From times immemorial, humans have tried to build a trace of their existence.
The urge to leave a trace of one’s reign has remained virtually unchanged since times immemorial. It may be the mighty rulers, politicians or the laymen, everybody urges for more strength, more dominance proving Darwin’s Theory ‘Survival of the fittest’ to be true. How and when the idea captures one’s mind, can never be predicted though it have a bipolar effect both good and evil.
“No Pratap, you don’t have to go out searching for a job. You have completed your studies, it’s OK but I don’t want my son work for others just for a mere sum of money. We have our paddy fields in Pratapgarh”.
“But Dad, what’s bout my future”……
“First let me finish, Pratap. You know, you are a boon to our family. After your birth, our family business took to its peak and this village Pratapgarh wasnamed in memory of your Grandpa. Though your Grandpa left for celestial abode, you are given his name…..Pratap.
“You can’t go, your present is your future”, roared Mithilesh Mondal.
The entire house became grave silent at the conversation of the two. But Pratap was determined at his words.
“Dad I want to build my own identity where lies my future. I don’t want anyone to raise fingers at me saying that, “Look, he haven’t put even a single effort for the family’s sake”.
Pratap’s words seemed to melt the tough shell of Mithilesh.
“So, what you want to do”……enquired the father hidden inside the tough man of iron.
“Dad, I always wanted strength, money and power but by a fair means and wished that these could help the needy. After my completion of studies, I appeared for the post of Sub-inspector, a future which I always dreamt of. I excelled in all the exams and I'm selected”. Taking a deep strong breath and with fearless steps, Pratap moved forward to Mr. Mithilesh as he completed saying what he had to say.
“Mr. Pratap”, a strong and commanding voice raised Pratap’s attention.
“Yes Sir”, saluted Pratap with a daring attitude and finely arranged Police uniform…..The Khaki.
“From today you are to take the charge of the Phari Ilaka Outpost. I wish you all the best for a crime frees society which we have promised at the end of the training.
Pratap headed towards the police jeep. The strong Mahindra jeep with broad tires was a perfect match for the hilly areas.
Pratap slowed down his pace and instructed the driver to wait when somebody called him from behind.
“Wait Mr. Pratap
“See Mr. Pratap, Pahari Ilaka outpost is a sensitive outpost. It had been four months you joined the department. You are transferred to this outpost because we have a very critical case to be solved. You are strong, intelligent and very fast which I have noticed from the very beginning but the case which you will have to handle is your first case. Go, Pahari Ilaka Outpost is waiting for its new O. C. (Officer Commandant).
Pratap saluted his senior and headed towards an unknown destination with a damn brave heart .
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“Sir, Ronbon’s brother reported that he is missing since the last week. But the last O. C. didn’t launched a F. I. R. , informed constable Sinha at Pratap’s first joining the outpost.
“No F.I.R.!!!Why?” with amazed round eyes questioned Pratap.
“Sir, this area is inhabited by Chiko Tribes and they almost all the times remain out of sense”.
“Out of sense”!!! Why? Questioned baffled Pratap.
“Sir, this damn care tonic is the cause, especially the low cost or no cost local one”.
Both Pratap and Sinha broke down into laughter.
“But Sir, I have news, if it’s true we’ll get it soon; one of our informers is at work now”.
As the two were talking and Sinha introducing the staff of the outpost to Pratap, a youth with spiky hairs and faded jeans entered the outpost.
Salaam Sahib, spoke the youth with red eyes and a burp which infiltrated the entire room with toxic aroma.
“Sir, this is Marak, ourinformer”, Sinha held Marak by the arms and put on a fake smile.
Pratap rouse his collars and putting his left hand on his pistol on the holster, moved forward with slow but steady steps.
Marak geared by the damn care tonic vibrated slowly and waited for a question.
“Marak, what information have you brought”.
“Sir, Rongbong was not in good terms with his wife. I’ve the information that he was murdered by his wife. One of my friends saw her and a man dragging a very big polythene bag the previous night Rongbong was missing. I’m sure, the dead body must be inside”.Marak sat down on the floor and looked at Pratap’s face, gave a shaky salute as if he himself was from C. I. D.
“Sinha, give him a glass of water and something to eat; and come to my room”.
“See Sinha, how can we trust this man, he is almost out of his sense, I can foresee his dark future”.
“No Sir. Marak is a trustworthy man. You are new here but I’ve been in this outpost for the last 5 years and Marak helped us in solving many cases”, said Sinha confidently.
Though Pratap’s damn care attitude doesn’t seemed to be shaken by anything but his experience and age were at tender stage.
“I could have accepted the option put forwarded by Dad but now it’s too late. I have entered a one way track, left the entry gate far away; I can’t look back now rather compromise with the uncertain future”. As Pratap was lost in his world condemning his own folly, Sinha’s words brought his sense back.
“Sir, this is Chengbey, the one who saw Rongbong’s wife that night”.
“So Cheng, what have you seen that night”, asked Pratap putting a hundred rupee note on Cheng’s right pocket though he knew where the money will be spent.
After a short conversation, Pratap took a deep sigh and with a strong and unstirring will, shouted,
“Sinha, six constables and especially you”.
“Yes Sir”, shouted Sinha and the Mahindra police jeep fully loaded headed towards a destination which was waiting for a riddle to be solved.
“Sir, I’m sure we can trace the dead body soon. I got the information from Cheng but we cannot arrest Rongbong’s wife as nobody will believe at what Cheng saw”.
“It’s OK Sinha, by the way where is the Porutush Suez gate”.
“We’ll reach in 10 minutes Sir”, responded Sinha quickly.
The police jeep siren proved its dominance as it reached the Suez gate.
“But Sinha! The Suez Gate is closed. You didn’t told me on the way”, Pratap asked amazingly.
“Sorry Sir, water project is stopped and the Suez Gate is of no use these days. The place remains silent almost all the times. But this is a place of refreshment for someone who tries to bluff the society”, said Sinha picking a broken bottle from the ground putting a faded smile.
“But Sir, crime can never escape the eyes of law”, Sinha bowed down and showing a sign of dragging mark looked confidently at Pratap.
Pratap showed a sign of ultimate satisfaction and headed towards the jeep. He gave a silent command with the blink of his eyes and lo there jumped four robust youths from the jeep with black costumes and a bundle of rope on their shoulders.
The dragging mark ended at the edge of the mountain top. Pratap observed the track carefully and with each step he moved forward his heartbeat became more faster.
He signaled the rescue team and two of them climbed downwards with a nylo-steel rope showing signs of excellence in mountaineering.
“The mountain is not too high, we will trace the body soon….. Over and out”.
Pratap received the message in his walkie-talkie.
“Hello, hello Sir, a plastic sack is hanging in a tree rooted in the mid of the mountain side. We are heading towards it. It is big enough to hold a man……over and out.
“Excellent! Recover it”, commanded Pratap from the top on his walkie-talkie.
In a few seconds the nylo-steel rope was seen vibrating.
“Sir, they are coming up”, released a deep sigh Sinha.
The other two robust youths at the top started connecting 4 pulleys in a row and fastened a clamp and a rope and connected it with the rope which was already hanging downwards. They then vibrated the rope briskly.
Both Sinha and Pratap smiled at their own folly. Sinha spoke in a low voice, “Sir, have you seen how the team is working. When the rope vibrated for the first time, I thought they are coming up. But now I realized, it was just a signal to send the clamp and the systems ok pulleys downwards. And now, they are just pulling the rope and the other two are coming up hanging with the big sack”.
Pratap gave a faded smile as Sinha was explaining which needs no explanation as he believed he had already seen the future.
Finally the rescue team reached the top with face covered with face masks.
Sinha, Pratap and the other two youths of the rescue team instantly moved backwards unable to bear the decayed rotten smell. Two of the youths of the rescue team took out some face masks from the jeep. Pratap, Sinha and Mayank put them on.
“Come Mayank, now it’s our turn”. As Pratap completed his words, Mayank took out a big Yashica camera and the entire team moved towards the sack which needs not to be verified what lies inside.
A horrible sight was unacceptable by the human eyes. Looking at the worms creeping out of the sack, Pratap shouted angrily, “where is Kontre?”
“Wait Sir, may be, he is in the jeep, I’ll bring him. As Sinha headed hurriedly towards the jeep, Pratap shouted from behind, “Sinha, didn’t I told you to give him the two bottles later and now………..”
In no time Sinha came back with Kontre fully loaded with damn-care tonic.
“Oh Lord, please forgive me; being a policeman I never thought I’ve to use humans as puppets. I yearned for power and status, you gave me but this is not the world I ever dreamt of”.
Pratap prepared himself to have a vision of what was going to unveil when Kontre out of his sense tore open the sack.
“Wait Kontre”, shouted Sinha. The entire team was shocked at Sinha’s behavior.
“Mayank, be sure that when you take photographs, at any cost Kontre shouldn’t be any shot”.
Pratap remained silent as he understood that experience had made Sinha a perfect policeman. Both of them raised their chests and posed with the dead body as if they were real heroes.
“Nice shot”, joined Mayank.
“So Sinha, now the body must be taken to the nearest Civil Hospital for postmortem. After identifying the body we can proceed next”.
The team took a deep sigh at the success at their primary stage.
“See Sinha, although I’m the in-charge of this case I can’t really explain how I’m still in all my senses even at the sight of this goose bumps activating horrible scene”. Pratap admitted.
“No, Sir. Perhaps this too is my first case in a way. I’ve never ever joined my seniors in any pathetic case like this”.
The jeep was filled with laughter showing signs how brave hearts creeps in a policeman and finally makes him a fearless hunk.
As the jeep moved by the hilly roads, darkness crept in the entire area and the entire team was lost in a dream world.
“Sir, it’s the sad part of the story, I can’t sleep as I’m driving and you can’t sleep as you are the in-charge”. As Sinha continued his lectures, Pratap loosened his thread of being a senior accepting the excellent guiding of Sinha in the case although he was just a constable.
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The rescue team left for the camp from where they were summoned. As they passed, their Royal Enfields added life to the sleeping area at dusk. The strong vibrations of the bikes faded slowly.
“How silent this area is, I loved it. Let’s take some rest in the outpost. We’ll leave for the hospital in a short while. I always plan prior to future and………”
Pratap didn’t even stop his words when a deep snoring caught his attention.
“Sinha….., is anybody sleeping inside the outpost”.
“No Sir….., I just had a round and confirmed everybody is awake”.
Pratap immediately took out his revolver and indicated Sinha to be silent. Both of them tried to trace the sound but all what shattered their existence was a strong howling of a pack of wolves at a far distance.
Pratap held Sinha by his arms and Sinha gave an artificial smile and whispered, “Sir, the sound is coming from inside the jeep.
“What the hell!!! The dead body is breathing………Oh Lord Shiva!
Pratap unable to show his fear held his pistol tightly and both of them headlonged towards the outpost and right away left the jeep.
“Sinha, have you checked the dead body when we recovered it at the Suez Gate”.
“Sir, we all saw the rotten dead body surmounted by wombs on all sides”.
Both of them looked at each other and Pratap geared his bravery and said dominantly,
“Ok, come Sinha, I know what thoughts are creeping inside us, is it the spirit of Rongbong’s, we even don’t know is this body his. Let’s see, a policeman must never be afraid, whatever may be the consequences”.
With valiant footfall, Pratap advanced ahead. He gave a strong pull at the cloth with which the dead body was covered.
Sinha, for the first time waited at a side and prepared himself with both fists holding strongly ready for a fatal blow.
“How dare you disturb my sleep#####”, the words came out with pauses and unmentionable slangs.
The unexpected scene proved to be the funniest scene in the world when the two saw Kontre sleeping with the half rotten dead body, still fully loaded with the damn care tonic.
Both Sinha and Pratap chortled like maniac drunkards and Pratap shouted,
“We all forgot about Kontre. I didn’t even guessed that it could be a future indication of the Suez Gate encounter. I’ll always remember this case as my first case …. A Policeman’s first case in the Mountainous Terrain Outpost, I mean to say Pahari Ilaka Chowki”.
The outpost took a new life at the laughter of the brave hearts; the mountainous region witnessed the paramount transformation from a common man to Policeman.
Though the case is yet to be solved wholly, Pratap had a strong faith in himself of foreseeing the solved case.