“That seems strange with possibly a sinister angle to it” said inspector Tanwar
“It is. Ever since I stumbled on it, I am sleepless and waited for the first occasion to tell you” said Sub Inspector (SI) Shukla
“Give me briefly the events as they unfolded before you” said Tanwar
“I got admitted on an emergency to this famous Medical Miracle hospital owned by the renowned Dr Surendra. My wife took me here instead of a government hospital that is far from my house. I was there for a fortnight. It is a very clean, efficient multi specialty hospital with its tariff somewhat stiff. Lot of patients come from far and near.”
“I know all that. Come to the crux of the matter” prodded Tanwar
“One afternoon around 2pm when the doctors had finished the rounds and nurses were having lunch, a ward boy was in my room to clean something. A young boy about 18, he smiled at me and said “Namaste”.
“How long are you working here?”
“Since six months, Sir” he replied
“You look different. Do you belong to this state? Where do you stay?”
”No, Sir. I belong to another state. I was a destitute living in destitute home when this hospital agreed to take me under their fold, train me for such jobs and take care of me. I am living in a hostel of the hospital along with others like me”
“That is great. Are you happy? You are no longer a destitute but a working employee who can look to future with hope. Am I not right?” Shukla asked
The young man did not reply but looked on all sides with fear in his eyes. Shukla suspected something was amiss. It was then a nurse entered and found the ward boy talking to the patient.”What are you doing here disturbing the patient? Don’t you know you are not allowed to talk but do your work silently?”
Shukla intervened to say “I only called him to clean some stain on the floor”
The nurse did not appear satisfied and took the boy along with her. Her attitude intrigued Shukla. The ward boys were not in jail and why their conversations be curbed. He felt there was something more than what met the eye given the fear in the eyes of the boy. He decided to probe further. But the boy did not come for three days and someone else came.
On the fourth day, a Sunday, the boy came around 3pm and saluted me
“Where were you all these days? I was expecting you” Shukla said
“I was asked to work in the canteen and I am on duty there even today. I got some free time and so came to meet you” he said.
“Tell me quickly why the apprehension>Do you suspect some wrong doing? Be quick before someone comes”
He hesitated looking at the door. I said “Come to the wash room. I will lock it. You can tell me all”
“I am very much afraid what will happen to me anytime. Every month three or four boys disappear from the hostel. All are destitute with no parents or deserted by unwed mothers. No one is there to enquire about our well being. When my mates disappear we hear from the warden that either they ran away without leaving their whereabouts or possibly gone back to the destitute home. The authorities say they inform the homes but they do not evince any interest. I was not so sure about their return to destitute home or running away till my best friend disappeared a week back. In fact he was telling that after some experience he will look for a change to another hospital and study in the evenings. He was full of optimism and hope that I cannot by any stretch of imagination think of his running away without telling me.I am afraid when my turn for disappearance will happen”
Shukla was in utter disbelief but did not want the boy exposed to any danger. He gave him his wife’s number and asked him to take further instructions. He rang up his wife and told her what was required to be done. They boy was taken to Shulkla’s home and taken care of
“This is the revelation during my stay in the hospital. I heard there are many transplantations taking place and people from neighbouring countries flock for treatment. One thing I would like to find out discreetly the names of these homes. I can get the names of missing boys. We should ascertain whether the homes got any communication from hospital about the disappearance” said Shula
“I agree with you. But I will depute someone else as your association will cause some doubts. Let me talk to my boss who in turn may take clearance as the hospital has a big name and the owner a very reputed doctor. We should not do anything without proper strategy. One fault step, we are ruined”repled Tanwar.
It was then Shukla’s mobile rang and it was his wife.”What are you telling? Are you sure? Are you saying that the boy has run away taking with him the silver, watches, and cash? Oh my god, is the steel bureau opened by force? How gullible and sucker I was to trust his yarn? I am coming home soon” Shukla was heard talking.
Tanwar let out a loud laugh despite the inappropriate moment.