2 : Funeral and Investigation
A stand flex board was placed at left side of the Mansion entrance, with context - "In the Loving Memory of Mr. Raghupathi" along with the best smiling photo of Mr. Raghupathi and his birth and death dates below. The Mansion welcomed all the people with benevolence and portentous towards Karthik's father. Throngs of people include politicians, business tycoons, film stars and many others from different fields, where Raghupathi was associated.
Raghupathi's body wrapped in a white cloth and placed in a freezer box at the center of the Mansion hall, facing southward. Cotton plugs are placed at his nostrils. Vibuti kept on his forehead. Both the toes of right and left legs are kept tied with a belief that it does not allow the departed soul to re-enter the physical body. A garland of flowers placed around his neck. A lighted oil lamp made of mud, was kept by the deceased's head.
A traditional wake was being held. Mourners watching over their dead. Karthik is still in a posture of no words. Stood beside one of the long pillar, staring at his father's face and recollecting all his childhood memories and unperishable moments he had with his father since at the age of 6 years, after his mother's death. Everything is recalling in his thoughts.
Siri, Rishi and few other Karthik friends trying their level best to console their friend. One of the friend, Varun, is with a bandage over his head.
Relatives and beloved well wishers of Karthik's family are honoring the dead Raghupathi with flowers and garlands on the casket and attempting a console to Karthik. Most of the ears and tongues in the wake are murmuring on the death of Raghupathi with best acceptable theories they can.
"I heard that Raghu was in huge debts, so he committed suicide"
"His business rivalries may be murdered him"
"He drank so mcuh and slipped from the top of his own constructional building"
At the end of death wake, casket is removed and body shifted to a wooden bier, decorated with white cloth, flowers and every traditional items needed for the last ride. Karthik was in a white dhothi and a white cloth was put around his neck, carrying a pot of fire to light the funeral pyre. Karthik and bier was then moved to hearse along with Siri, Rishi and few relatives. Others followed them in cars and bikes to the crematorium. Media too followed for their exclusives.
The chief mourner carried the last proceedings of cremation. Circled the pyre three times, walking counter clockwise keeping the body on his left. Karta set the pyre on fire. Karthik, Siri, Rishi and few of his friends and countable known members, stayed there until the body is entirely burned. Rest gathered left as soon as the pyre is lighted.
Seeing the last particles of his father, Karthik slowly busted his tears out and cried like a child with no one in the world. Siri held the hand of Karthik tightly, as much as she can.
Dusk followed. Except Karthik, Siri and his friends, rest all the assemblage disappeared.
Door bell rang! Siri opened the door. SI along with his sub ordinate, Chari were standing at the entrance.
Siri face changed fear red at the sight of people protectors.
'Hello! Ma'am'. SI took the lead for conversation.
Siri, embarrassingly, gave a traditional namaste, before inviting them into the Mansion.
Karthik walked into the hall with a half sleep face.
"I'll bring coffee for you" Siri informed the police duo and made her way to kitchen, making an eye contact with Karthik as an attempt to convey something, but Karthik had given her less than a second. Karthik offered SI to have a seat on the luxurious sofa couch. Siri with a brisk walk brought 2 coffee cups and gave to SI and Chari. The coffee was prepared for her and Karthik. Chari, standing next to him, completed his drink in one sip as if he had to hurry up for something important. While SI is seen in no rush. Siri and Karthik sat opposite to officer, with guessing faces. The officer had a look at the walls. To his left, there is a collection of photo frames from the Karthik's childhood to his young age. Photos of his dead parents are at the center.
" How many are living at this mansion, Mr.Karthik?" SI restarted his questionnaire while having a sip of coffee.
Earlier, it was me and my father.
Apart from you both?
Shekar and few other servants.
Before officer was about to ask regarding Shekar, Karthik continued.
Shekar is our cook. He is with since mother's death.
Is he here now?
Siri interfered the conversation.
I want to be with Karthik during this bad phase and take good care of him. His presence doesn't seem necessary. So asked him to take leave.
SI mocked - "Hmmm! Privacy....."
The action of Officer made Karthik angry. Siri held Karthik's hands tightly. Karthik looked towards Siri. Siri gestured with her eyes wide. SI watching their responses.
"It's not like that officer" Karthik was about to detail
SI got up from the sofa and walked towards a straight window.
No! No! No need to explain. I can understand.
Well! let me come back to you Mr. Karthik. In our last meet, I asked 3 questions. You didn't answer yet.
SI is observing the couple through the window mirror.
On that night, I slept at Siri's house
You was with her? In her house?
Karthik scowled at officer.
Siri joined the conversation.
On that evening, I and Karthik went to Pub and he was fully drunk. For safety, I took him to my home.
SI still watching them through window mirror.
"Safety!" Swinged his head vertically. " Do Mr.Raghupathi know about you two?
No! I was about to tell him.
Officer turned towards the love birds.
What about suicide?
I don't think so. Karthik denied.
Karthik shook his head.
Well thanks for the coffee and information. Placed the coffee cup on a near by stand and the police duo walked out of there.
Karthik and Siri stood watching them both go.
Did anyone killed my dad?
Siri looked towards Karthik with fear.
Constable and his reporting head are having tea at a tea stall.
"Sir, do you trust what they said?" Chari expressed his doubt.
"What they said is true, but not completely. They confirmed about their visit to Pub, but didn't reveal about the fight in the Pub." SI answered.