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It was Saturday night and Param was getting dressed. His mother came into the room and said, “Dont go out today, I have a bad feeling.” He grinned at his reflection as he ran a comb and put on some perfume, “What bad feeling Ma? I swear you’ve started behaving like those news reports, its all doom and gloom … bad economy, floods and earthquakes!” She looked at him sadly and said “Beta, I keep getting scared that one day you will go out, and then you’ll never return.” He smiled and kissed her on her forehead “Ma, I’m just going to a party, that’s all. I’ll return, I am like a khota sikka (counterfeit coin), no one wants to keep me, they just return me back”. His mother sighed and watched him go.
Param was a typical Delhite, young and a party animal. He forgot his mother’s anxiety the moment he drove the car out of the lane. He was young, single and it was his time to party, have fun. He met a group of friends and they went to a discotheque and wined and danced the night away. At about three in the night, he along with his best friend Sikand and Sikand’s fiance Richa left the party. The plan was to drop Richa home and then return to drink and party some more.
They left the disc and hit the highway. A Gypsy stopped their car. A man got out and said in an officious tone “We are a special task force from the Delhi police. We need to do some investigations, follow us.” Param remembered his mother’s anxiety. He was scared. He protested “Ask us your questions here itself, we will not come with you.” The man looked at them coldly and said, ” You have to come with us. You have no option. We need a lady police woman to ask the woman questions. Do you want me to send a police man to interrogate her?”
Sikand was drunk and he was shaking. He said “Param don’t get difficult, let us follow them”. Richa was sobbing, she said “I dont want a police man in our car. I want to return home safe.” Param had some misgivings but he reluctantly started following the Gypsy. He saw another car following them at a safe distance. He felt trapped. He kept wishing he had listened to his mother.
They were taken to an abandoned stretch on the Gurgaon road and ordered to get out of their car. They complied. The man took out a pistol and placed it on Param’s head and said “You want to return home? Hand me your licence and any other identification you carry.” Param said “I dont carry a drivers licence.” “The car’s registration papers?” asked the man. Param reluctantly gave the car’s registration papers. The man took Sikand’s and Richa’s identifications. Richa was crying “Please let me go home”. He said softly “Go!” They quickly got back into the car and returned home. Once the boys dropped Richa, they tried to make sense out of this strange theft. They then, just to be on the safe side, went to the police station and registered a case of theft of their papers.
They did not want to remember the incident, but the incident returned to haunt them after a week. They were called by the police. The police took both the boys to a place in Rohtak. A woman’s body was found, shot twice and the face was badly disfigured. The car in which the body had been found had Param’s car’s number plate. The dashboard had Sikand’s drivers licence and the hand bag of the murdered lady had Richa’s I.D.
“God! It is going to be difficult for us to return home easily now” thought Param, badly shaken.