Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Mystery of the Missing Tinkle

The ceiling fan was whirring softly as a bead of sweat trickled across my forehead. Georgina (or George as she liked herself to be called) was on the move to save her cousins from the trap. Julian, the wise one amongst them had devised an ingenius plan to save Anne and Dick. Tailing along with George was Timmy as usual. The Famous Five had succeeded at last in solving the mystery and I clapped in my mind to celebrate their success. They were my idols. Julian, the thinker, Dick and his spontaneity, George and her courage, the loving and motherly Anne, and not to mention the ever faithful and lovable Timothy (or Timmy).
I closed the novel and looked down at Elsa, my German Shepherd. She was soundly asleep as usual under my bed. "Could I train her to be like Timmy?" This question always haunted me. I also tried a couple of times. The maximum I could train her was to run after the ball, but never managed to get her to get it back to me. It was my dream then to be a private detective, solve these interesting mysteries they always seem to get in books, and also have a smart dog for a pet. And I didn't have to wait long to get my first case.
The very next day, fully clad in my white shirt and navy blue shorts uniform, I reached school well on time as usual with my water bottle hanging down my neck. I went and sat down next to my best friend Nitin. I saw that he hardly noticed me. He was busy with something under the bench. I tapped his head with my knuckles and he just jumped and banged his head against the desk. Massaging himself, he got up and sat on the bench.
"Don't you ever do that again." He said.
"Sorry." I apologised making one of those apologetic faces which I had mastered (thanks to Elsa, of course). "What were you doing down there anyway?" I asked him.
"Guess what, I have got the latest Tinkle Digest with me." He was beaming, and I didn't blame him for it. It was a deal between us to exchange these interesting books between us after we had finished reading them.
"There is a very funny Suppandi story in this where he just buries a dead telephone since his master had told him that the dead always had to be buried."he said.
We chuckled but couldn't discuss any more because our strict English teacher Ms. D'Mello had arrived in the class with our homework notebooks. The remainder of the pre-interval session continued monotonously without any interesting stuff happening or being taught.
I raced Nitin to the loo, and won quite easily considering his stout build. Relieving ourselves, we discussed the test results which were to be announced in a couple of days.
"You have tough competition this time, Ash" Pravin said. I tried to ignore him as he always loved to demoralise me. But he continued.
"Alisha was literally dancing after the exams. It seems your winning streak is about to end." He said that as if someone was offering him a chocolate.
"Lets wait and watch Pravin." I retorted. "Anyway, this is between Alisha and me, so don't poke your nose in others' business."
"Business between Alisha and you huh. Nice man. So you like Alisha." He snorted. "This is some interesting news. Wait till the class knows." Saying this, he ran away.
I didn't have much time to fume as the bell rang again and we rushed back into our classes. The Maths class had started and soon I got engrossed in the multiplications and divisions. All of a sudden Nitin let out a gasp.
I nudged him to keep quiet and avoid the teacher's attention.
"My Tinkle!!!" he was on the verge of tears. "I had kept it in my bag. It's no longer there."
My heart skipped a beat as I was supposed to take it back home with me. I carefully checked his bag all over again. He was right. That Tinkle had just vanished into thin air.
Our actions were attracting attention from our other classmates but thankfully Mr. Naik was too busy writing the sums to notice. Alisha gave me some reprimanding looks. I signalled her to get lost and resumed my rummaging. Pravin was beaming with glee as he saw the desperation on our faces. And then suddenly, as if a switch had been switched on, the detective in me woke up.
"Why is he so happy to see us worried?" I wondered. I mentally made a note.
'Suspect No. 1: Pravin Kamat'
Like all other detectives, I too had to make a list of other suspects in order to investigate.
"Who would like to see me unhappy?" That included three other people whom I beat in studies and another fellow on whose bowling I had hit a six of the very first ball.
'Suspect No. 2: Alisha Sawant'
'Suspect No. 3: Aman Advani'
'Suspect No. 4: Amit Kanekar'
'Suspect No. 5: Vishal Singh'
That would be enough for a first time investigation, I thought. Now was the time to tick off from this list. First I looked at Vishal. As usual he was asleep on the last bench.
"No, he is too much of a pipsqueak to attempt such a thing." I crossed him out. The next was Aman. He would have dared to do such a thing, but due to ill fate, he was sick and absent on that fateful day. Amit was right there at the far end of the class. No, he recently had received a painful punch from Nitin while teasing him about his figure. The mark was still visible on his face.
That left just Pravin and Alisha. Both equally likely to do such a thing and both hated me equally, though for different reasons. I glared at Pravin. He mocked me by acting to be very scared of my looks.
I didn't dare glare at Alisha. She was a real complaint-box as we called her. The slightest disturbance and she would complain to the teacher. I had to check the contents of her bag somehow without being obvious about it. An idea struck me.
I picked up my bag and went through its different compartments searching for the hook I had found on the road a couple of days earlier. It was right then that the mystery was solved, but being an investigator, I couldn't be labelled as a culprit, so I decided to carry on my investigation even though it was totally unnecessary. I silently kept the Tinkle in my bag and tied the embroidery thread I had brought for the craft class to the hook. As Mr. Naik's back turned I carefully threw the hook on Alisha's bag and pulled the thread.
Her open bag fell down and her books fell all over the place. Some people jumped, while others came forward to help her collect her books. In the commotion I silently crept away, gave Pravin a slight kick on his shin and rushed back to my bench with that saintly expression to avoid any suspicion.
"What was that all about?" Nitin asked me as I cut the thread off. without him noticing, I removed the Tinkle from my bag.
"Well...I found your book." I said, beaming at him.
"What??? Where was it? Who had taken it?" He could not control his excitement.
"It was Pravin, you know." I briefed him, like any professional investigator. "I knew there was something fishy going on when he came outside only to taunt us. He wanted to have a fight with us, and since we didn't fight back, he took his revenge in this way. As long as I am here, you never have to worry, friend!!"
I smiled to myself as he silently hugged me. Well, who cared anyway that the book was inserted into my bag by mistake or that Pravin was innocent in this regard. What mattered to me was that I had successfully solved my first investigation that I have now titled "THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING TINKLE".


  1. Oh dear detective cud u please solve the mystery of the missing Cadbury's....I suspect its at Allbd.

  2. Aah.... I have already started wondering about some of the things which happened back then!

    How could you do this to your older brother? Though I know that I myself wasn't much of a saint either!

    Its really funny the way u describe it. I'd like more about what you have done which I may have "unintentionally" suffered for! ;)

    Hats off to your writing Achin Mam!