Friday, August 08, 2014

The Necklace - Part 3

This is part of an ongoing story, read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't already.  

Wednesday dawned bright and early. Anand was already up and ready by the time everyone came down for breakfast. By then the word had spread and the entire family knew that Anand would be looking into the theft. Every single member of the household except Manav, the twins and Daadiji looked uncomfortable. Each person ate their breakfast silently, while Geeta nervously served them. Anand spent the entire meal observing everyone at the table, but was not at all surprised by the discomfort he saw around him.

He had already visited Devendra and Geeta’s room before breakfast to check the drawer in which the necklace has been kept. The drawer had no lock attached to it. With an embarrassed look on his face, Devendra had said that he had intended to move it to the locker. There were no other signs of a break in. Nothing around the drawer or inside the drawer had been disturbed. Glancing around, Anand had seen things which would not have been visible to others. Anyone else would have seen the room to be normal, but the slight separation of the beds, cupboards that otherwise were positioned together, now spaced apart and the separation of hooks to hang their clothes, told Anand that things were not going fine between Devendra and Geeta. Keeping this knowledge to himself, he had joined the rest for breakfast.

After what seemed like ages, breakfast ended and everyone hurriedly begun to leave.

Belaji” Anand called out, making Bela freeze in her tracks.
“Err… yes, yes Anandji?” Bela turned around and looked at him.
“Do you mind if we speak for a few minutes? Just wanted to check with you on something” and he walked towards his room.
Left with no option, Bela followed him.

She was a beautiful woman with extremely elegant features. Her hair tresses fell unto her waist and today they was adorned with a red rose. Anand took in every minute detail he could of her. She was the only person in the house he had never met before.

“Belaji, sorry to take your time, but I need to know a few things. Who do you think stole the necklace?”

Bela was shocked by the directness in Anand’s question. She hadn't seen it coming. Quickly she gathered herself and said “Anandji, I know you won’t like this, because she is your sister. But I think Geeta has taken it” she looked at him, hoping that she had managed to unnerve him as much as he had her.

But Anand had been expecting this. The line of questioning he had adopted was to help him make the best of the limited time he had. The shock he had seen all over Bela’s face was normal, and so was her response. He knew she would allude to her relationship with Devendra, sooner than later.
“Why do you think that is? Wasn't it meant for her?” He leaned forward and asked.
“Well, you are the detective here, why don’t you find out?” Said Bela with a smug look on her face.

Anand looked at her intently, unable to decipher the look. Finally he shrugged his shoulders and said
“I don’t think I have any further questions, you may leave”

Surprised that she had managed to get away so easily, Bela got up and began to leave.
“Why have you not married till now Belaji?” the question made her turn around and snap “that’s none of your business. Don’t poke your nose into things that don’t matter to you. If Dev-“she gasped at the slip of her tongue and ran away.
It had been a satisfactory meeting as far as Anand was concerned.

“A cup of tea is what I need before I speak to Champaji and Ajeeetji” he thought. Just about to leave the room, he was surprised when Bhaanu barged in.

“Saab, I know you must think I did it. But trust me Saab I did not. You can come to my room and check if you wish. I don’t like this house but I stay on for the sake of Geeta Didi and Daadiji. I would never do anything to hurt them. Saab, please believe me” and she fell at his feet, crying rivers of tears.

“Its ok Bhaanu, don’t you worry, I know you have nothing to do with it” he consoled her till she had quietened down. He knew she had too much at stake with this family; she wouldn't have taken the risk.

“Now will you make me a nice cup of tea? I need to find out who the real thief is” he smiled at her and then followed her to the dining room.
In the dining area, he found Manav. “Mama, can I help you please? This is so exciting, I have always wanted to be a part of your adventures” he said.
“No beta, this involves your family members. I wouldn't want you to get involved” Anand did his best to convince Manav.

Finally Manav gave in but said “I can help you with information. I have been observing people around here, trying to follow in your footsteps to become a detective one day”

Knowing this was the best way to keep Manav away, Anand agreed and asked him to tell him all that he knew. Manav opened up and let out all the secrets he had kept all these years- How Ajeet Chacha manipulated in the business and how Champa Chachi disliked his Ma. That Papa was very rude to Ma and she took care Ekta and Gowri.
There was nothing new in this information, but that Manav had an idea about the darker side of his family troubled Anand. 
“Well, that’s a problem to be tackled on a different day” he thought, telling Manav that he had helped him a lot more than the child could imagine.

Now, he had to approach Champa. He knew she would be in her room; she rarely ventured into the kitchen or to do any household work. The door was open when he got to Ajeet and Champa’s room. The biggest room in the house, he thought his single bedroom flat could fit into it entirely.

“Champa Didi, can I speak to you for a minute?” he asked politely knowing how brash she could be.
“Hey bhagwan! How dare you enter my room when I am alone? Thankfully Ajeet is in the bathroom. Once he is out you can speak to both of us. I will not speak to you alone!” she turned her back before Anand could react.

He didn't have to wait long. A minute or two had passed by, when Ajeet emerged out of the bathroom, all ready to leave for their shop.
“What is it Anand? Have you come to speak about the necklace? Please sit down, ask what you want.” Ajeet seemed more than ready to help him out.

“Just a few questions Ajeetji and then I won’t trouble you. Can you tell me if you have any idea who could have stolen this necklace?” Asked Anand, with his eyes focused on Champa.
“Frankly, I wouldn't know. Champa do you have any clue?” Ajeet looked very confused.

“Me! How would I know? Yes, I did want it, but I had already asked the Jeweler to get another made exactly like it for me. In fact I had chosen the colours for the embellishments to be done as well. You should ask Bhaanu, greed must have taken over her! Or who knows, Geeta would have misplaced it. Dimwit that she is!” scorned Champa forgetting for the moment that Anand was Geeta’s brother.

Knowing that he couldn't get any more information from them, Anand thanked them and excused himself. Moment he was in his room, he called the jeweler to confirm Champa’s story. Yes, she had called and already booked a similar necklace. This piece of news put her and Ajeet in the clear.
The list now narrowed down, Anand went out looking for Devendra, who he found lounging outside in the garden.

“Jijaji, can I speak to you?” he asked, settling himself down in the garden chair next to Devendra.

“Do I have the option of saying no? “He muttered and continued “before you ask anything, let me tell you, I had nothing to do with this. I kept the necklace in the drawer, you see I was meaning to give it to Geeta later in the night” he avoided looking at Anand as he spoke.

“I have nothing else to say"
 Devendra gave him an imploring look and walked back towards the house.

The talk with Devendra had left Anand confused. He sat back mulling over his conversations since morning. Not a single suspect had shown clear motive, yet the necklace had gone missing. Going by Devendra's reluctance to speak to him, it seemed as if he had something to hide. Could he have hidden the necklace on purpose? If he had wanted to give it to Bela, wasn't a theft the perfect cover? He continued sitting in the garden, watching the birds chirp and the bees suckle onto the flowers until he was called for lunch.

Lunch was a quick affair with everyone preferring to have it in their own rooms. It was as if each person wanted to avoid the other. Anand knew that this was the best time to speak to his sister, with no one but the walls to give them company.

“Geeta is there anything you are not telling me?” he asked when she was done clearing the table.
Heaving a sigh, she sat next to him and said “Bhaiyya, you don’t believe that I could have done this do you?”
“No, the necklace was meant for you, why would you steal it?” he asked, nervously looking at her face.
“Well, I haven't done it but the necklace… well it wasn't meant for me now was it? By now, you and I both know who it was meant for. She got up and began to walk away but not before a tear had trickled down and fallen on Anand’s hand.

Suddenly she turned around and asked "Do you really believe it is stolen?” 

Read the conclusion here

Correction: Ajeet and Champa have been referred to as Manav's Chacha and Chachi when in essence they should be referred to as his Tau and Tayi resp.. Despite the realization I have decided to leave the addressal as it was to ensure consistency and not confuse the reader. 


  1. ooh!! Poor Geeta! she is such trauma!! :-/
    I wonder what happens next..

    1. oops! she is facing** such trauma!

    2. Yeah and I am sure there are women like Geeta who undergo such trauma... :(

  2. The story progresses nicely, waiting to see how it all ends.

    1. Thanks Rachna.. this one is rather simple :)

  3. Ooh just got more interesting......Nicely done Seeta....waiting for the conclusion. :)

  4. The beauty about the ability to review an already written story is that we can often adapt it subtly as we see fit. I see changes and changes are good. Suddenly, I am no longer sure if the person I thought was the culprit, is the culprit anymore. Interesting twist, Seets

    1. Absolutely *nodding her head vigorously*. Glad you felt that.. because that was precisely the idea :)

  5. I feel really bad for Geeta .. What a life!
    This is proving to be an interesting read Seeta. In fact, I sat down to refresh my blogger dashboard expecting to see the next part :)

    1. True Aarthy, that is not a life anyone should lead :( Wow... that really made me feel good, you made my day :)

  6. Very nice build up !
    Looking forward to the weekend because your interesting story is going to conclude :).

    1. Done today.. hope your weekend will turn out good. Mine is considering that you commented on my blog after so long ;-)

  7. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say :)

    1. This was a rather simple one Suresh.. once you read the final part I am sure you will agree :)

  8. it gets more and more interesting !

    1. The final part is up, hope it sustained the interest :)

  9. It is getting more and more interesting with every part ... I'm still not sure who I think is the thief... :)

    Random Thoughts Naba - It's her decision!...

  10. Waiting for the conclusion....I am liking this Manav kid a lot :)

    1. Ha Ha Beloo, now I wonder why you said that?? :P

  11. hmm..the focus seems to be on Devendra..but I don't think so..come on, this suspense is it Daadiji???

    1. So who do you think it is?? Final part is up!

  12. Seeta, you have put in a lot of thought behind this Whodunnit. Not many can dabble in this genre. The concluding part should wrap things up.

    1. Not really Alka, I keep thinking I kept it too simple... trying to experiment with different Genre's of Fiction, that is the best way to learn I guess :)

  13. i did say i dont have patience .. hence going to conclusion part :) before i write anything about the Geeta or manav..


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