By Nilesh P. Khandare(17 Nov 2009)
Laughter… the familiar chink of glasses and crockery… the dazzle of the chandeliers… In a dark, dingy room smeared with grime, Sandhya Mondal is weeping……. Amarnath Mallick, the business magnate and powerful politician is celebrating. So is his socialite wife Rama…. over the engagement of their daughter Rinita to the young, rich and ambitious Rajat Dutta… who is the son of another business tycoon known to them…. Sandhya Mondal is encompassed by darkness….fear, dread, shame…..she is lost…she can see nothing but blackness ahead of her…..
The party is over. It was a grand success. The guests have departed. The sparkling jewelry that Rinita has received needs to be put away…….but that can wait. Now that the guests have all gone, the Mallick household will sit down to do a post mortem of the party. Arin, the non-conformist scion of the Mallick family will also sit to discuss the party with his Mom and Dad, Sis and Brother-in-law-to -be……The final flicker of light fades in Panchanantala bustee…..
There is a sharp knock at the door. The Sub-Inspector of Padma Pukur Police Station, Tinkori Haldar enters the fabulous Mallick mansion. The family is stunned. And furious….Who the hell is this Sub-Inspector to barge into the house on this auspicious day? “Forgive my intrusion, but I’ve come to inquire about the suicide of one Sandhya Mondal of the bustee…”
More rage and anger from the family…”What rubbish! How are we, a premier family of Kolkata, connected with the suicide of a slum dweller? We have never heard of any Sandhya Mondal!”
“But Sir,” persists Tinkori Haldar gently but firmly, “I would like you all to see her photograph…” The words strike home. But more strange is the man in front of them, the Sub-Inspector…who is he? How singularly odd he is. How uncanny. How surreal! “Look at the photograph carefully…” he drawls in his professional voice.
The family starts going to pieces. But why? Why the sudden change of manner? Only a minute ago they swore with full confidence that they had never even heard of the woman in the photograph…Then did the confidence spring from ignorance? Did they actually know her? Maybe even share a relationship with her? As the plot thickens, only one thing is clear…. there’s more to it than meets the eye…