Thursday, February 18, 2010

Strange

Ding Dong!!! I woke up with a start and some irritation to open the front door. It had been a lazy Saturday afternoon and having completed all the house chores, was lying curled up on the couch when the door bell rang. They looked very familiar, where had I seen them before. The first man who was a tall swarthy gentleman smiled at me and handed his card over to me, Pradosh C. Mitter, private detective. It was a familiar name. I knew I had read this name before.

As if he had sensed what was going on in my mind, he said with a twinkle in his eye, “You can also call me Feluda”. Feluda!! Of course, how silly of me, I had been hearing and reading about him ever since I had landed in Kolkata. He was the famous detective of the Satyajit Rays’ Feluda series. What surprised me was that he really existed. Had there been any Bengali in my place he would have recognized the stalwart immediately. I looked at the other two men with him and gushed “you must be Lalmohan Babu” at the short middle aged balding man “and you, I am sure are Topshe” They both smiled back at me, I noticed Lalmohan Babu give a gleeful smile on me recognizing him. Topshe was a young athletic lad in his late teens.

“Sorry to have disturbed you from you your siesta after your scrumptious lunch of pabda macher jhol and bhaat.”, said Feluda as he entered the house. Seeing my jaws drop he smiled and said, “It wasn’t too difficult to guess, the depression on your couch shows that you were fast asleep there, and about your lunch, well the dustbin outside had pabda macher bones with some rice stuck to it.” I smiled back and asked them to make themselves comfortable as I went to make them some tea. I was still wondering on what had got them here when Feluda said, “Ranjeet Banerjee went missing today morning.” I almost dropped the tray I was holding. Seeing that he said, “So you did know Ranjeet”

Of course I knew Ranjeet and the visions of that fateful day suddenly crossed my mind. It was around 2 years ago, I was travelling from Delhi to Kolkata in the Rajdhani and the berth was shared by an old couple and this young handsome youth. He had flashed a cheerful smile as he shook my hand and introduced himself as Ranjeet Banerjee. We hit it off almost immediately and got talking about our lives. Ranjeet was an investment banker but his real interest was painting which he was never able to pursue as a career due to family pressures. He had in fact been to Delhi to attend a workshop by the All India Painting Association in Delhi. He showed me a few of his paintings which I took to immediate liking having a genuine interest in art myself. He also informed me about how he was engaged to get married in a couple of months and had plans to earn enough for the next 2-3 years and then get into serious painting as he had planned it all with his fiancé.

He lingered in my mind for quite a few days after that journey. It was difficult to forget a pleasant and cheerful person like him. It was just last month that I happened to read an article about him in the newspaper. He had finally achieved his dreams and was a full-fledged artist. His painting exhibition was to be held at Nandan. Not wanting to miss the opportunity of meeting this lively gentleman again I reached the exhibition and was pleasantly surprised to see that he could remember me. The paintings were beautiful and I picked up an oil painting for my new house. We exchanged phone numbers and met up once again after that day. He was married and was very happy about how his wife had supported him. He seemed content with life.
“Yes I knew him” I said as I gazed at his oil painting that adorned the wall of my living room. What did they mean by missing? Where had he gone?

I gave the entire narrative of our meeting to the three men who listened to me in rapt attention as they sipped the tea. Topshe then said that they had got my address in a diary with today’s date written next to it, when they were at Ranjeet Banerjee house. “Yes”, I said. “I had given my address to him and I was expecting him for tea here today evening, which explains today’s date next to my address in his diary”

While I was still deeply engrossed in Ranjeets thoughts, Ding Dong!! The door bell rang again and as I opened it I saw the cheerful face of Ranjeet smiling at me. My jaws dropped again, “Why are you so surprised, weren’t we supposed to come here today.” said Ranjeet and then turning to the young lady next to him he said, ‘Meet my wife Maya.” Still shocked I turned around to my living room to see the empty sofa and the half read Satyajit Ray on the couch. I turned back, smiled at them and said, “Please come in, I was just wondering on where had you gone missing since morning.”

15 comments:

  1. Very nice dear..........beautiful language.....I have not read much of books ........except comics......but it seemed like reading a book.....beautifully framed..........

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  2. I have always told you to write.... Honestly speaking it gives flavours of Bond and Ray... Keep writing

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  3. hahaha... hilarious... well-written :) waiting for more!

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  4. This is very professional Diptee. Kept me engrossed till the last word. I especially liked the seamless description of fictional and real characters in the story. Kudos!
    Eagerly waiting for the next update

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  5. Thanks Subh... :)

    Thanks Nilpoa and Thakur... That is very encouraging....

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  6. :) Me likes! Almost surreal...

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  7. Diptee tu toh writer ban gayi.... good job dost.... keep it up....

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  8. Heyy diptee,
    thanks for visiting my blog n the nice comments..glad u liked the story..
    Also, went through ur above post n loved the stuff..nice narration n buildup...

    I also write poems..so if u got a thing for poems pls visit my poetry blog:

    http://www.versepoems.com/2010/03/love-lady-of-night.html

    till then, keep writing, I say!

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  9. Very well written. Keep writing...

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  10. Hey, strange indeed it is! I really liked it. How did you come upon it?? Having enjoyed Feluda in books and films long time ago, this was quite a nostalgic reading for me.

    Hope all of us readers find more surprises springing from your serendiptious journey into MAYA!

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  11. Thanks Didi... That was really encouraging

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  12. Seriously now i know how to give a good essay on a good topic and still keep within word limits. Brilliantly written. Keep on writing.
    (GOGOL)

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