Tail Chase to Churchgate
Fiction Short Story
From my Creative Writing Archives:
Here is a story for the young and not so young...
“Wake up, I’m sending you on a mission,” my father said, shaking me off my bed.
“Mission!” I jumped out of bed and got ready in a jiffy.
My father is a detective and, once in a while, he sends me on undercover assignments. My father is all I have got in this world after God took my mother away.
“Surveillance?” I ask, as we stand discreetly at the bus stop outside Taraporewala Aquarium on Marine Drive.
“Yes. A simple tail-chase. Look to your right; keep your eyes focused on the gate of the working women’s hostel. A woman will come out soon. Follow her, shadow her, like a tail, but very discreetly, and the moment you lose her, ring me up on your mobile.”
Suddenly, a tall woman wearing a bright yellow dress appeared at the gate. My father gave me a nudge, and then he disappeared.
The woman walked towards Charni Road Station, crossed the over-bridge to platform No.2, and waited for the train to Churchgate.
She got into the ladies compartment and I followed her in, for though I am a boy, I’m still below twelve.
She sat down and I observed her, unseen, standing in the crowd. She must have been around 25, maybe 30, and with her smooth fair creamy complexion she looked really smashing in the bright yellow dress.
What I liked about her the most was her huge strikingly expressive dancing eyes.
At Churchgate, she leisurely strolled down the platform, whilst everyone else rushed by.
She browsed at Wheeler’s bookstall, and then stopped at Tibbs, bought a Frankie, and walked towards the underground exit. I too love frankies, so I quickly bought one too, and followed her, careful not to be seen.
We both walked, me behind her, munching away, straight down the road towards Nariman Point, till she stopped at the Inox Multiplex.
Shit! I hoped she wouldn’t go for an Adults movie, but luckily she bought a ticket for ‘Cats & Dogs’ and I followed her in.
I really enjoyed the rest of my mission.
She was quite a fun person, and spent the day thoroughly enjoying herself, seeing the sights, browsing books, window shopping, street food, eating things I love to eat, doing the things I like to do.
It was smooth sailing, till suddenly she stepped into a beauty parlour.
Now I needed backup, so I called up my father.
But he told me to abort the mission and to meet him at our usual favourite place in the vicinity – Stadium next to Churchgate station.
“Abort the mission?” I protested.
“Yes,” my Dad ordered, “and come fast to Churchgate…The usual place...I’ll tell you the reason when you get here…”
We chose an inconspicuous table in the middle of the restaurant and sat facing the entrance.
I told him everything.
He listened intently.
Suddenly I saw the woman in yellow standing bold as brass at the entrance of the restaurant looking directly at us.
I felt a tremor of trepidation, the ground slipped beneath my feet.
And when I saw her coming directly towards our table, I tried to hide in my chair and wished the earth would swallow me up.
My father smiled at the woman, “Hello, Nanda.”
I was stunned.
‘Hello Nanda?’ This was too much!
I looked at my father, puzzled by his behaviour.
First he sends me after her on a tail-chase, shadowing her all day, and now ‘Hello Nanda’...!
The lady in the yellow dress with the dancing eyes sat down, looked at me curiously.
“You’ve met, haven’t you?” father asked.
“No, she said.”
“No? You’re sure? Try to think. You must have seen him somewhere before.”
“I’m sure I have not seen him before. I never forget a face. This is the first time I am seeing him. He’s cute,” she said, looking at me tenderly.
My father winked at me in appreciation.
But who was this woman, I wondered, so I asked my father, “Who is this aunty...?”
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.