‘It’s time to pretend again. Oh God! why do people come to me? why cant they just leave me and my “laid back” attitude in peace. Wait until I throw that ‘detective agency’ board, only then can I get time for myself’ Kumar told himself five minutes after his secretary reminded him of an appointment. It seemed to have disturbed his act. He was at the time of the call busy aiming at a housefly that had bothered him all morning. In one hand he held morning newspaper the other hand motioned towards the fly as to challenge a combat. Eyes were fixed, aim taken, his reflexes stimulated for action and at that exact moment the telephone rang. Kumar was perplexed and the fly escaped.
‘OK, send her inside’ he sighed heavily. To appear busy he picked up a file and seemed to get lost in it burying his head. A middle aged be-spectacled woman entered the office. She seemed tired of climbing the stairs and was profusely sweating. ‘age 40, fat and ugly. Nothing interesting to investigate. May be she wants to know about her husband’s affair’ Kumar judged by looking at her. The woman took her seat and was about to start speaking. But Kumar wanted to make an impression on his client. He started ‘Men change a lot after marriage. They don’t remain the same. They act like wild horses on the run. I will find everything about this ‘other woman’ who’s disturbing your peaceful life. Leave the whole affair to me and rest’.
She interrupted ‘but I am a spinster. I approached you for something more serious…’ ‘you did it again Kumar! Think quickly. Say something smart to cover up your blunder.’ Kumar rose from the chair slowly and put away the file he was reading. ‘I was actually talking about the case in this file. Coming back to you, what were you telling madam.’ Let’s see how Mr.Sherlock Holmes would have diagnosed the problem of this old cat. Let me think along the same lines.’ Rewind. Play.
· Client enters the room sweating profusely. This implies client is in great urgency to solve the problem. This implies I can demand more money.
· Client is not very well groomed. Her salwar kameez is torn near the feet. Her slippers look old and hair not trimmed. This implies patient is intensely disturbed by some problem. This may also imply she is not very rich. So I cannot expect a handsome fee.
· Client is a spinster. Now what does that imply?
Meanwhile the client looked questioningly at Kumar. ‘sir, now tell me what should I do. How shall I solve this problem? How shall I get rid of this responsibility? I cant live for another day under the same roof. I am scared to even breath. Is my life in danger? Who do you think is the enemy? I trust you will solve my problem as soon as possible.’
‘What! When did I press the fast forward button! What shall I tell her now? say something assuring. women are crazy! They talk so much so fast.’ Kumar told himself. And then for a moment he pretended to have given a deep thought about ‘the problem’ and replied in the most confident manner ‘I will take care of everything. All I need is your co-operation in this matter and your complete trust in me. I promise you the matter will be solved within a week or two. Please leave your details with my secretary. And the advance amount for investigation purposes. I shall get back to you very soon. Thank you.’ Saying these words he rose in a respectful manner. She hurried down to meet the secretary.
After about thirty minutes Kumar rang for the secretary. ‘Rita, you heard the story right. And you know what to do. Start off with the usual and don’t forget to report to me every day about this case’ he said in a dignified boss like voice. Rita interrupted ‘But sir, I thought….’ And immediately his voice grew louder ‘No buts. I want this case to be solved in exact one week. Now, how much advance did the woman pay? Cheque or cash. Come to my cabin immediately’.
Rita ran up the stairs. In a confused voice she asked ‘but sir, that woman is from the asylum. She had escaped early this morning and some guys from the hospital arrived a few minutes back to pick her. sir, you heard her story too. She claimed she was the 'Her Highness of Coochnahin' and that someone in her province wants her killed and that 'blah blah blah'.
'That was when I called up the asylum 'blah blah blah’.
Now Rita was in the background, the words she was uttering failed to fall on Kumar’s ears. Kumar was busy contemplating his mistakes. ‘how could this have happened? How could I let this happen? But I followed all the details correctly. May be i should listen when others are speaking!’ Kumar’s eyes were fixed in a gaze.
‘ Are you unwell today sir? Can I get you the doctor? ’asked the secretary. ‘No thank you Rita. I have to leave now. there’s some work to do’ Kumar said and ran down the stairs.