Friday, October 18, 2013

SPYING ON A HUSBAND

SPYING ON A HUSBAND 
TIME INCLINATION OPPORTUNITY
Detective Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is a light-hearted Soft Boiled Detective Story I wrote many many years ago, in the 1970s, during my Mumbai days. I titled the detective fiction story TIME INCLINATION OPPORTUNITY.

Old timers in Mumbai will surely remember the inimitable Cafe Naaz on Malabar Hill overlooking Marine Drive. 

Cafe Naaz was one my favourite hangouts during my early Mumbai days. 

Sadly, Cafe Naaz disappeared many years ago, but memories remain.

So here is my old fashioned detective fiction story set in Cafe Naaz, updated and abridged. 

Do tell me if you like the story.

TIME INCLINATION OPPORTUNITY - a story by Vikram Karve

A detective always remembers his first case. 

Let me tell you about mine.  

This happened long back – more than thirty five years ago – in the 1970s – when Pune was a salubrious pensioners’ paradise – a cosy laid back friendly town where everybody knew everybody. 
 
And let me tell you – at the time of this story – I was not even a full fledged detective – but I was just a rookie part-time amateur self-styled sleuth – studying in college – skylarking in my spare time as a private detective – masquerading as a Private Investigator for my uncle who ran a private detective agency.

Dear Reader, please remember that way back then, in good old days of the 1970s, there were no cell-phones, no PCs, no mobile cameras, handy cams or digital cameras, no modern technology gadgets, not even things like email and the internet that you take for granted today and the only method of investigation was the tried and tested good old physical surveillance where one spent hours and hours patiently shadowing and tailing your target.
 
“A woman wants her husband watched,” my uncle said giving me a slip of paper with a name and the room number of a well-known hotel in Pune.
 
“That’s all...?” I asked.

“He is a businessman from Mumbai…drives down to Pune very often…at least once a week…sometimes twice…ostensibly in connection with business…but she suspects there is some hanky-panky going on…”

One week later, waiting for the client to arrive at our planned rendezvous, I sat on the balcony of Café Naaz atop Malabar Hill sipping a cup of delicious Chai and enjoying the breathtaking sunset as the Arabian Sea devoured the orange sun followed by spectacular view of the Queen’s Necklace as the lights lit up Marine Drive.

She arrived on the dot at seven and sat opposite me.

I looked at my client.  She was a Beauty, a real beauty, 35… maybe 40… must have been a stunner in her college days…I tried not to stare at her.
  
“Okay…Tell me...” she said, getting to the point straightaway.
 
I started reading from my pocket-book, “Thursday morning at ten fifteen he left his hotel room…deposited key at reception telling them that he was going for work would return in the evening…started to drive down in his car towards Deccan…picked up a female who seemed to be waiting for him…she sat next to him…and as they drove off away from the city into the countryside they seemed to be getting amorous…lovey-dovey, you know, a bit of kissing, cuddling…”

“No…No…skip the details…just tell me…is he or isn’t he…?” she interrupted me. 
  
She seemed to be in a hurry. Maybe she was not comfortable being seen sitting with me over here and wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible.

“I think he is having an affair,” I said.
  
“You think my husband is having an affair?” 

“Yes. I am pretty sure he is having an affair.”

“How can you be so sure...?”

“Well we look for three things.

“Three things?
  
“Yes, the three key ingredients required to have a affair - Time, Inclination, Opportunity.”

“Time … Inclination … Opportunity…” she repeated looking quite perplexed.
 
“Well they certainly had the Time … they spent the whole day together in seclusion … and they certainly had the Opportunity … behind the privacy of closed doors in that lonely discreet motel hidden in the back of beyond … and as far as the Inclination part is concerned … well, the way they were behaving with each other … well, I have no doubt about it….”

A smile broke out on her face. 

I was flabbergasted. Now tell me dear reader – what would your reaction be if you came to know that your spouse was having an affair? Would you just smile? 

Suddenly I remembered what my uncle had told me, so I asked the woman, “Do you wish to increase coverage?” 

“Coverage?” 

“Photographs...receipts…documentary evidence…round the clock surveillance…full explicit details….the works...” I elaborated. 

Of course all this detailed investigation would be personally handled in a professional manner by my experienced uncle and his agency. 

I was very keen that this woman ask us to do a comprehensive investigation. 

My uncle would be pleased with me and maybe he’d take me along and for me it would be a great learning experience.

“I think you must go in for increased coverage, a full scale investigation,” I said.
  
“I don’t think so,” the woman said.
 
“No?” I said perplexed, “but you will require all this as evidence to establish that your husband is committing adultery.”
 
“Husband? Who said that man is my husband?” she said grinning like a Cheshire cat.
 
“You said so - to the head of the detective agency.”
 
“No, I did not tell your boss that the man was my husband - I never said that he was my husband. I just told him that I wanted that man followed.
  
“But we assumed...”
  
“A good detective should never assume things, isn’t it…? she said.
 
“But then why did you want that man followed…?” I asked curious.
  
She looked at me and said, “Well that’s my private matter, but since you are such a cute boy and I like you, I will tell you the story. It is like this - One day, fifteen years ago, the day I completed my graduation, my parents showed me two photographs. The first photo was of the man you were following and the second photo was of the man who is now my husband.”

I listened to her with interest.

The woman paused for a moment, had a sip of water, and then she continued talking, “My parents told me to look at the two photos and choose one of the two boys. I made my choice. 

You rejected the man I was following and selected the other one?” I asked.

“Yes. But ever since then, during all these years of my married life, I was always tormented by the thought that I had made the wrong choice. But now, thanks to you, I know that I made the right choice,” the woman said.
 
She took out an envelope from her purse and gave it to me.

“Here is your fee, and I have put in a little bonus for you for doing such an excellent job, she said. 

The woman patted my hand, then she got up and walked away into the enveloping darkness.
  
I opened the envelope and saw that the “little bonus” was much more than the fee - in fact, the bonus for me was more than double the fee for the entire investigation. 

I wondered whether she had two envelopes in her purse, one for each eventuality.

So my first case was over. 

I never forgot the cardinal lesson I learnt from this case. 

Since then, I never assume anything or presume anything.

I never take anything for granted. 

Before I start a new investigation, the first thing I do is to carry out a background check of my client. 

Maybe that is why I am such a successful detective.

So if you are thinking of hiring me for some detective work, maybe for doing a personal investigation, remember that the first thing I will do is to check you out.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this article?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
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