Days and nights suddenly seemed to be passing by fast. Jenny’s trial was due in the court. Java was however, not convinced. Jenny had confessed but then how could that have been possible. Every circumstantial evidence, had pointed towards Cyrus. He was sure of having him arrested and having him tried. Things had turned topsy turvy and not gone as he had intended. Gnawing doubts troubled him. How Jenny? Why would Jenny kill Naina? She said that she intended to kill Tara but then mistook Naina as Tara. But the murder was by a left handed person. She claimed that she was ambidextrous. He had never seen any ambidextrous properties in her. How then?
It was at such a time that his school friend had invited him over to dinner. They were having a house warming and Java had not met them since a while now. He had been looking forward to letting his legs and hair a little loose and relax for a while now. He would leave a little early from work that night, pick up a nice gift, and go there. Question was, what to gift them? His friend had been a rich spoilt brat and had almost everything that he could buy under the sun. Java finally decided to ditch everything and pick up a bouquet on the way to the house.
Having solved such a complex case had come with its own set of perks. One such had been press coverage and related instant recognition. Although this was what he had always wanted, to be known as the Mighty Java, he had not expected it to happen so quickly and easily. Shekhar Dutta who had once called his force as a bunch of fat bellied bureaucrats had written an article that was all praises. He knew that it was all hollow underneath but nonetheless. The TV crew had covered him as the cigar smoking sleuth and magazine covers were full with his full size pictures. What now irritated him was the fact that he could no longer stay the anonymous guy he had so very enjoyed to be all these years.
He silently left work on his 1975 authentic Royal Enfield that he had managed to somehow wrestle out of the force. The soul stirring thump and speed were what had drawn him to it instantly. He somehow did not find the new models to appeal as much to him. The company had made too many changes from what it was when it was manufactured by the British owners in the Madras factory. He had heard that these were collectors’ items back in UK now. “Oh the fancy of the white skinned people,” he thought. Letting the thump take over his thoughts, this was probably the only time the devils in his head had been quiet since the past few days. Maybe they were enjoying the thump as well. He quickly reached his destination, “Forget-me-not Florists.” Strange name for a florist but then they were known to be one of the best around his area. He had never had a girlfriend or a wife to know what kind of flowers to buy. He spotted a lady shopping in there and decided to ask her for her help.
“Ma’am, I am supposed to be going to a house warming ceremony and I really don’t know what kind of flowers to buy. Would you mind if you helped me?”
Initially taken aback, the lady quickly regaining herself shrieked, “Sir, autograph please! I have been reading so much about you in the papers. You solved such a complex case so easily! I am a big fan of yours!” Java was still not used to such appreciation and people warming up to him suddenly. “It would take me some time to acquire a celebrity status like taste,” he thought.
There was another lady in the shop who offered to help Java with bouquet selection. She introduced herself as Rohini. After helping him decide on the flowers and the type of the bouquet, she offered him some more tips on how he could present it there. Java, thanking her profusely asked her to join him for a cup of coffee at the nearby coffee shop as a token of Thanks. Rohini, while hesitant earlier, agreed.
Walking up to the coffee shop, Rohini asked Java about the murder at the Duttas’ residence. Everyone wanted Java to recount a firsthand account of what had transpired there and how he had solved the case. Java started his monologue narrative.
Rohini was not a fan and her reasons for talking to Java were different. She was actually Roohi’s counsellor at school. She wanted to know the specifics just because she had seen some changes in Roohi’s behavior over the past few weeks and she wanted to understand what she had been through.
After Java told Rohini about his ‘success story’, Rohini congratulated him on his success, satisfied the she more or less understood the situation and what Roohi had gone through. She noted that Roohi was the one who had discovered the dead body and hence there would be an impact on her psyche. She will need to take care of that during the counseling sessions.
“It must have been a moment of pride for you when Jenny confessed and your deductions were proved right”, Rohini made a closing remark to boost Java’s ego.
Although Java had not revealed the truth to anyone, there was a strange amiability in Rohini, which made him tell things to her.
“Actually Rohini, I haven’t told this to anyone but the case breakthrough came as a shock to me. I had my suspicion on Cyrus but Jenny’s confession surprised me. Since she confessed, I had to accept it and sort of close the case but there were a few loose ends which trouble me even now”, Java opened up very candidly to Rohini.
Java then discussed with Rohini, the details of the case mentioning how postmortem had indicated that the murder had been through the left hand but the person caught was a right handed one. How Jenny had claimed to be ambidextrous etc. Rohini asked him if he had verified her claim and he replied in the negative. He told her how he still could not believe that Jenny could have murdered Naina although there was this small circumstantial evidence that Ahuja did not see anyone stab Naina which could mean the killer was shorter than Naina … and Jenny was the only suspect shorter than Naina.
Somewhere in these discussions and sips of cold coffee, Java realized that he had probably revealed too much to a stranger. To change the topic, he asked;”So Ms. Rohini, how come you are interested in the details of this case so much?”
“Sir, actually I am Roohi’s counselor at school for quite some time. I wanted to hear about the case to assess what kind of impact it might have had on Roohi and what should I take care of in future sessions”, said Rohini with as much confidence she could muster.
Java was surprised and amused at the same time. He asked Roohi what was she counseling Roohi for and what he heard then shook him completely and the cold coffee was forgotten.
Rohini told Java about her sessions with Roohi with whom she had been doing counseling sessions for quite some time. Roohi was a very quiet child in school and some teachers felt she was depressed. This led to the counseling sessions where Roohi told Rohini about her life, her parents, their fights, their careers, their conflicts and how she missed a happy family.
Rohini then told Java about a recent incident where Roohi had picked up a fight with one of the senior girls at school. In a fit of rage, Roohi had flown to the girl like a tigress and tackled her towards the school boundary wall. Strangely, she referred to herself in third person and kept repeating, “Nobody ever talks like this about Roohi’s dad. No one comes between Roohi and her dad!”
Rohini then pointed out to Java that Roohi, was a coy, shy and a very reserved girl. But these random, very rare incidents, showed the aggressive side of Roohi’s personality. It was also interesting to note that these outbursts were often related to some discussion about her dad.
“This is when I began to suspect DID”, said Rohini, taking a sip from her coffee.
“DID? What’s this DID Rohini … care to explain?” asked Java.
Rohini explained to Java about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and how it occurred in people.
“Mr Jawalkar, children at young age needs a lot of attention and proper care. It is very common these days for children to posses multiple personality. There are various reasons for that, for example, if the parents are always fighting in the house, or if the child is neglected of basic love and care from either of the parents. In some cases we’ve seen that the child has got everything in abundance has developed DID, see there has to be a balance. And, in the cases where a child is raised by servants and abused during childhood, it’s most common.”
“Now, coming back to Roohi, she was very possessive about her Dad and due to the constant problems at her home between her mom and dad, DID had taken roots and Roohi was experiencing multiple personalities. Roohi was shy who would listen to the jabs of other students so Roohi would then turn to Ritu who was a tigress in herself, fierce, violent and forever angry. Roohi never knew Ritu, Ritu never knew Roohi. Once she was back from the attack of Ritu, Roohi had sobbed uncontrollably at being told that she had hurt the senior girl. Roohi could not or rather, would not swat a fly. Ritu wouldn’t hesitate.”
Java’s interest had been piqued. This was all very interesting and the Devils inside his head were both chattering so very loudly, that Java had to make a loud slurping sound of cold coffee to quite them. Java scratched his head and asked, “So you mean that the other personality they develop is actually the countermeasure of what they lack in their real life?”
Rohini smiled and said, “Yes, one can say that. Usually these children are deprived, mentally tortured, or suppressed of thing which comes out in other personality. Sometimes we’ve learnt that the other personalities could be far stronger and do stuff that the host, the original person, could not have done in normal life. These personalities start speaking completely different language that they have never learnt, or possess extreme body power, etc. And people usually in India commonly call that phenomena as ‘bhoot’, ‘possessed’ or ‘mata aa gayee’ too”
Java was shocked, “Woah woah woah … wait a minute … are you saying that a nine year old girl suffering from DID could potentially commit a murder? And she wouldn’t even know about it?”
Before even thinking about it, Rohini replied, “Yes. She can. And, she is a potential danger to people around her. However, Roohi hasn’t reached that stage yet. DID syndrome aggravates slowly over a period of time and the behavior becomes more and more aggressive, more and more violent. Although the incident at school indicates some violence, murder is something very serious and it takes time for an untreated patient to escalate to that level.
Java said, “Roohi looks so vulnerable and innocent, I can’t believe she is capable of all these.”
“Roohi is not, but Ritu is.” – clarified Rohini
Java said casually, “Same difference.”
Rohini almost screamed, “No!!! It’s not,” then immediately mellowed down and softly said, “When Ritu takes over, Roohi is completely unaware of the fact, she has no idea what’s going on. That’s why that headache occurs, and she can’t remember anything what happens when Ritu is taken over.”
Hear this, the devils inside Java’s head began rambling and the mental machinery inside his had begun to spin at full throttle. He began to question and re-consider all the evidence and clues that he had either assigned to Jenny or ignored. He was thinking aloud with Rohini who was also helping him structure his conclusions.
Java quickly asked, “Is Roohi left handed?”
“Roohi is right handed. However, Ritu can be left-handed,” clarified Rohini.
The piece of the puzzle fell into place. Java pondered about the recent conversation with Roohi. “Who? Tara?”
For one moment during the interrogation, Roohi actually had turned into Ritu and back. “How did he, the super cop Java fail to notice it?” he wondered.
He thought about the stab wound at lower back level instead of the upper back or shoulder which is common when men/women of full height are involved. He also considered again Ahuja’s statement that he did not see anyone stabbing Naina (Roohi being much shorter was completely hidden behind Naina and not visible). He thought about the direction of stab wound and Jenny’s statement of being ambivalent which he did not believe and now Rohini had mentioned that DID personalities can be ambivalent.
Java’s head was now spinning, and everything that wasn’t making sense was falling right in place. YES. It all makes sense now. Rohini helped Java conclude the motive too. Roohi had mentioned in her counseling sessions that dad was her favorite and she did not like Mom when she fought with him or even their maid, Naina when she would try to spend time talking to her dad. Ritu, Roohi’s alter-ego wanted Naina out of the way so that Shekhar would be able be spend more time with little Roohi/Ritu.
“How did it get so late so soon?” mumbled Rohini.
Java asked her to clarify and Rohini explained, “As I had mentioned earlier, DID syndrome aggravates slowly over a period of time and the behavior become more and more aggressive, more and more violent. Although the incident at school indicates some violence, murder is something very serious and I could not have imagined Roohi or let’s say Ritu take such an aggressive step so soon.”
Java’s thoughts were right now centered on two women – Jenny and Tara. He feared for the life of the people around Roohi and also about Jenny being in remand. He had to make this right. He had to correct it, right now. He had to first warn Mrs. Dutta and then talk to Jenny. Why had the stupid girl confessed to something that she had not done?”
He asked Rohini if she had ever spoken about this to the Duttas. She replied in positive. Rohini told him how the Tara Dutta never bought her counsel and had rather told her that their daughter was not mad. Rohini found it difficult to fathom the fact that even during this rising age of the internet, people thought having DID was being mad. DID was curable. It just needed the right kind of counselling. The Duttas were not willing to believe or buy. This could have been because Tara had once claimed to Rohini that neither she nor Shekhar had once seen Roohi be fierceful or hysterical. However, only Rohini realized that Roohi was totally changing into Ritu in certain counselling sessions. However, murderous instincts had never been visible in Roohi/Ritu. The maximum Roohi/Ritu ever did was to blabber about her name, write poems, draw sketches, and pick up silly fights. “How did it get so late so soon?”
Java was now really worried. He asked Rohini if she would like to join him to go meet the Duttas right then. Rohini asked, “Do you think it would help?”
“We need to try. We would also need to have the entire case relooked into. However bad or good I may be, I cannot let an innocent go down the gallows,” saying this Java got up from the table and settled the bill immediately at the counter. Completely engrossed in unraveling threads inside his head, Java gave the cashier, a five hundred rupee note and asked him to keep the change while he himself rushed out. Rohini ran behind him. “Hey, hang on. I will come with you. Maybe together we could achieve something,” she said.
Quickly jumping onto the bike and kicking it to life, Java gestured her to sit on the bike. His helmet, he had forgotten it at the table inside. Before the waiter could realize and get it for him, Java was speeding down the winding road towards Duttas’ residence. In a matter of 15 minutes, Java had reached the locality. As the bike neared the society where the Dutta’s lived, Java saw the Dutta’s in their car coming out of the society gate. Wildly gesturing them to stop, Java did not realize that a truck was rounding the corner from the opposite direction. When he did realize, it was already too late.
Lying in a pool of blood outside the society road, Java and Rohini were slowly and quietly engulfed in pitch darkness. Just as Java shut his eyes for one last time, all he saw was Roohi wave a good bye to them.
Sleep my dear friend a deep sleep,
We have many secrets to keep.
My game shall be known by nobody.
My secrets are deep, dig them not; you will be left bloody!
I care for my Dad,
Is that really that bad?
I was made for him,
He, for my whim.
I am not done yet,
There shall be more to come, you bet!
Was it Roohi? Was it Ritu? Did Roohi really not know Ritu and did Ritu not know Roohi? This question remained unanswered. Was it more there into Roohi/Ritu than Rohini had known?
Jenny was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of committing murder on the basis of the confession that she had signed.
A heartbroken Cyrus was back in Delhi studying law with the hope that he would someday help Jenny get out of there.
The Duttas’ life had moved on as well. Roohi was much happier now, the main reason being Shekhar’s happiness. Tara and Shekhar fought less and were generally happy now. It is said that watching a horror movie or going through tragedy in one’s lives together makes them closer. That is what has happened between Tara and Shekhar. They almost never fought now. Although Roohi at times felt jealous when Tara spent time with Shekhar, it all subsided as Shekhar was giving her complete attention, and he even appreciated her writing skills after reading her essays in her English workbook.
Shekhar still does not know that Cyrus was his son; his own blood. So does Roohi.
DID is not really a disease. It is a curable Psychological condition that needs immediate psychological help. We would like to once again emphasize that a person with DID/Multiple Personality Disorder/Split Personality is not mad. Treat him with same respect and love as you would have had he been fine. You can read more about DID here.