Everyone is chasing perfection in this imperfect world. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. It all will inevitably lead to success, but perfection will always be an illusion for everyone.

Ashwin and his wife Sona were also living in their delusionary world of perfect love until that unfortunate night. After living in a world where one of their five senses turns off each day, they were still confident in their relationship, was itself a mockery.

Chennai, October 29, 2099 (an era where one of your five senses turns off each day) 

Shortly before 5.a.m., a party of policemen climbed to the twenty-second floor of Saint-villa, the residential building of Adyar. Guided by the watchman carrying a torch, they stopped in front of flat no 504. An excited buzz of voices greeted them as they stopped there. That flat was surrounded by the crowd, all busy in talking. They became silent as the dozen or so detectives stopped in front of them.

Matt entered the flat with all his team members. He glanced at the lock of the front door; there was no sign of forced entry. In the living room victim’s mother was sobbing. Beside her was sitting a blind man, nonchalant by the presence of police. He was busy in hurling abuses at his wife and wailing inconsolably. He was the victim’s father.

He left few of his teammates there to console them and also to take their statement. Then he entered the crime scene, the bedroom. A man was sitting on the ground, and his face was not visible, as he was sitting in the fetal position. And she was there, sprawled on the bed, the victim. Blood was pouring out of her mouth and nose and ears. But she could still beguile Matt with her good looks.

“Your favourite pinup girl back in town, but dead.”

His thinking process was intrigued by his partner, in this case, Raman Jha. He managed not to spill the water on his hand. In fact, he was pretty sure he managed not to show any reaction at all.

“Boss, you hear me?”

“I heard you. What makes you think I care? Ask the Robotic team to go ahead with the next course of action.”

A team headed by Max, a robot with his other teammates, all robots, were busy in collecting shreds of evidence. Matt’s personal Robot Ray was also helping them.

Matt gave a few instructions to the forensic team of his Robots and photographers. After all the formalities, the body was sent for autopsy.

“So, who could have killed her?”

“Let me interrogate each suspect. Then and only then I will come up with my verdict. Raman, tell me anything which you could have figured out.”

“Matt, today is Swad-Viched Kaal (Wednesday-a day of no feeling on the tongue ). I guess she was killed yesterday.”

“Your assumption is made on what account?”

“See, yesterday was Gupt Kaal (Tuesday- a day of being deaf). So when the killer was strangulating her, she would have not able to scream, while others were deaf as well.

“You have a valid point. But Raman, we just got here. We don’t know anything yet. What happened? Who did it? So, let’s wait for the autopsy report.”

“Boss, I will take your leave now. I have a lunch date.”

“But what’s the use of having lavish lunch when you can’t taste the food.”

“I know, but there is so much more to do on a lunch date than having food.”

He winked at Matt’s smirked face and left the place.

In the Evening

26-year-old Sona Agarwal was a well-known classical dancer. Even though dancing was her first love, she also had an excellent command over classical music. Her husband, Mr Ashwin Agarwal was a writer of thriller novels.

Her mother Smt Gayatri Deb, a renowned classical singer, died long before when she was very young. Her father’s second wife and her stepmother, Paula Deb was a socialite, television, and media personality, actress, and singer.

Her father, Mr Brij Deb, use to be the leading exponent of Kathak dance. But ten years back, he lost his eyesight in a fateful accident.

Autopsy Report

Victim’s Name: Sona Agarwal

Cause of Death: Strangulation

Time Of Death: Gupt Kaal night between 12AM- 1AM

Any Sexual Assault found: No

The victim fought for her life: No

They were the main suspects in this crime, but as time unravel her veiled chapters, many more suspects break out from the cocoon.

October 30, Ghran Rahit Kaal (Thursday- cant smell anything)

Suspect No-1: Ashwin Agarwal was sitting in front of Matt, in his office.

Matt: Why she was alone at home?

Ashwin: Due to some altercations. We were not living together since then.

Matt: Since when?

Ashwin: Ah-Ah, two months.

Matt: Hmm, I see. May I know the reason?

Ashwin: Something not related to this case.

Matt: Mr Agarwal, let me decide the course of action.

Ashwin: Hmoooph, I came to know about her infidelity.

Matt: So you killed her.

Ashwin: Hell, no, never. Why would I?

Matt: Why wouldn’t you?

Ashwin: Look I don’t know, how you will take this, but there was something different in our case.

Matt: Come to the point.

Ashwin: Sona and I were in an open relationship. We were free to have relationships with others. Even I have a girlfriend too. We were financial, professional and occasional sexual partner.

Matt: I see! Then what was the cause behind the fight?

Ashwin: She broke her promise. She became emotional with that creep and was involving him in our financial matters. And that was not at all according to our treaty.

Matt: That creep must have some name.

Ashwin: Mohit Sachdev, that playback singer.

Matt: Who informed you about the murder?

Ashwin: No one. I went there to meet her. I rang the bell twice, but nobody turned up. So I used my key to open the door.

Matt: What is the name of your girlfriend?

Ashwin: God, no, please don’t involve her.

Matt: Mr Agarwal, I never repeat myself.

Ashwin: Riya Singh

Result Of the Meet:

  1. Two new suspects, Riya and Mohit.
  2. Ashwin had enough reason to kill Sona, so he was still a suspect.

31st October, Shushk Kaal( Friday- no Touch)

Suspect No-2: Paula Deb

Matt: I’ll start with my usual, where were you on that day?

Paula: If you and your Robotic team would have done enough homework, you need not had to ask this question.

Matt: Ma’am, Don’t play smart with me. Just answer me what I am asking from you.

Paula: I was staying with my daughter for three months. But, I was out with my friend on Tam Kaal and returned after I received a call from my son in law Ashwin.

Matt: Which friend?

Paula: It’s none of your business.

Matt: Minding others businesses, is my business. I guess Ray will help me out with that.

Paula: Go ahead, but I am not going to feel any pain today.

Matt: I know; Ray will make sure that your tomorrow will carry the memory of today.

Paula: His name is Mohit.

Matt: Mohit Sachdev.

She nodded, which swept Raman off his feet.

Matt: Please ignore him, you can go now.

The Result of the Meet:

Both mother and daughter were involved with the same man. She had a strong motive for the murder.

1st November, Uttam Kaal( Saturday-All senses working correctly )

Suspect No-3: Brij Deb

Matt: Where were you that night?

Brij: Sleeping in the next room

Matt: It could go against you.

Brij: Arrest me, I am already dead, nothing is left worth living for me after her.

Matt: Both your wife and daughter were involved with the same man. Did you have any idea about this?

Brij: Yes. Paula had numerous affairs in past but….

He was dolorous, since his daughter’s demise.

Verdict: Either this man was a great actor or was innocent.

Matt called both Riya and Mohit for interrogation, but Riya was the first one to turn up.

Suspect No-4: Riya Singh

Matt: Why were you involved with a married man?

Riya: Sir, I fall in love with him.

Matt: Where were you that night?

Riya: I was with Ashwin.

Matt: Hmmm, did he ever discuss his relationship with Sona.

Riya: Sometimes.

Matt: Both of you did it together.

Riya: What I did?

Matt: Murder.

Riya: Ma..ma…ma…ma, no, no, no. I did not kill her.

Matt knew that he had accidentally hit the nail on the head. Little pressure and she will break down. He bounced his fist hard on the table and asked authoritatively.

Matt: Then;

Riya: Paula.

After an hour, Paula was sitting in the office of Matt.

Matt: Comfortable

Paula: You don’t know who I am?

Matt: You are not under arrest.

Paula: If I am not under arrest, why am I here?

Matt: We have come here to talk to you about your daughter.

Paula: But I already told you.

Matt: Let’s say I enjoy your company, so I am calling you again and again.

Paula: This makes some sense.

Matt: Tell me when you last saw her?

Paula: Before I left home on Tam Kaal (Monday-a day without eyes)

Matt: How did you manage going out on Tam Kaal?

Paula: Like all others did.

Matt: I am asking you.

Paula: I have my Robot too.

Matt: Do you know Riya? And please take your time and then reply. I am going out for a while leaving you with your lover.

Matt signalled her to look at the door; Mohit was standing there with Robot Rex and Amx.

Half an hour later

Matt: Raman, all set?

Raman: Yes Boss, all cameras are working fine.

Then he turned in the opposite direction where they were seated.

Matt: Who will speak first?

Mohit: Sir, I had already told you this woman used me. But when I reached there Sona was already dead.

Matt: Raman, this geek is quite popular among girls. Sona Agarwal, Paula Deb, and Riya Singh.

Mohit: Riya and I are lovers.

Matt: And she was making a fool of Ashwin.

Then Paula spoke, who was sitting silently for quite some time.

Paula: Riya is Ashwin’s sister.

Matt came closer to Paula, looked in her eyes and then asked his question.

Matt: Then who is Ashwin’s Girlfriend, Ma’am?

Paula: I am!

2nd November, Viraam Kaal ( Sunday-All senses shut at once)

Virama Kaal was indeed a real holiday. All humans took medicine at 12 a.m. and went back to sleep. They slept for consecutive twenty-four hours without any break, any tension or fear. No crime, no war, no traffic, no use of any device. For one day, complete silence.

3rd November, Tam Kaal

While Matt was still in his bed, he received a call from Raman.

“Raman, what was so urgent?”

“Someone tried to strangulate Brij Deb; he is in the hospital, struggling for his life.”

“When?”

“Last night.”

Tam Kaal, 11:10 p.m.

All suspects were sitting in the room. Everyone was anxious except Paula.

Matt: I know who killed Sona Agarwal.

Mohit: Sir.

Matt: Sona was not killed on Gupt Kaal. She was killed on Tam Kaal, may be between 11:55p.m.-12:00.a.m., which comes after 11:5 9:59.p.m. The killer was smart enough to use the situation. He strangulated her while Tam Kaal was still running and she died when Guptkaal started. That was the reason she was not able to call anyone for help. Tam Kaal is a tough day for all of us, but not for Brij Deb; I had many shreds of evidence to prove my story, besides that he confessed his crime too.

Riya: But someone tried to kill him too.

Raman: He accordingly programmed his Robot Neon before going to bed.

Matt: But, Mr Brij never wanted to kill his daughter, he loved her enormously. He wanted to kill you, Paula.

Paula: Me, but why?!

Matt: He knew, and I know, you made it sure, that he knew.

Matt: In the first instance it looked like a clear case of mistaken identity. But then a thought crossed my mind; it’s an off related idea that blind people can compensate for their lack of sight with enhanced hearing or other abilities like smell and touch.

As we all know that if our one sense is lost, the areas of the brain usually devoted to handling that sensory information do not get unused- they get rewired and put to work processing other senses. Like today, our eye is not working but still you people are turning your head in the direction where I am moving because your another sense organ ear is helping you in that. Then how he was not able to recognize his daughter?

Ma’am, it’s your turn now.

“Haaaaaah”

Every head turned in that direction from which this sound has come.

Ashwin: Paula, you did this!?

Paula: As per Prabal Gurung, A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman, but a beautiful woman with a brain is an absolutely lethal combination. So, who else honey, who else. Well done officer.

One could feel the demon inside her voice.

Paula: I told Brij about my affair with Ashwin, which made him furious. I kept on provoking him, by talking with Ashwin in front of him. He was stupid enough to fall in my trap; he started making plans for my murder. That fool was thinking that he is planning everything, but actually, it was me whose instructions he was following unknowingly.

I made him believe that we are planning to kill Sona on Swad-Viched Kaal. Tam Kaal was his day, and I was sure that he will not miss this opportunity. But he was intelligent enough for choosing the time frame.

I was also working on my course of action. Over the past seven days, I was continuously wearing the same night suit, which had the smell of my perfume and sweat too. That night Sona was drunk, I made her drink a lot. I put some sleeping pills also in the last drink so that she can’t fight back. Then I changed her clothes and put my night suit on her body. But the most important thing was touch. If he would have touched her face, the game was over for me then and there.

For that my second weapon was ready, Mohit Sachdev. Sona had to die, if not Brij, Mohit would have killed her.

But you know, antipathy, begrudging, malevolence, and repugnance could stop all your sense organs at once, you need not a day or Kaal for that.

He could not feel the touch of his daughter because of his hatred for me was much more than his love for his daughter.

It all went according to my plan, everything was perfect, but as they say, perfection is an illusion based on our perception.

Matt: Paula, no doubt the plan was perfect but imperfectly perfect.

(The Beginning)

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-Pallavi Pundir