“Sir I didn’t kill him. And why would I do so when I don’t even know him?” Sayra said with a persuasive tone.
“Every murderer says the same thing mam. Speak the truth I’m too exhausted to listen all your crap.” said the officer with roaring insolence.
Sayra covered her face with her hands. Tears came rolling out. This ordeal was agonizing. She said in a very low tone “believe me I didn’t do anything. Somebody is framing me in.”
“Your neighbor has given statement against you. He is the eye-witness.” the cop said with the same croaking voice.
Sayra jumped with shock and said “who Yash?”
The officer-in-charge nodded slightly and narrowed his eyes on Sayra.
Sayra said in a little louder tone “that’s impossible. He can’t be an eye- witness because he is BLIND!!”
3 years ago……………
The neighborhood is not much friendly contrary to its name “Friend Forever Residency” in a posh area of the city. Sayra likes it that way, silent and uncanny. She was forgetting things slowly. Initially she ignored the symptoms which have started interrupting her daily routines. Things turned out to be nastiest day by day when she was diagnosed with Dementia one day. Dev left her alone with a Psychiatrist and a canary. He sent the divorce papers and Sayra mutually agreed. A smart move by Dev because if Sayra forgets about him the divorce will hang on the brink forever. The treatment turned out to be prolific. Sayra was getting better not wholly but partially. Sometimes she just wonders; the treatment makes her feel better or Dev’s absence in her life. She once asked the doctor if her treatment can wipe out all the previous memories and rebuild fresh memories or not?
“Hey stop the lift for me…!” Sayra shouted and rushed in hurriedly.
Sayra goes out these days for her groceries and other essential or non-essential things with all precautionary measures. She has saved each and every possible detail of almost everything about her in her phone and she keeps a small notepad too in case of emergency. Sayra now doesn’t forget the way to her home nor her neighbors.
“Thank you Yash. You too went out for groceries?” said Sayra with chirpy voice.
“You are most welcome Sayra. Yes lots of groceries actually, so that a blind man doesn’t need to go out pretty often.” Yash sounded overwhelmed.
The lift stopped at 4th floor. Both of them came out and walked towards their respective doors. Yash doesn’t like people helping him out or feeling pity on him. He loves doing everything all by himself. He manages very well. Sayra wonders blind people have some special gifts. They can sense anything good or bad more efficiently than other people with eyes.
“You should come to my place sometimes. I cook very well.” said Yash putting the exact key among all the other keys into the hole with absolute perfection.
Sayra was busy watching him do so. She answered after a pause of few seconds “yes sure.”
Sayra has pasted notes on almost all the stuffs; washing machine, microwave, food, clothes, bathroom, bird food, fridge, TV, remote and cash and so on and so forth. That worked actually. She sat with a cup of tea and turned on the TV when she heard the lift door open and close and going to the ground floor. There are two houses on each floor so that makes Yash and Sayra the only close neighbors of each other.
“Yash is so weird. Just now he told me he bought extra groceries to avoid going out very often and look at him.” Sayra was talking to herself.
Yash was not a friendly neighbor when he first met Sayra and Dev. Though she vaguely remembers whether Yash has ever talked to them or not. That day when Sayra went out to bring cigarette packets for Dev and she forgot her and Dev’s name and house number and mistakenly she knocked Yash’s door, Dev yelled at Sayra like an animal and the very next day she was taken to Maria, the psychiatrist. Sayra tries very hard to remember that day whether she entered Yash’s house or just stood outside but she can’t recall anything. Sometimes she feels Yash is a ghost or something. The sound of the lift going up and down from 4th floor is the maximum during nights. Why would a blind man go out so often at night? Sayra has heard sounds too. Like people having arguments, but during the day the house remains grave silent. She’s not much sure though. Sayra takes sleeping pills. Perhaps she might be hallucinating. The canary was chirping merrily sitting at the aisle of the sofa. The alarm rang, time to feed the bird.
The Dementia has destroyed many important memories and the ability of judgment of which Sayra repents a lot. Though some memories are better forgotten and wiped out forever.
One such memory which Sayra repents for not remembering evidently is about her peculiar neighbor Yash. After a year of undergoing treatment one fine day, the bathroom tap stopped working persistently. Even after wasting four helpless hours Sayra couldn’t remember the plumber’s name and phone number. She was in a dilemma of going out and asking for help as she hasn’t stepped out for quite a long while. That is when she landed at Yash’s door for the second time. A tall handsome young man wearing black glasses opened the door. After listening to her problem he went in to get the plumber’s phone number and asked Sayra to sit and wait. Yes that’s the moment which Sayra can’t recall however hard she tries. When she was sitting and waiting she saw a glimpse of Yash without spectacles going through some notebook pages. Sayra leaned forward a little more to have a clear view when Yash came, out of the blue and stood in front of her like a ghost.
“Sayra I found the plumber’s number.” Yash said in a calm voice and a gentle smile.
After the plumber left Sayra sat on the sofa with her canary, she thought “Yash might be looking in a Braille book probably but I can’t remember in which room he entered and from which room he came out. He appeared in front of me in a jiffy like a ghost. Why can’t I remember? Fuck!! Someday I will forget my own name.”
“Mrs. Sayra you are a patient of severe Dementia and your psychiatrist has confirmed that too.” said the officer with rage.
Sayra’s eyes were red with anger and frustration. She yelled at the officer “I am Miss Sayra not Mrs. anymore. My husband left me for another woman the moment he learnt about my disease. Yes it’s true I was in a severe stage of Dementia but I have recovered partially didn’t my psychiatrist confirm that to you? I live alone, I forget things but I cannot kill anyone!”
The officer extended a glass of water and said “calm down Sayra. Fine then, can you tell me what exactly happened yesterday? Try to remember everything clear and specific.”
Sayra said with wet eyes “please don’t say like that officer, I clearly and specifically remember everything that happened.
Yes it’s true that I don’t remember since when Yash is my neighbor. He was unusual but a pleasant man, soft-spoken, never misbehaved with me and very helpful but one cannot ignore the fact that he was mysterious as if he is not what he seems to be. There’s always a mystical aura around him. Yesterday morning we met in the lift and he invited me for lunch. I refused as I don’t stay away from home for a long time but he would not listen. At 1 pm I distinctly remember it was 1 pm because I had set an alarm in case I forgot to go, so at 1 pm I knocked his door. He came out wearing his usual black glasses and a stick which he carried with him like his shadow. He asked me to sit and wait and he went out saying that he forgot to bring some soft drinks and he left abruptly. He was taking longer than usual and I was getting restless so I thought to take a short trip around his home. I checked my wrist watch it was 2 pm. I wanted to use the washroom, I searched it myself and when I entered I screamed aloud like hell. On the floor was lying a man on pool of blood. I stepped back and collided with Yash. I don’t know when exactly he came and when did he called the cops. I conspicuously remember his endless screams blaming me for killing that man who I don’t even know.”
Just then a constable entered the room with the autopsy report. The officer’s eyes widened as he reached at the end of the page. He stood up in dismay and said “Miss Sayra you may go home. But I am sorry to say that a lady constable will accompany you to your home.”
Sayra was awestruck. She drank another glass of water and reached home traumatized.
After searching vigorously for 2 months the killer was nabbed.
One morning the officer-in-charge reached Sayra’s house. Sayra was shocked and glad at the same time.
“We are extremely sorry for bothering you Miss Sayra. I apologize on behalf of the entire team.” said the officer with composed eyes.
“It’s okay officer. I keep forgetting things so I forgot the mishaps.” Sayra said with a witty smile.
She added again “congratulations for your win by the way. What happened to Yash? He never came back in his house again!”
“Your neighbor Yash is the killer Miss Sayra and he is not blind.” said the officer with a firm voice.
Sayra was dumbfounded. Her jaws dropped. She stared at the officer with a dreadful look.
The officer said “that night the autopsy report said that the man died in sometime between 3:30 to 3:45 am the previous night. So we dismissed you as our suspect as we knew that your presence at your neighbor’s home at that time was impossible. We nabbed him from a motel in the highway where he was hiding with his identical twin brother Rishi. Rishi is blind but not Yash. Both of them are so identical that they easily switched roles. Rishi mostly stayed indoors and Yash turned blind whenever he stepped out. They are drug dealers. The man Yash killed was a rival. They had some argument and Yash stabbed him. The day Rishi was yelling at you not Yash. They were trying to bewilder the cops by imposing the murder charge on you.
Anyways Miss Sayra, get well soon!! And be aware of tricky neighbors.”
Sayra was extremely happy today for two reasons. First the real killer was arrested and second she gained confidence on her memory and her disease as she was right that day when she saw not one but two people in Yash’s house. Yash discreetly handled the situation and improvised her but now she knows she was right. That’s a win-win for her.
The alarm started ringing. It was time to feed the canary.