It’s my lucky day.
The head is found quickly. It had rolled into a ditch a few feet away, the trail of blood leaving a helpful arrow for us to follow. It could have been worse; the dogs could have gotten at it, which would have meant searching for it out in the boondocks. Or there might have been rain last night and the ditch could have been a muddy quagmire. Even worse, it could have rolled on to the road and some truck could have squashed it like a melon.
Our friend has struck again and this time he has gone for a change of scenery.
He has taken it outside.
It’s our man, all right. The poster of Pavitra Chatterjee is there, stuck inside the car. And the panel from Amar Chitra Katha, of Nakula, the ‘handsome’.
He is proceeding in order. As Pavitra Chatterjee said he would.
‘There are nails buried in the front tyres.’ Bijoy-da points to the side of the road. ‘See the nails here. That’s how he did it. Punctured the tyres, made him stop and then forced him out, drugged him, I am guessing the same as he had done to the other victims.’
Bijoy-da shudders involuntarily and I can see our Duryodhana has shaken him more than I thought. ‘He made him lie on the ground. Then he drove the car over his body and finally, he cut off the head.’
‘With what?’ I ask because I am interested in that.
‘A very sharp blade, very clean cut, as you can see how even it is,’ Bijoy-da says. ‘He is quite a butcher, our boy. Bet he was quick with this.’
‘Karna,’ I say to Siddhanth, ‘this is how Arjuna killed Karna. Kind of. Not with a blade, with an arrow. But he cut his head.’
‘That’s the connection? Karna? Why Karna?’
Karna is my favourite character in the Mahabharata. Abbu’s, too. Karna the luckless, cursed to forget everything he had known on the battlefield at the most inopportune moment, struggling to raise his chariot from the ground, when Arjuna shot his head off, violating the first rule of battle: never fight an unarmed opponent.
‘The tyres. Punctured. Karna’s chariot wheel sank into the ground. Don’t tell me you don’t see the similarity?’
‘You buying into Pavitra Chatterjee’s theory?’ Siddhanth is on his haunches, checking the bottom of the car.
‘Do we have a choice?’
‘Could be a coincidence. The murderer just wanted to stop the car,’ Siddhanth says with a dismissive shrug.
No. This is not a coincidence.