Deciding quickly, he drove down to the address, which as per the HR file, was Renu’s. It was a studio apartment in a large secure multi-storied building. As per the neighbours and security, Renu left home at 7:00 AM and had not returned. He made a quick call to Amit, before rushing down to the orphanage.
When he reached the orphanage, he found a couple of cops in the scene. This was the first time a baby was kidnapped from there. The police seemed almost disinterested. If someone wanted to take an orphan whom the parents had abandoned, who were they to make a hue and cry; there were many serious offences which involved much larger stakes and hence needed higher focus. To make them take the case up seriously, Keval told them the whole story about how his friends wanted to adopt the baby, and how one of the volunteers Renu had threatened that she would kidnap if need be, to prevent the same.
The police then relented and agreed to make a report and investigate. The testimonies of the ‘Father’ and the nurses were quite simple. It was true that Renu did not find Amit and Anita suitable to adopt the baby. However considering that she had raised an objection on paper for the same and considering that such objections were good enough to delay, if not prevent the adoption, there was no need for her to kidnap the baby. They refused to accept that Renu could be a suspect. “She regularly takes children home during festivals; if need be, she could have taken this baby too. We definitely would have allowed, especially considering that it was she who brought the baby in and hence was very close to him”, the Father added vehemently.
The CCTV footage also revealed nothing. No one but the nurses and workers went near any of the babies – not even Renu. Something suspiciously flashy in the raised left hand of one of the workers caught the attention of Keval. Crosscheck revealed that it was just a ring. The last footage of baby Shamu was when he along with the couple of other babies was taken to the bathing and cleaning area. He simply seemed to have disappeared from there.
The cops then began questing the guards and the shopkeepers from the nearby shops, if they saw anything odd. The guard at the entrance of the compound gave a positive ID of Renu. He said that he saw the lady Renu walk in around 7:45 AM, with a large packet and leave within 2-3 minutes carrying the same large package. “Most probably diapers sir, she usually brings them over for the kids”, he added. Keval nodded doubtfully. If she indeed were carrying diapers, why did she leave without giving them at the orphanage?
Just as he was about to inquire further, Keval received a frantic call from the office, saying that the servers were hung and a restart was needed. His intervention was sought, as the restart would affect the production systems of the clients in Europe and US. Cursing his day, Keval gave his contact details to the cops, requesting them to keep the inquiry on and let him know, in case they found anything, and rushed off to office.
Driving like a maniac, Keval reached office in a record time span of forty five minutes. When he reached there, he found the developer Sumit and the Delivery Head sitting there with the server team, wringing their hands. Ignoring their claims of server issue, Keval, did a quick system check, gauged that certain procedural calls in the newly implemented system were the culprits and quickly killed them. Assessing that the issue most probably was caused by the latest implementation, Keval quickly ordered a rollback and called for the code for a quick causal analysis.
The analysis showed that the problematic calls were for procedures with a particular data-type called Enum, which apparently seemed missing. The programmer Sumit began desperately trying to find them muttering under his breath. Something in Sumit’s tone made Keval take a look at the problematic code, himself. As he went through the names of the missing procedures, he found one common aspect – part of their names spelt the word ‘renu’. To ease his mind from her memory, he blindly typed the word Sumit and hit the search button. The results shocked him. In the called procedures, the phrase or word ‘renu’ was replaced with the word ‘Sumit’.
Speechless, Keval looked up at a stuttering Sumit and a sheepish delivery head. Sumit burst down and accepted that he plagiarised Renu’s code and added that the Delivery Head made him do it, as Renu did not come for the roll-out. The server team, who till then stood silent, also vocally expressed their issues with the Delivery Head. “Renu was the one who took care of all the previous roll-outs”, they said vehemently, “these guys know nothing but finger pointing”.
At the verge of losing his temper, Keval advised that the whole team should just leave for the day, while everyone is still sane, and get back together the next day. “Hopefully the lady Renu also should be in; we can all discuss, make the fixes and close the issue, together”, he added. The server support team seemed surprised at Keval’s statement. “How can Renu come sir? She met with an accident this morning and is lying in the hospital, unconscious”, they said.
Finding out the hospital details, Keval quickly rushed there and found to his chagrin that the cops had already reached and were questing a semiconscious and gravely wounded Renu, who seemed in too poor a state to answer their questions properly. Seeing Keval, the cops quickly said, “Here sir, we found the lady. She is mumbling something about wrong size diapers, new code and roll-out. We would have arrested her, based upon your complaint, but the doctor says that she has sustained a skull injury and hence could die if we moved her”
The diapers were of the wrong size – that’s why Renu was taking them back with her. Too shocked to react, Keval stared dumbfounded at Renu’s heavily bandaged head, when the doctor and nurse walked in. Seeing the cops, the doctor severely admonished them for endangering a patient’s life; he then checked Renu’s vitals and told the nurse to anesthetise her immediately. Unable to contain himself, Keval asked the doctor what the prognosis was. “She is improving”, said the doctor, “but she needs to be constantly anesthetised for the next eight hours to minimize movement, agitation and trauma. She also needs someone vigilant at her bedside for another twenty four hours. I however believe she is an orphan with no relatives and the cops scared off the two colleagues who had come to take care of her in the evening”
For the first time in his life, Keval felt tears welling. As the nurse started the drip, his wet eyes automatically went to Renu’s hands. Something about those bare hands and the shiny needle, triggered a memory in his head. He immediately sobered up, turned towards the cops, apologized to them and requested them to go. He told them that he would get in touch with them, if need be.
After the cops left, Keval made a quick and short call to Amit, before sinking into a bedside couch, his head buried in his hands. An hour later, a flustered Amit landed up, with a miserable looking Anita in tow, carrying a wailing and distressed baby Shamu. Keval gently picked the baby up and said severely, “Anita, Renu was right. You are a horrible woman who definitely is not fit to be a mother. Why, in all your smartness, you forgot that jewellery and motherhood don’t go well! Your attire was perfect, but your ring gave you away”. Amit and Anita apologized profusely. They never intended to cause any issues. They never thought of implicating Renu or anyone. It was a just a sad coincidence that she visited the orphanage around the same time when Anita picked up the baby.
Keval relented, recollecting those days when they were all young and happy together. He could empathise with Anita’s pain and desperation. Smiling wearily, he said, “I can forgive you, if you could, as the only family I have, help me convince Renu to take me as her spouse and let me be the adoptive father of baby Shamu”.
A joyous Anita, immediately hugged Keval and gushed out, “We definitely will! See, I was right! The orphanage does specialize in quick adoptions!”
Editor’s Note: On behalf of iDiya.team, I sincerely thank Sarita Lakshmi for this beautiful story on adoption which is a concluding part. Feel free to follow Sarita on her iDiya profile
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