The Mystery of the Yellow Roses.

My Second Detective novel The Mystery of The Yellow Roses-Alex Returns is now published. Available with both Amazon and Flipkart. The last few months have been sad, hectic and a whirlwind of sort.

I lost my beautiful mother at the age of 94, a long association came to an end, leaving a blank in my daily routine which will take yet some time to  fill.

The last few weeks of finishing the editing of the book, re-editing little mistakes posting off to the publisher had been rather hectic, but now , suddenly there is a lull in all that hectic rushing around.  The book is out in the world. Hoping for some positive reviews.

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From -THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROSES – Alex Returns

from Part I

Alex arrived in the early morning hours, when Sangla Valley was still fast asleep. Reaching the house of Rani Mausi from the main road was no problem, as it was quite close to the Ambika Palace – a well known landmark, the Palace being visible a top of the mountain.When the taxi driver deposited Alex’s bag and departed, Alex looked around the beautiful valley and was mesmerized with the serenity and beauty of Kinnur.

One could see the lofty snow covered mountains behind the village, where the clouds were slowly parting to allow the faint sun rays to penetrate. The valley below was quietly rolling a carpet of sunshine on its green floor and the majestic Basppa river flowing endlessly through it all.

A night bird had just alighted on an apple tree on Rani Mousi’s courtyard, but seeing the stranger he screeched and flapping his large wings flew in great haste to a safe distance on a pine tree.  Alex breathed in the fresh air and took in the innocent beauty of the valley almost forgetting why he was there. Coming back from his reverie he was about to knock, when the door flew opened. An elderly, frail woman stared at him with surprise  and evident relief in her old eyes.

from Part 3

Young Ravi, rolled back quite a few photographs in his Digital camera, stopping at two pictures that were rather hazy and obviously taken from a distance. In the first Ravi pointed out, gleefully how he had managed to capture  the Rajmata in the rose garden standing at a little distance from an young woman who was looking up from gathering roses.                            “That’s Tipa Didi cutting the flowers and this is Rajmata, in the orange sari.” Said Ravi and then burst out into a giggle.”Can you see this part, it is a little hazy but  it’s when a guest of wind came and blew Rajmata’s veil from her face, and it got stuck on some thorns”, then he added ruefully ,” Wish I was on the other side, I could have seen her face. You know Alex Uncle, since she was ill she never shows her face, the doctor says she has awful marks on her face and arms “.

Part 3

Alex was wondering if he could broach the subject of Nitu’s worry and how, when Nitu quietly closed the door of his room. Alex waited for her to speak.  ” Alex Bhai, I know Ma has called you all the way here for a silly whim of mine. I think I was just terribly upset to have said what I did then”. said Nitu looking visibly uncomfortable. Alex raised his eyebrows, “I’m really happy to hear that Nitu but what has helped you to change your mind?” He asked.

from Chapter 5

Neil dragged a travel bag with one hand, in the other he held his laptop and an overcoat. Entering the dinning room he dumped them all on a chair and looked at his father.

“Dad, I need help”. Said Neil throwing a quick look towards the kitchen. His father continued eating his toast and glancing at the crime page in the Morning News.  “Dad, please. I have to leave for India tonight ! Can you please handle Mom?” pleaded Neil looking at the toast and eggs with utter disgust. He filled his cup with black coffee, again glancing at the kitchen where he could hear his mother moving about, making her own favourite breakfast of upma or iddle which so many years in Canada had not diminished.     ” I can handle everything son, but your mother’s determination of not letting you go to India!”, Said Detective Sergent Brian Conrad, of Ontario Special Task Force. He put his paper aside and attacked a plate of eggs and sausages with gusto!

“Anyway what are you going to India for?” He asked in between his mouthful of breakfast.   ” Alex send me an e-mail last night. He wants me urgently at New Delhi, for a case. I have some informations to gather this morning, but I have booked a flight for tonight. I will leave from the office, will you please explain to Mom it’s my job, I must go!” pleaded Neil and it was at this moment  that Ira walked in from the kitchen with a plate of steaming iddle which she  placed on the table with great satisfaction and tried drawing out her dinning chair, which she couldn’t it being piled with travel bag,laptop and overcoat!

——

SEDUCTION OF ROBIN —-Conti

NidhuRanjan, the second brother and his wife Paroma entered their bedroom having heard from Bani the programme of visiting their country house, or should I say, the village house during Durga Puja. Paroma banged the door shut and turned to her husband with fury.

“What a preposterous idea!  Can’t you ever speak up in front of your Mother?” She screamed at her husband, who looked around helplessly, as if the room could give him succour, mumbling that he would have if he was present at the conversation between his elder brother and mother.  Paroma laughed, ” You would have said, what a nice idea! don’t I know you all these years?  Here I have plans to visit my mother and sisters with the children, we have so much more fun there and now this horrible idea. Let me tell you Nidhu, I refuse to go to the village and rot there during the festivals and neither will my children go. You want to be an obliging son then go by all means — but without us!”

NidhuRanjan was a mild mannered man, who anyways, preferred not to interfere in domestic politics and kept himself far from his family’s endless colloquies, found himself at a loss, specially when cornered by his egalitarian wife! Paromita was always at logger head with her elder sister-in-law Bani over rights and opportunities of the brothers and their wives. This moment being cornered by Paroma with a threat of desertion, he did the best he could. He opened the door and slunk outside, to his Printing Press, where he preferred to sit and mull over the issue, leaving a very agitated wife behind.

The youngest brother,ShuviRanjan was a lawyer by profession and consequently  was  more vociferous than his two elder brothers,hence when he banged the door shut in his bedroom, he turned to his wife Nalini and expostulated , ” This is all your doing, You and Paroma Bhavi nagging Mother to sell the old house. Now see the result ? I have made  planes to go to Dalhousie this Puja with my friends and now if I tell them where I’m going and why, I will be a laughing stock for them.”

Nalini was not a lawyer but was a well-known lawyer’s daughter.  She could hold her own very well. A shrewd woman, who knew where the bread was buttered, hence she could and did retort effectively, ” It is better to be a laughing stock than a variable fool, who oscillates between an obedient son in front of his mother and raves and rants in front of his wife!  Do you want our children to suffer, if Mother did not divide the money equally now, the entire amount will be passed on to Paromita’s children, I know how crafty she can be. It is another matter that you can not see through her!” Nalini spat back.

” I don’t care”, Said SubhiRanjan, fuming, ” You want to go to that rotten village, during Puja then go I will not. I will tell BaniDidi, let her tell Mother. For that matter how much money will that worm laden house bring? Don’t be a fool Nalini”.    His wife looked at him archly, ” I’m sure more than your advocacy  brings home in a year !” She answered tartly walking out of the room.                                                                                                                                                                                 Katty turned to her husband, in their room upstairs, ” What village house! Is this not a village house enough for us to suffer? There is no proper bathroom, the kitchen is miles apart from the so called “dinning Hall” where you have to sit on the floor to eat! No air condition in this miserable heat and I have to cover my head with my sari all the time! Addy I tell you I refuse to go to your village and that is certain.”   While she was thus raving, Robin had quietly slunk in, for he had a question. A very important question and so he interrupted his mother, ” Dad, I did not know my name is Ravinder. Am I Robin or Ravinder?”    “O. Shut up, Robin. What difference does it make they call you Robin or Ravinder.” shouted his mother. Robin looked bewildered and then he smiled, sweetly, ” And Dad is Khoka, then?” Prof.Addy looked at him from above his specs. “Now don’t you become impertinent child” He said. Robin giggled, suddenly he felt very light. He had a new name and a new identity. He went out to meet his cousins, he had to know more about the country house and why they were so excited!

A HANDBOOK ON INSTRUCTIONS -TO REORGANISE OUR LIFE.

WITH so much inner turmoil, anger, passion and hatred to cope with, our young adults are living in a perpetual state of limbo. Their ambition often clashing with a retrogressive environment  around them, making it impossible to over take TIME, clashing of egos, parental restrictions, and their own friends and foes – often forcing them to take the wrong decisions.

So, how can we find a practical handbook of instructions on how best we can re-organise our inner ways of  THINKING, FEELING and ACTING in our everyday life?  Some students had requested that I should perhaps give some simple solutions that would help them with their “Personal” difficult times.

Now if I were to ask you to read the Holy Gita, you will certainly think, our old teacher has gone over the boards! True. I can not make you go to the Gita and find all your answers there, but perhaps, I could bring the Gita Teaching to you in simplified  words and you can not only see but understand it, and perhaps solve some of your problems yourself?

Swami Chinmayananda says that we can turn to Gita to enrich our LIFE and find  SOLUTION  to our problems. If an well acknowledged man says so,then why not try to find how much truth is in it, after all you don’t lose much, maybe few minutes to read this article where I will share only two verses from two Chapters to give you answers to some of your inner troubles?

CHAPTER 5, KARMA YOGA            – Verse 1                                   – Arjun speaks                                                                  Sannyasam karmanam Krsna,  Punar yogam ca samsasi                                                                                                         yat sreyah etayor ekam,  tan me bruhi su-niscitam ?

Explanation :  O Krishna, first of all you ask me to renounce work and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will you kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?                                                                                       SRI-Bhaghvan uvacha –  the Lord replies                                                                                                                                 Sannyasah karma – yogas ca, nihsreyasa – karavubhau                                                                                                           tayos tu karma – sannyasat, karma yoga visisyate.                                                                                                                   Explanation :     The Blessed Lord replied that The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work.

When I say devotional service I do not mean that you should sit down to pray. No. It is not your age nor is it desired of you. But what ever work you are doing should be undertaken with honesty and dedication, there can be no loop holes in your work system.

CHAPTER 14                  verse 16                                                                                                                                            The Gita tells us that by acting in the mode of goodness, one becomes purified. Work done in the mode of passion results in distress and action performed in the mode of ignorance results in foolishness .  The Lord tells us that from the mode  of goodness, real knowledge develops, from the mode  of passion, greed develops, and from the mode of ignorance, foolishness, madness and illusion develops.

If you look around and see the kind of anger people are writhing under over mundane matters, how greed has overtaken normal decency    of life, and how still we the educated ones have failed miserably under certain delusion of  ignorance, you will not only understand your  own self you will also find ways to rectify your  mistakes. You have to take on the war which is constantly going on within yourself between giving in and giving up. The choice has to be yours.

THE SEDUCTION OF ROBIN – Part III conti……

The crowd of Robin’s cousins of various age were being pushed downstairs for their breakfast, when they stopped suddenly. The reason was simple. Robin had turned to his Bua’s son Ronjoy and asked innocently – ” Cousin, where is the washing machine. I need to wash this shirt?” Before Ronjoy could answer, the group that was being led downstairs by Jhumki, burst into loud laughter. Misty, the eldest daughter of Robin’s cousin Uncle, lifted her shapely brows sky-high, and asked.              “Whose washing Machine do you want?”   Robin looked confused and stammered, ” How do you mean? How many are there?” Instantly, Robin’s five sisters raised both of their arms up in the air! Jhumki looked at him and archly remarked,        “There are ten here, and eleven more downstairs, which one would you prefer ?” Ronjoy came to Robin’s rescue, explaining that here the ladies did they washing themselves, and they never needed an washing machine! At the same time he shooed the cackling cousins downstairs, with a strict injunction that he would break their legs if they came up to harass Robin again!

The meeting with his Grandmother was a catastrophe. After breakfast, Robin along with his parents and Bani Bua, entered the sanctum sanctorum – the bedroom of he Grand Old Lady.! Grandmother was about eighty two, a small. delicate looking lady, but with a will of her own. Her only short coming was her hearing!  She herself did not believe that she was hard of hearing, she blamed the speaker for not speaking clearly, as anyway most her children and their wives were squeaking before her.  Only her daughter Bani could look squarely at her face and answer back, others either looked down while talking to Grandmother or looked at the huge bed on which she lay, for mostly she lay on the bed when she wanted a confrontation !                                                                                                                                                                            ” Its high time you came, Khoka, and brought that good for nothing wife to see me”. She barked, her voice loud and clear!    Robin looked with surprise at his father, he never knew, his pet name was Khoka and neither did he know his all  efficient mother was ‘ good or nothing’.  So mesmerised  was he with the lady and the huge bed, he ofcourse forgot to touch her feet as was instructed to him by his father, when the old lady barked again, ” Come closer you child, don’t stand there gaping. What is your name?”  Robin slowly moved a few steps towards the bed and mumbled his name. ” Tobin? What kind of name is that?” asked Grandmother, looking at her son who hastily corrected, ” No, No Ma, His name is Ravinder, we just call him Robin”  Now this was another revelation to poor Robin, he NEVER heard his name was Ravinder, so he opened his mouth to protest perhaps, but his mother moved forward hastily nudging him aside.  ” We have been wanting to come to see you for so long Mother, your Son is such an important person , you see, the Collage can never spare him. But this time I insisted that he should take his leave and we must come to see you!” said Katty loudly and with a fair amount of humility.  The old lady looked at her with disdain, and said, ” Rubbish” Then she turned to her son, Prof.Addy was in the mean time calculating the possible price of the ancestral house and wondering if it was worth coming for it after all.  ” Khoka, I want  all of us to go and spend the Durga Puja festival in the village, in our old house this time. I do not know if I will ever see it again, but before we sell it, we all must go there for a few days, so make arrangements with your younger brothers for the travel. Now go away and let me rest. Bani dear send me a glass of lime juice, why did you give me poories for breakfast, now I will have problem!”      Bani hastily ushered the London family outside promising to bring the lime juice, immediately.                             The news of visiting the Village home during the biggest festival of Bengal created two distinct emotions outside Grandmother’s room.  There was jubilation from the younger generation and the elders walked into their respective rooms with their spouses and whispered at the horrendous idea!

THE SEDUCTION OF ROBIN ……conti Par II

Robin could not sit back in the taxi with all that gooey wetness on his back, so he had to  travel all the way from the Airport to Jadabpur, sitting forward, his chin resting almost on the dashboard. One  advantage was he had a clear view of the chaos on the road of Kolkata. He marvelled at the dexterity with which the young taxi driver weaved his way in between numerous  cars,buses,cattle, people and a wonder cart which looked like a chair with two large wheels! Of course he had heard of rickshaws, but to see one for the first time, where two fat ladies were being pulled by a skeleton of a man, well it was too much of a shock to him! Forgetting his wet back he sat back to address his Mother, ” Mother, look at that poor man, how can he pull those ladies? Why don’t they  take a taxi?”  Katty had donned on her dark glasses, even though it was too early for the sun to show its face in Kolkata. She just tossed her head in disgust and turned to her husband castigating him for bringing them in this farcical reunion of relatives.

” I don’t see any reason why you had to drag me and Robin for this meeting. You could very well have come alone and settled the matter” She hissed, like a snake in anger.  Prof.Addy, who was busy trying to identify the road to his house, waved a fat, podgy hand at her.  Katty who had been fuming since they left London would not take his ignoring lying down,as one would say.  ” what can that old rotten house in the village give you, how much, that you should drag us here I’d like to know?” she remarked haughtily.  Prof.Addy abandoned his search of the road and turned round to face his wife.         “My dear Katty, first of all it is NOT a rotten house, and secondly why should we give our rightful share away to others. Mother may have changed her mind, old and foggy that she is, if we did not follow her strict instruction that I should be here with the family for the sharing. Besides you forget she has not seen Robin even once ” Katty could not reply a suitable answer because she had to hastily put her handkerchief on her nose – the taxi was passing through the early morning fish market ! The smell and the deafening noise of the hawkers and buyers made a full stop to their amiable conversation.

The taxi finally pulled up in front of an yellow coloured  double storied building. Robin had heard from his father that he would meet his cousins here, his Aunt and his uncle and their respective spouses, but beyond that he knew little about his extended family, but as soon as the taxi screeched to a halt, he heard a babbling of voices, that too, on the loudest note possible, ” They have come!” which was followed by a loud conch shell blowing. Two or three middle aged ladies arrived at the doorstep with plates full of various articles, like flowers, rice,a burning diya and a small silver pot of holy Ganges water! The water was sprinkled on them profusely, flowers were thrown over their heads along with a handful of  raw rice.  They smiled broadly, “welcome home sister-in-law, brother-in-law. O what a handsome son! Come in all of you” they said in unison.  Robin heard a whole lot of giggling from the dark corridor where no sunlight ever fell and a musty oily smell hung all around. They  walked in to a middle of a courtyard, where two men came over to touch his father’s feet, his mother’s would have been touched also had she not jumped aside. They were his uncle and cousin uncle!   The lady who was introduced as his father’s sister, ordered her eldest son Sujoy to take the luggage  upstairs, and her youngest son Ronjoy who was about twenty to take Robin to his room so he could rest a little. ” Bhavi,  Ravi, you go to your room, upstairs, I will bring the tea there. I’m sure you need to freshen up before you meet Ma” She said in a authoritative manner ‘ Although she was a small woman, one could see that she ruled the house !  Once in their room, Katty burst out , ” Bhavi, Ravi go to your room!” she mimicked her sister in law Bani. ” Who does she think she is talking to ,pray?” she asked her husband, throwing her handbag on the large old, four- poster bed . Prof.Addy decided to lie down on the inviting bed as an answer to his wife’s silly question.                                                                                                                                            Robin who was taken up to his cousin’s room did not find himself alone, a whole horde of young boys and girls were already at the door, pushing and nudging each other. The first to speak was not Ronjoy but a young girl with large khol-rimmed eyes. She pointed to Robin and said, ” Your shirt is all dirty, don’t sit on that chair. You’ll  dirty the cushion !” The others started laughing, until Ronjoy shouted at them to shut up. ” O don’t mind them, please do sit down”, he told Robin, but  Robin also realised the truth in the young girl’s taunt and requested if he could use the washroom to change. He looked around the room trying to locate the door of the bathroom but there was none. Ronjoy explained to him, that the boys upstairs shared a common bath which was at the end of the long corridor. More than ten pairs of eyes watched him unlock his suitcase and pull out a fresh T-shirt, and a towel. Their eyes followed him to the bath and  back. Someone yelled from downstairs, ” Ehe Jhumki, take  Robin’s breakfast upstairs. Tell Ronjoy to have his horlicks, and the rest of you come down for your food to the hall”,  The girl who had spoken to Robin, bent down  from the upstairs veranda, ” Alright Bua, I’m coming”, she yelled back, hustling the crowd of young cousins downstairs.

to be connti……

THE SEDUCTION OF ROBIN

When Robin came for a month’s vacation to India, from England, he was just curious about the visit. His parents had decided that this Dashera festival they would visit their folks in Kolkata.  They have been away for very many years from their country having settled in England since Robin’s father had initially come as a student and later settled in as a Teacher at the Oxbridge Collage. That was nearly twenty five years back!  Prof.Raviranjan  Adhikari married, Kusum Bose, a Bengali who was born and brought up in England and who had no notion of what India was like, leave alone Kolkata!  Prof Adhikari had visited India only twice since, once when he took his bride to introduce her to his aged parents, second time he had visited alone when his father passed away.  He couldn’t take his wife simply because she was in the last stage of pregnancy with Robin. That was again eighteen years back.

This time Prof.Adhikari decided to visit Kolkata for two reasons, one that his mother was very old and feeble and his sister had written a stinking letter on his inadequacy of taking responsibility as a son towards his parents.His younger brother may not have said so, in so many words, but his feelings were mutual with his elder sister. The second reason was monetary’ as his mother had expressed her desire to sell off their ancestral property in their village and distribute the money equally among her three children before her death. Prof. Adhikari was known as Prof,Addy among his students and English friends and his wife Kusum had become Katty.  To be honest Prof.Addy was an pompous ass who by the virtue of a Green Card considered himself more British than the Britishers themselves! His and Katty’s parenting of Robin had left much to be desired. Robin knew nothing about India except Taj Mahal and Tagore! But he was a lovable boy, a little silly perhaps unlike the smart English boys of his age, for at eighteen he didn’t have a single girl friend, his life revolved between his collage and his home. He loved curling up on the sofa and watching the T.V, going with his mother to the Indian Departmental Stores to buy groceries and occasionally to the Library to make History notes. In case I didn’t  tell you both his parents were History teachers!

When this illustrious family came out of the Airport, in search of a taxi, Katty remarked, ” How nasty is this!” sniffing the stale air of Kolkatta. Prof.Addy grunted in agreement  while skipping over a puddle of dirt water. A group of ragged children who were clamouring around tourists, near the taxi stand made a beeline towards Robin and group. They put their little.dirty hands out and touched Robin. ” Eh Saab, paisa thee they”, they started in their sing-song fashion. Prof.Addy was haggling with the taxiwalla, his wife was busy counting her luggage, so poor Robin was left to the mercy of these urchins! He felt sorry for them, but he had no money. He had an orange, that Air India had offered! The orange was too ripe and Robin had been holding it in his hand  unable to throw it anywhere, he now put it on one of the out stretched hand . He followed his parents to the taxi but before he could enter, the beggar boy  with the orange shouted a profanity which is too vulgar to repeat and aimed the over ripe orange at Robin’s retreating back ! The orange splashed on his shoulder  with full force ! Welcome to India !