The Terrible Two and the Mystery of The Reluctant Child

>> Saturday, December 01, 2007


Scene : Near the Gariahat flyover. One surprised looking man, one bawling child, two girls, one angry and the other with a crude mask over her head. The unmasked girl glares at the man. The air is charged with the essence of an unanswered question. The masked girl seems to be shaking with rage. The child continues to bawl. No one else seems to care. No cute guys around. Both girls carrying bags where huge notebooks do not seem to fit.

Time: somewhere around seven in the evening.

Chapter 1
The Only Chapter There Is

It all started one fine Thursday afternoon when I realized I was not receiving respect enough for my existence. On roads, I am either passed over, or have the wrong body parts stared at by the all and sundry of the eve teasing population. It was while my dramatic soul cringed against the unfairness, my sister came in sporting a laboratory coat all Science students are expected to wear, as an impenetrable protection against the deadliest acids. Needless to say, the selfsame cloak of invincibility was stained and holed, her entire class having had the mind boggling idea of having an early Holi party with the more dilute versions of the same acids and a few bases. But, like the sight of those who bring good tidings to the mountains, the coat lay in front of me, bright, shining and beautiful.

The lab coat, in all principles, resembles all lab coats in the world. Specially the coats worn by the unfortunate few in the medical profession. It was not surprising that a few hours later, I started out for my Maths tution dressed up as a medical student. Who does not respect medical students? Someday, I might presumably be saving the very lives who give me a blank stare and add to my insecurities.

It was a nice trip. But nothing unusual. Apparently, there are too many doctors in this world and beyond for people to bother. The conductor did manage to find me a seat though. Was it because of my gender, my alleged profession or the fact that I perpetually look like a helpless cow, I will never know. But at my tution, I caused sensation. Its a different thing only one person was there, but she was curious enough. But as usual, Berry took it very sportingly and even came up with a madcap idea to justify the presence of the lab coat. After the diabolical lie was cut and pruned to perfection, we realized the brainstorm had made us hungry and we went outside to forage for anything which looked cheap, unhealthy and fattening.

However, our journey to the world of further obesity was cut short by the sight of a man dragging a child of about four, who, as was obvious, did not want to go and was using his lungs to its fullest capacity to state his objections. Since all detective novels require a description, the man was of North-eastern descend, dressed in something blue and cheap and his front pocket seemed slightly bulgy. The kid looked like all kids, snotty, wailing and at the stage of life when kids stop being cute and become noisy. Berry and I looked like ourselves, sharing between us neither egg shaped heads, nor pipes, nor moustaches, nor trenchcoats, nor even knitting, the trademark of Miss Marple. Our detective trademark, if any, would be bags filled with ill-fitting notebooks and wrappers of chocolates hidden from discerning parents.

Both Berry and I read the papers. She reads them to know what is going in the world. I read the comic strips and the TV guide. But I have read enough crime stories to know an attempted kidnapping when confronted with one. We both shot a look at each other and decided to follow the man. All this, of course, was done wordlessly. But we had enough time later to exchange words. People who belong to Kolkata might be better able to estimate the distance. We started at the beginning of Ballygunge Phari near Merlin Court and ended up near the Gariahat flyover. Our dialogue during the stalking went on these lines :

P: We are not exactly very inconspicuous, are we?
B: You find trees and bushes on this footpath, and I name thee Mrs. Feluda.
P: Shucks, you are too kind. How did you know I have been totally in love with him since like when I was fourteen?
B: Will you kindly concentrate on the matter at hand? You talk too much.
P: Oh yeah, the kidnapped kid? Do you think people know what we are upto? I have been catching a few glances.
B: None of that, I assume, has anything to do with your weird choice of wardrobe today, eh? Darn, its seven, sir must have arrived. What are we supposed to be doing today? Testing?
P: Test? Test? What test? Did he say anything about a test last week? Was that when I was looking at Zombie. He is kinda sexy, you know, in a very warped sort of manner.
B: Its the name of a chapter, woman, the one we did last week. And Zombie is shorter by a few inches. Oh God, we are just behind the man, what do we do now?
P (while opening coat): OK, how about I put the coat over the man and you grab the child and run away with it? Also, FYI, all guys in this city are either shorter or younger.

Berry, not very impressed with my idea of re-kidnapping kidnapped children, decided to put things in her hands. While I crept up close to the man, ready to muffle him with the acid stained coat, Berry shoved me aside and decided to confront him, woman-to-man.

"Oi, mister," she demanded in her most severe tone, "where do you think you are going with the child? Whose child is it?"

Thus arose the situation described in the prelude. I promptly put the coat over my head to prevent the man from recognizing me in a line-up and began laughing hysterically behind it. The man looked amazed to say the least. The kid, of course, could not care less, his lungs being the envy of all asthmatics worldwide. Berry continued to glare in an uncanny resemblance o my eighth grade Biology teacher.

" employer's child. He asked me to get him to his home...making too much being disturbed...says mother will see to him," the man faltered, either in nervousness (having two mad girls attack you in the middle of the street can never be easy) or having hopelessly fallen in love with Berry and thus rendered semi tongue-tied.

"Figures," I commented laconically from behind the coat.

Berry was not easy to convince though. She demanded proof. The brave, brave woman, standing in the middle of the street, ten minutes late for tution, walking up to a random stranger and asking him to prove he was not a kidnapper. This girl is so gonna grow up into a social activist. Or a policewoman. Or a mugger.

It all ended when the man finally offered to call up his employer and convinced us that it was indeed his child. Finally satisfied, she permitted the poor man to withdraw with the yelling kid to the mother, possibly a harassed, tired woman prematurely hard of hearing. We trudged back to our classes, complaining bitterly about how nothing exciting ever happens to us.

Case satisfactorily solved.

18 scaly flippers:

Doubletake, Doublethink. 11:36 pm, December 01, 2007  

and what of the lab coat? i loved the part it played.

The Ancient Mariner 4:04 am, December 02, 2007  


can't believe it! was it something coming out of imagination or u really did it?

Guess your coat helped you a lot in your investigation. Did that coat have an investigative history of itself?

FireWhisky 9:07 am, December 02, 2007  

absolutely beautiful!!! u wrote it out perectly...

the girl with a zillion namesakes 1:19 pm, December 02, 2007  

(i have just performed the amazing feat of typing while half hanging from my chair..)

WHAT'S IN A NAME ? 10:19 pm, December 02, 2007  

do u exist u exist!
btb.....result berolo ??

ad libber 11:23 pm, December 02, 2007  

@doubletake, doublethink
I wore it back to tution, baffled many by the confused explanations, right now I am the female version of DR. Doogie Howser

@ ancient mariner
heh, I did it, course I did it. One of my proudest deeds yet. The coat has no history and since then, it has only had outings to labs and back, but I guess it will always remember me. :)

Thank you

@the girl with a zillion namesakes
:P Good for you

@What's in a name
Oh, I do exist.
Berolo, 67%. Another nightmare in 5 months. I owuld give up and get married but Adtya Mittal wont look at me. :(

Doubletake, Doublethink. 3:05 pm, December 03, 2007  

*sigh* doogie howser.

all these cute men turn out to be gay when they grow up. life is hard.

and you really should remove this word verification thing. i'm learning new european languages - "vwkncjmc", i'm sure, is a swearword in latvian or something.

~Moo-lah Buzinezzz!~ 3:13 pm, December 03, 2007  

"re-kidnapping kidnapped children"....Hahaha!!! U guys,do have great lives,dont u??!!!....:-)

Na.Su.Krishnan 10:40 am, December 04, 2007  

The most exciting thing about this incident is that, you made it hit the internet.

Good adventure! Keep writing..

dreamy 7:48 pm, December 04, 2007  

rekidnapping kidnapped children?..I was racing with my professor...from the metro station, to the ...errrm... class.We were both late. I won.He Dint know of course. Not that I am competing or anything..but we DO have great lives. :D

and you're SO very right about the guys being either young, or short.Or committed, of course.

ArSENik 3:45 am, December 05, 2007  

Wow...your life is deemed fabulously interesting if it is more interesting than the most interesting movie you have recently been interested in watching, or if you use more than one 'interesting' in a sentence. I see a connection between the penchant for tall men and the fanaticism for Feluda. In fact, most Bangali women have this thing for tall men, maybe coz they are aren't so common in the city, but there is hope for the city through various interbreeding methods undertaken by the residents and used on statistically taller races like the Punjabis and other northern creatures.

inihos 10:13 pm, December 08, 2007  

hilarious...yeah, and interesting too

WHAT'S IN A NAME ? 1:11 am, December 09, 2007  

Lookout for Junior Premji then .:)

shriya_freespirit 8:50 pm, December 09, 2007  
This comment has been removed by the author.
shriya_freespirit 9:04 pm, December 09, 2007  

an amazing tribute to our hilarious adventure......remember us thinking of how famous we would become..hw we discussed what we would do after getting hold of the child.whether we would hand her over to the police or not...which newspaper would we be giving interviews to...amazing...couldnt have relived it better...

ad libber 1:24 am, December 10, 2007  

berry, i remember every precious moment..too clearly

@what's in a name
I would if I could

Thank you

@arsenik you said...
you see, its not fascination for tall men, its just wanting men to be taller than us, I am tired of having to stoop to all people of the opposite sex, and it does not help that I have a very average height.

if they are not young or short, they are committed. Law of the jungle.
And yes, we do have great lives. All of us college going kooks. krishnan
thank you..i guess

sometimes, yes :)

He is gay??? Damn!!

smart primate 3:53 pm, December 13, 2007 actually walked from ballygunj phari to the gariahat flyover behind this pitiful person???

btw i am writing this after reading your previous blogs and having laughed myself silly for the last half an hour or so.....

p.s. i still can't stop laughing.

november rain-of tears 6:35 pm, February 12, 2008  

did u actually wear it on the road?and did u really do it?at least u got started (whatever kind of a start that can be called) on crime solving at least,not on crime least u started on something.......

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