better. She almost collided with the deputy in front of her, as he came to an abrupt halt. Destination arrived. She took in a couple of deep breaths. The first one to regularize her hard breathing and the second one to mentally prepare herself for the nightmare she was about to witness.
But nothing could have prepared her for the sight which greeted her. Lying on a thorny bed of dried twigs, almost looking peacefully asleep was the late super star Mira De. Even in death, she was beautiful.
After hours of briefing and de-briefing, mindless enquiries and then some interesting ones, of thousands of trips to the forensic labs and millions of reads of the autopsy reports, Harinakshi found herself spread on the singularly unappealing white bed of the local Spa. Harinakshi or Harni as people were wont to call her, was a criminal profiler with CBI. One of her tasks was to certify, if the death was a homicide or a suicide. Like the death of the beautiful Mira De. And like on a lot of occasions before, she found that her thoughts were at a cumulative best, when her senses were being beaten into a decided numbness by her masseur; hence her current position.
As she stuck her face into the hole on the bed and stared at the old white marble flooring, her thoughts rushed into her head. The first thought devoted to the speck of gray which stained the flooring and had escaped the evening cleaning rounds. The next series of thought took her back to the apartment of Mira De.
She had driven down there. Her apartment, as expected, was located in the rich areas of
Right below the movie was another billboard, announcing yet another movie again by Mira De – Khwaish (Wish). From her minuscule clothes, to her very inviting pout, it was very evident what she wanted the viewer to wish for her. Looking at the billboard could give one of the weaker men a very climatic experience. It was a six month old movie. Reviewers had called her hot and sexy and the new sex goddess of the Indian Film Industry. Women around the country had called her slut.
She sat there looking at the two billboards, one aged with time, faded and hardly noticeable; the other shining with the glamour of new gloss. Two women, one you were bound to sympathize with, the other who would tempt you into evil thoughts. Yet the two women were one.
She never quite understood why she came for massages. They were filled with pain. The masseur’s fingers dug into her body and they hurt. It did not feel good. The music was unidentifiable, though the Spa claimed it was Swedish. The towels rewashed and reused and not certifiably clean. She winced at the floor as the masseur dug into her flesh once again.