Exhausted, Chaaru blinked away her tears. Looking above, she cried, “why are you doing this to me? Wasn’t it enough that you took away amma and appa? You dare not snatch my anna from me.” 

“Chaaru, inspector sir is calling. Come in quickly,” a constable called her.

“Chaaru, we have finally found Raj,” inspector Mukund said.

Sparks of happiness glimmered in her heart.

“But there’s a problem.”

Chaaru froze. More problems?

“Well, my informers have spotted him with Jose’s gang in Zaula nagar. You very well know the drug lord, Jose. If Raj is with him, then chances of his release are very slim.”

“Sir, I had almost begun to think that anna is dead. He’s alive. That’s a big relief. Nothing else matters! I will escort him back home. Safe.”

“Do you think it’s a child’s play to get through Jose’s gang? They will finish you off without leaving a trace if they catch you.”

“I’m ready to die, sir,” Chaaru gasped. “Without anna, am I even alive?”

“Hmm. In that case, we will help you, Chaaru. But you must promise to help us nab that gang,” Mukund said.

Chaaru was quiet.

Mukund read her mind. “If you help us, I promise the court will reduce Raj’s punishment. He can be the key witness to Jose’s nasty business.”

Chaaru nodded.

Back home, Chaaru got to work. She packed her suitcase. A tiny microphone and camera was fitted between the zipper. 

She lay down on her creaking wooden bed. The roof was leaking due to the incessant rains outside. Her eyes poured remembering her dear brother. She was barely one when she lost her father in an accident. Raj, who was eleven then, cared for her like a father. Chaaru loved him more than anyone else. Their mother worked as a daily wager in a construction site. Hence, Raj looked after Chaaru the whole day. He bathed her, fed her and read out stories. However, life took a cruel turn when their mother died one day at work. Raj quit his studies and did whatever work he could find. He stayed strong just to take care of his little sister. He worked in an illegal gambling club.

However, to earn some quick money, he began to gamble. They led a comfortable life. Chaaru never questioned him. Raj was soon stuck in a quagmire of debts. Goons began visiting their house. That was when Chaaru learned the truth.

When she went to confront Raj, she found a note.

“I’m sorry, dear. My intention was to make some quick money. You are 18. I wanted you to study in a good college. Never did I anticipate that it will get me addicted. For money to gamble, I became a drug peddler too. I know you’ll never forgive me.”

Chaaru looked for him everywhere, even the club where he worked. But Raj had disappeared. 

It had been a year since his disappearance. When she had almost given up hope, Inspector Mukund had broken the news of Raj being alive.

The next day, as planned, Chaaru set off to Zaula nagar. Mukund’s informer introduced Chaaru to a guy who worked as a supervisor in Jose’s factory to recruit Chaaru.

Chaaru was taken to a two-storied building, which was their accommodation. At night, she silently tip-toed out of her room and checked the other rooms. But she couldn’t trace Raj.

The next day, she looked for him in the factory premises. A tiny camera was attached to her locket that recorded all activities, like collection and packaging of drugs. She noted down the truck numbers that took the consignment to the dock for export. That’s when she saw him, her anna. He was one of the truck drivers.

Raj was shocked.

“What are you doing here? Are you mad?” he shouted.

“Anna, I’m here to take you back home,” Chaaru cried. 

“Hey, you both. What’s up?” a guard came running.

Chaaru turned around and jabbed a syringe into his neck. He fell unconscious. Mukund’s training had helped.

“Anna, drive us to the dock. The police are waiting for us.”

The truck zoomed out. Jose’s men chased in a jeep, but were stopped by the police. All of them were arrested.

Chaaru provided the recorded evidence to the police. Jose’s factory was sealed. As promised, Raj’s sentence was lessened. Mukund was extremely happy with Chaaru’s bravery. He promised her a job in the police department after her studies.
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