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23rd October 10:30 AM
Mayur was contented after meeting Priya's mother and her sister. Standing in front of the dresser of the hotel room, he made sure his attire was perfect and then walked to the balcony. A morning cold breeze that swept down the balcony of the hotel room area rejuvenated him.
A few white and grey pigeons took flight above the building. Occasional honks of motorbikes and buses disturbed the otherwise calm ambiance.
He leaned on the railing thinking about the previous night spent with Aisha. She never refused his lovemaking. She believed in Mayur, who assured her he was thinking about their marriage seriously.
The bathroom latch clicked. He turned around. Aisha came out with her fair face glistened in the fluorescent light.
He stepped back into the room and closed the balcony door behind him. After switching on the TV, he sat on the couch, watching a cricket match while Aisha got dressed.
Aisha sat beside him. In her dark purple salwar kameez, she looked beautiful. Her heart-shaped face with not so chubby cheeks was rubbed with talcum powder. She had applied mascara to her dark eyelashes and red lip gloss to her full, open lips, which appeared prominent on her face.
Mayur took her in from head to feet. "You look so pretty, Aisha."
"You look handsome in your new suit."
Mayur smiled. "Thank you."
"As per our plans, we're meeting Mr. Bedi at his residence," said Aisha.
"Yes, but before that, let's go to the Swagat Restaurant to have some snacks."
They went inside the eatery and sat at a table.
Mayur leaned forward. "It's important for us to question Mr. Bedi about the suspects and seek his help in the interrogation."
"I agree. We should meet Mr. and Mrs. Bedi first."
"We may also meet Poonam and possibly Chirag. We could interview them too."
"Sure," said Mayur. "That's a perfect plan."
The waiter arrived and took their orders. Mayur preferred to eat vegetable cutlet while Aisha ordered masala dosa, a rice pancake.
"Should we call Poonam and tell her we are visiting her house?" Aisha asked.
"Yes," Mayur said. "It's better if she remains at her home. Poonam has been quite cooperative so far and we should continue to seek her help."
"But she and her fiancé Chirag are on our suspect's list, right?" Aisha asked. "How can we expect them to help us?"
"I know," Mayur said. "We'll treat her as a suspect while we question her. And I want her to help us in finding out more about the remaining suspects."
He took his phone from his shirt pocket and called Poonam.
"Hello, Mr. Varma," said Poonam.
"Hi, Poonam," Mayur paused. "May I know where you are?"
"Well…err…I'm at my home."
"Okay. Aisha and I are visiting your house in an hour or so."
Poonam remained silent.
Why is she silent? "Are you there, Poonam?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," she said, sounding startled. "I'm listening. Yes, you're most welcome."
"I want you to be at your home as I need to talk to you to find out a few more information." Mayur paused and then said, "Is your fiancé in Bangalore?"
Poonam cleared her throat. "Yes. Chirag is here with me."
"Oh, that makes my job easier," Mayur said. "Thank you and I'll see you soon."
The waiter arrived. He placed the food on the table and left.
Mayur cut the idlis. "We have yet to investigate two clues which we have collected at the crime scene."
Aisha took a bite of dosa and chewed. "The Pizza Hut cap and the footprints, right?"
"Absolutely," said Mayur. "We need to ask Prakash about the progress he has made with those two clues. I wonder why he hasn't heard anything from the Pizza Hut outlets yet."
"But Prakash has told us Priya hadn't ordered pizza from any of the Pizza Hut branches on that eventful evening, right?"
"Yes, I remember that," said Mayur. "But where did those clues come from?"
Aisha chewed her food. "Maybe the murderer placed it there deliberately to misguide us."
"No, I don't think so," said Mayur, his tone reassuring. "Do you think someone would place more than one clue to misguide us? And about the footprints, I wonder why they are not from somebody from Pizza Hut."
Aisha placed the fork on the plate. "It is better to remind Prakash to pursue the matter with the Pizza Hut outlets. Maybe someone, possibly a delivery boy, is involved in the case."
"Let's call Prakash." Mayur took his phone and swiped on its screen to call Prakash.
"Hello, Mayur," Prakash answered. "How is everything there?"
"We've planned to meet Mr. and Mrs. Bedi in the next half an hour." Mayur paused. "Have you enquired with the Pizza Hut outlets about the clues we've recovered at the crime scene? I was wondering if we can get some useful tips to proceed in our investigation."
Prakash remained silent for a moment. "Well," he said, "we know from all the Pizza Hut branches that Priya hadn't ordered the food on that eventful night."
"And did you contact them again?"
"No, I haven't."