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"KURT!" Trishul exclaimed, surprised to see him there, both embracing.
As they pulled back, clasping each others hands, Trishul noticed the grinning face of Lorenz, "Hello, Trishul..."
"Lorenz!" Trishul smiled, shaking his hand, "Wow, what a surprise!"
"Yes," laughed Kurt, "imagine meeting you here!"
"When did you get here?" asked Lorenz, "And how come you didn't call Kurt, tell him you were coming?!"
"Just landed, this morning. It was all very sudden... um, like I didn't really plan this trip," Trishul gave a small shrug and a little smile, quickly adding, "Well, I did have plans to call you guys once I was sort of settled..."
"On vacation?" asked Kurt, "Bern?"
"Er... not exactly a vaca..." Trishul began, and then shrugged, "ah, I'm actually headed for Interlaken..."
"Heiliges Blechle ! Unglaublich !" exclaimed Lorenz, eyes wide, "We're on our way there too!"
"Well, then we need to hurry, or we'll miss the train!" grinned Kurt, grabbing Trishul's arm and leading the way.
"So," asked Kurt once they had settled down, "tell us about this sudden, unplanned trip to Interlaken..."
"Um," Trishul hesitated, and then shrugged, "well, ah, actually I'm here looking for a friend..."
"He's from Interlaken?" Kurt asked.
"I really don't know..." Trishul confessed, giving a sheepish smile.
And as the train began its picturesque journey winding its way through some of the most beautiful country... and along the scenic Thun Lake, Trishul told his story - about Rachit... their meeting, his sudden disappearance... Trishanu's discovery in the papers... and the call that came the previous day.
"So, you just have a number?" Kurt finally asked.
"Yes," Trishul nodded, "but the number is unlisted, I checked online."
They were silent for a moment and then Kurt reached out and squeezed Trishul's hand, "Don't worry, we'll find him."
"Trishul," Lorenz suggested, "my cousin, Marius, he's one of the biggest wine merchant in all Switzerland. He's Zurich based, but has stores in all major cities and resort towns, including Interlaken... and in fact, he's there right now. We could ask him, he knows practically everyone worth knowing. And if... um, Rachit's family is settled there, Marius will know them... probably even supplies them their wine... and I'm sure he could help."
"Oah leck !" Kurt grimaced, but then exclaimed, "Of course, yes, Marius is the perfect person for the job!"
Marius turned out to be a much older cousin, in his late fifties - small and rotund, with eyes that darted all over the place, constantly twinkling.
He was terribly pleased to see Lorenz... and Kurt... waving away Lorenz' introduction of him with an dismissive shrug: "Once a négociant, but now simply a wine merchant!"
Welcoming Trishul with open arms as he boomed: "A friend of dear Lorenz, is a friend of mine!"
Thrilled to learn that Trishul was in the wine trade too. Had his own vineyard and label - a name, he exclaimed, he'd certainly heard praise of, though, unfortunately, never the honour of handling the product... Curious with numerous questions about his vineyard, and other specific details...
And as they sat talking (well, Marius doing most of it!), Trishul, despite his desperation, couldn't help but smile as he watched him. The man reminded him of Oliveira da Figueira, that absolutely adorable character from the Tintin series. What an uncanny resemblance - portly and balding... equally voluble, and inoffensively ingratiating!
"Ranjeet Uberoi, of course I know him!" exclaimed Marius when finally Trishul managed to ask the one question he so desperately wanted to. "He owns a huge mansion just outside Interlaken, a veritable fortress... AND, one of the finest wine cellar in all Switzerland, a very fine selection..." proudly adding, "And I supply him!"
"Of course I know Amit!" Marius grinned, his eyes lighting up. "It's always a pleasure to deal with him... he knows, and can appreciate. A real oenophile, impeccable taste in wine! "
"Is he in town by any chance, um, visiting home?"
"Well, now that you ask," Marius bobbed his head, "yes, I did see him..." he paused, the tone suddenly uncertain.
"When did you see him?" Trishul ventured.
"I saw him the other day, Tuesday, I think... or, was it Monday..." Marius answered, and then asked, "You a friend of his?"
"Ah, not exactly," replied Trishul, "I'm actually a friend of Rachit... you know him?"
"Rachit?" Marius shook his head, and then his brow creased in confusion as he murmured, almost to himself, "Isn't his name Anit?"
"Whose name?" Trishul asked, curious.
"I must be getting old," Marius shook his head and laughed, "but then, that was a long while back..."
"Who's Anit?" Trishul asked again.
"Why, Amit's brother!" replied Marius.
"Brother?" Trishul asked, leaning forward.
"Yes, his younger twin brother..."
"Twins?!" cried Trishul, "Oh my God!"
"Yes, Amit and Anit are twins, identical twins... and oh, the pranks they'd play when young!" he roared at the recollection, laughing till he was a quivering mass of flesh. "Ah, those were the days... and then, the lady left so suddenly, and the brothers were separated..."
"Separated?" Trishul asked, suddenly keen to know more, "What happened?"
"Oh, that was long back... 1995, I think," Marius replied, bobbing his head, "the family moved here in 1992, that's exactly twenty years back, from Brussels, and the boys were little then.
"Yes," he continued, "it was the same year that Ranjeet's grandfather passed away, it was just after the summer break... and I had wrapped up my visit here, ready to go back to Zurich. Then something happened, and Ranjeet's wife suddenly left, taking little Anit. Of course, we came to know of it later. Amit remained, but after school he left for college... and now, he spends most of his time shuttling between London and Antwerp, diamonds, you know... visiting home rarely."
Trishul already knew about the move from Brussels to Interlaken in the year 1992... about Roshanlal's death in 1995... but Nirupam's report had nothing about the wife going away. And absolutely nothing about twins!
Or, maybe, it was there, later... since he never got to read the whole report...
Oh, there was so much he wanted to ask, to know - no, not about the wife or her leaving, but about Anit.
Yes, he was certain now - Rachit is Anit, and NOT Amit. He had been right, and Trishanu was wrong!
"Marius," Trishul asked, "are you sure it's Amit visiting, and not Anit?"
"Oh, Anit only comes when Ranjeet is here during the summer, visiting him for just a week..." Marius explained. "Hardly anyone sees him, he stays in the house, and then leaves! In fact, the last time I saw him was ten years earlier, he was fourteen then, here for the usual week... and that was also the last time I saw the two brothers together..." and then he pause abruptly, his brow creasing, a distant look on his face. "But now that you mention it... well..." he shrugged, uncertain.
"Uh, guys," Lorenz interrupted, smiling at Trishul, "I think we need to first explain the situation, only then will he understand..."
"Yes, I agree," Kurt said, "Trishul, I think Lorenz should give him the details first, explain what you think, and maybe then Marius can help..."
Marius nodded his head, "Ah, that does explain a lot!"
"What do you mean?" asked Trishul.
"Well, I had just come out of the Metropole, one of my regular client, and walking down Höheweg, when I spotted Ranjeet's big car, speeding down. Alfio was driving, Gilberto by his side, a real mafioso type, both of them. I wondered for a moment... and as it slowed down, you know, since the lights had just changed and the few cars that had stopped were just begining to move... the rear glass lowered, and I saw him... looking at me..."
"Who did you see, Anit or Amit?" Trishul asked.
"Well, since Ranjeet isn't visiting I presumed it was Amit..."
"But you aren't sure?"
Marius was silent for a moment and then said, "The look, the way he looked at me as the car sped away... well, it did make me wonder for a moment..."
"What do you mean, and if they're identical twins, how can you tell them apart?"
"Their eyes..." Marius stated, suddenly confident, "People simply can't tell them apart, including the staff, but I can. Anit was an amazing boy, so gentle and polite, a little shy... but Amit, he's domineering and arrogant, like his father. And their eyes, you can never miss the difference, it reflects their character, one look into those eyes, and I can tell them apart..."
"And can you help Trishul meet Anit?" Kurt interrupted impatiently, cutting him short.
Marius' eye narrowed, and his lips curled, "That, you leave to me, I'll bring Anit over tomorrow..."
... to be continued
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