Thursday, February 9, 2017

Spy Game – Detective Fiction - A Romance

SPY GAME
Detective Fiction - A Romance
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Of all my stories that have won prizes in short story contests 
 SPY GAME is one of my all time favourites. 

I wrote this detective romance story 10 years ago 
 in the year 2007. 

The story is set in Mumbai circa 2007. 

Relax, take your time, read the story, and tell me if you liked it.

SPY GAME – Detective Fiction – a Romance by Vikram Karve

Mumbai Circa 2007


“Subject got down on platform No. 9 of CST Station from AC Chair Coach C1 of the Deccan Queen at 10:40 A.M. 


Subject walked leisurely to the exit, turned right, crossed the suburban section of CST railway station, took the subway, emerged on the pavement on the other side of DN Road, and entered the Planet M Music Store on the ground floor of the Times of India Building. 

Subject browsed around, listening to music on headphones at various consoles, walked into the classical music section, sat on a sofa, put on headphones and listened to western classical music. 

After enjoying the music for half an hour subject walked out of the store, without buying anything, turned left, walked past JJ School of Art towards Crawford Market, crossed the road, was observed sipping a Falooda at Badshah Cold Drinks, then window shopping strolling unhurriedly towards Dhobi Talao, turned right on Kalbadevi Road and at exactly 12 Noon  subject entered the New and Second-hand Bookshop.”

I listened dumbfounded as he read from his notes.

“Subject emerged from the book shop after fifteen minutes,” he continued, “subject walked towards Dhobi Talao, hailed a taxi which drove past St. Xavier’s College, VT circle, Capitol, past the GPO, to Ballard Estate and stopped outside Britannia restaurant. Subject was observed thoroughly relishing a plate of Berry Pulao inside the café…”

“What?” I interrupted, but he held up his finger motioning me to keep quiet and he continued reading from his pocketbook, “Subject then ambled down Ballard Road, PM Road, browsed books at Strand, crossed Hutatma Chowk, towards Churchgate, past the CTO, Oval, Eros, Asiatic, Gaylord, and was seen enjoying sweet curds at Rustom, after which subject walked back towards Eros, then turned right on the KC College lane, and entered Oxford Book Store where till this moment subject is browsing…”

“You too are following that man...?” I asked him.

“Which man...?” Dilip said looking confused.

“That man, over there 
 white bush shirt  sitting in the rocking chair reading that huge coffee-table book,” I whispered, indicating with the corner of my eyes, the nondescript man I had been following since morning all the way from Pune.

“Him...? Not him. I am not following him. I am following you...” Dilip said.

“Me...?” I asked totally flabbergasted.

“Yes, Alka. I am following you! You are the ‘Subject’ – the object of my attention, the target of my surveillance...” Dilip said matter-of-factly.

“How…? What…?” I stammered dumbstruck.

“Relax, Alka. Let’s go sit over there. In the Cha-Bar. And you tell me all about it over a cup of tea.”

After a sip of soothing flavoursome Nilgiri tea I said: “Now tell me Dilip 
, why are you following me...?”

“No, you tell me first. About this 
spy game you are playing. And that too in a most clueless and amateurish way  so shoddy that you didn’t even notice you had grown a tail.”

“Tail...? Grown a Tail...?”

“Yes. Me. I have been tailing you since you got off the Deccan Queen and you didn’t even realize it.”

“But why are you following me...?”

“I’ll tell you. But first you tell me why you are following that man. Who is he...?”

“He...?” I said, glancing furtively at the man browsing nonchalantly, totally absorbed in the book in front of him, without a care for the outside world, “Well, he is the husband of my boss.”

“Husband of your boss...?” Dilip asked incredulous.

“Yes, Anita Agarwal, my boss. And he’s Mr. Agarwal, her husband.”

“And why are you shadowing him...?”

“She told me. Anita called me to her office yesterday evening. She told me that her husband makes frequent mysterious trips to Mumbai. And when she questions him he evades, says it’s just some routine work – sorting out his investments and all that.”

“So...?”

“Anita suspects her husband is having an affair. So last evening she called me to her office when everyone had gone home, told me her husband was going to Mumbai in the morning, booked on Seat No. 10 in the C1 AC chair car coach on the Deccan Queen, and gave me a ticket for a seat behind him in same C1 AC Chair car coach so that I could observe him carefully.”

“And...?”

“I am following him since morning.”

“Are you crazy...? Your boss tells you to spy on her husband 
 and you take off  just like that  as if it’s a game or something...?”

“She’s my boss – you don’t know Anita – she is very domineering, the way she suddenly asked me, I could not say ‘no’ to her.”

“She could have hired a detective, a private investigator.”

“I told her, but she said she wanted all this kept very secret – that she trusted only me. And since I had never met her husband, he didn’t know who I was and he wouldn’t suspect anything.”

Dilip looked at Mr. Agarwal, still deeply engrossed in his reading, and remarked, “Look at him. You think that clot is capable of having an affair...?”

“He seems to be a simple man...” I said.

“And what about your boss, Mrs. Anita Agarwal...?”

“Oh, she’s very mod. Really smart and savvy.”

“It’s funny!”

“What...?”

“Why smart dames like her marry simpleton chaps like him...?”

“It’s the opposite too, isn’t it...? The 
Plain Janes get the best guys...” I said.

We laughed together. 


Just like we did during the delightful moments we spent together when we were in college.

“Hey, Alka. I haven’t told you why I am following you...?”

“Tell me, Dilip. Why are you following me...?”

“Anita Agarwal, your boss, told me to follow you.”

“Anita Agarwal...? She told you to follow me...?” I asked, shocked beyond belief.

“Yes,” he said.

“But why...? Why does she want me followed...? And why tell you to do it...? ”

“Why the surveillance...? Well we really don’t delve too much – we just do what we are told and then submit the report to our client and collect our fees. And why me...? Well, she didn’t exactly tell me. She told our Pune office.”

“Pune office...?”

“Well, I quit my job a few years ago. I started this detective agency – private investigations of the most discreet kind. The Pune office e-mailed your details yesterday. The moment I saw your photo I decided to do this myself.”

“Dilip 
 are you following me from Pune...?”

“No. I have been shadowing you from the moment you got down from the Deccan Queen. My only worry was that you would recognize me 
 so I was very careful  and I have also kept a backup agent who is tailing you all the way from Pune just in case.”

“What...? Someone’s watching us...?” I was aghast.

“It’s standard practice. To warn me in case I grow a tail 
 if someone is following me.”

Instinctively 
 I tried to look around. I search among the book-browsers – I try to spot the watcher  maybe it was that innocuous looking lady looking at recipe books in the food section  or maybe  it was one of those students near the management shelves. Suddenly  my cell-phone started ringing in my purse.”

“Don’t …” Dilip cautioned 
– he put his hand firmly on mine  as I tried to reach my purse on the table. 

He opened my purse  took out my mobile phone  disconnected the call – and he gave it to me.

“It’s Anita,” I said, looking at number, “I was supposed to call her up at 2 o'clock – I forgot – so she must have called to check up.”

“Switch off your mobile,” he said sternly.

“Why?”

“Just do as I say. Switch off your mobile phone and give it to me...” he commanded peremptorily.

I mutely did as he said.

“You are really clueless, aren’t you? Don’t you know you can be tracked by your cell-phone...?”

“Tracked...?”

“Right now, your mobile is probably in the Churchgate ‘Cell’ – that’s why it’s called a cell-phone. And if that guy 
 the chap you are shadowing – if he has also kept his mobile phone on  it can be established that both you and him were at the same places at the same time  and maybe  someone interested may draw some intriguing conclusions...!!!”

“That me and Anita’s husband…?”

“Exactly! Time, Inclination, and Opportunity – the three ingredients of an affair 
 especially an extra-marital affair. Well  Time and Place can be verified from the cell-phone records  and it’s too much of a coincidence  isn’t it...? Both of you being at the same places at the same time for a full day  one can almost infer the Opportunity  and  as far as the Inclination is concerned  well  it is a matter of conjecture.”

My stomach curdled with panic 
 my body shivered with tremors of trepidation  I was overwhelmed by uneasiness  all sorts of weird scary thoughts perambulated in my brain  and then – my mind went hazy.

“Hey, Alka! You okay?” Dilip asked.

“I’m frightened, scared, afraid. It’s so confusing!” I said.

“It’s not easy, this spy game. Amateurs like you should not try to act like professionals. It can be dangerous, nasty.”

“Dangerous?”

“Don’t worry, Alka, now I’ll be with you. Trust me. I promise you I’ll get to the bottom of this and you’ll be safe. We’ll follow that guy together. It’s better for the cover.”

“Cover?”

“We look like a married couple, don’t we? Together we can blend in and look much less conspicuous than a single woman like you walking the streets, isn’t it?”

I felt totally perplexed and uncomfortable. 


The whole thing was getting more and more bewildering. 

So I put my arm in Dilip’s, and like a zombie, I let Dilip lead me as we followed our target across the Oval, as the majestic clock on Rajabai Tower struck three, to Kalaghoda, into the Jehangir Art Gallery.

“A foodie, bibliophile and connoisseur of art! Great guy!” Dilip remarked as we watched him devour the huge delicious samosas at Samovar, the art gallery restaurant which resembled a railway dining car.

I looked at my watch. Almost 4 PM. 


Enough time for a quick wander via the Gateway, Colaba Causeway and Fort to CST in time for the Deccan Queen back to Pune. 

Suddenly, I noticed Dilip looking past me, at the entrance, and he quickly got up, told me to wait, and walked away towards the art gallery.

He returned with a sophisticated mobile phone in his hand, sat down, and said, “Hurry up, Alka, We’ve got to go. Fast.”

“What about him?” I asked.

“Don’t worry. He’ll be taken care off. Now you finish your tea, quickly.”

Minutes later we were speeding towards Pune in a chauffer driven car.

“Tell me, Alka, where do you think your boss Anita Agarwal is right now?”

“Anita? She’d be in her office. Anita always works late 
 she never leaves before 8 PM.”

“Well. She’s certainly not in her office now. She’s in a motel near Karla.”

“Karla?”

“Yes. Near the caves. Just an hour’s drive from your office, on the way to Mumbai.”

“It’s impossible. I just can’t believe all this!” I said incredulous.

“That we will see,” Dilip said, gently holding my hand, “Alka, when I got the request to tail you, I smelt a rat. So I decided to find out a bit about the client. I’ve put a tail on your boss Anita – full scale surveillance, background checks, the works...!!! Anita pushed off from her office at 11 AM 
– ostensibly for a business lunch – and she headed straight to Karla.”

“I just don’t understand all this. It’s all very strange. A business lunch. And that too in a motel near Karla...?”

“Relax, Alka. We will be there in an hour...” Dilip said intertwining his fingers in mine and pressing warmly.

I looked out of the window. 


We were speeding on the expressway now  and  I could see the silhouettes of the Sahyadri Mountains ahead. 

Soon it started to drizzle  and  as we negotiated the ghats and crossed Khandala  it was raining steadily.

Suddenly 
 the cell-phone rang in Dilip’s pocket. 

“Yes...” Dilip said into the mobile phone  he listened for some time  he looked at his watch  then  he said, “Shit. Don’t lose them...” – and then – he kept the mobile phone in his pocket.

“What happened...?” I asked.

“Anita is leaving the motel in a car with a man.”

“Man...?” I asked curious.

“Yes...” he said, “but don’t worry. We’ve got them in our sights. Maybe we will run into them on the link road before they hit the highway.” 


Then Dilip turned to the driver 
 he gave him instructions  and soon we had turned left off the expressway onto a narrow deserted road.

Now it was raining very heavily 
 the driver slowed down to a crawl.

“There they are – your boss Anita and her boyfriend...” Dilip said pointing ahead.

I followed Dilip’s gaze 
– and  I looked ahead.

Just a short distance away  I could see a car parked on the opposite side of the road  probably waiting for the rain to subside.

Despite the poor visibility 
 I recognised the car at once.

“Stop!” I told the driver.

“No 
 not here...” said Dilip.

“Just stop!” I yelled at the driver.


I pointed towards the car on the opposite side of the road  and I told the driver: “Stop right there  next to that car.”

The driver stopped. 


I opened the door of the car 
– and – I motioned to Dilip to come out of the car.

Then – I said emphatically to him: “Come Dilip. Let’s go and meet my husband. And  of course  you must meet my boss Anita...


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This blog post is a work of fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
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)

Revised and Abridged Version of my story SPY GAME posted online earlier in my creative writing blog at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/spy-game_489498_blog  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/12/detective-romance-spy-game.html   and https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/07/my-favourite-short-stories-part-10-spy.html  etc
Post a Comment