Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ramesh And The Costly Mistake (Part 2)

Sanjeev’s mother was taken aback. “But I bought those items in good faith!”

“I know.” The man was sympathetic. “I am very sorry about this. If you want, I can give you exact replicas of those items.”

“I don’t know what to say,” replied Sanjeev’s mother, doubtfully. “I will have to consult my husband.” She paused.

“Yes, yes, please do,” said the man quickly. “I’m sure he will understand our problem.”

“Perhaps. But he will return from office only at six o’clock.”

The man’s face fell. “Oh but this other customer will come to the shop at four! What will we tell him?”

“That is your headache.” Sanjeev’s mother was firm. “I can tell you my decision only after six!”

The man looked stumped. “Very well, then.” He turned quickly and walked out of the house.

Sanjeev shut the door after him and joined us in the drawing-room. “You heard?” he asked. “I didn’t think mother had bought anything extra-special yesterday!”

“Still, there must be something special about these three items,” pointed out Ramesh. “Otherwise, why can’t this man give those replicas he was talking about to that other customer?”

I stared at Ramesh. “That’s right!” I exclaimed. “Why does that other customer want only these particular items?”

Ramesh walked over to the wooden stool and vase and stared down at them. “These don’t look very valuable,” he opined. “The vase is of ordinary brass and the carvings on the stool are not very intricate.” He picked up the vase and peered into it. “Perhaps something’s hidden inside!” He put down the vase. “Nothing here.” He crouched before the stool and drew out the drawer. “Nothing here, either.” He pushed in the drawer and began running his fingers over the carvings on the stool.

I smiled down at Ramesh. “You can’t always expect to discover a secret drawer like you did in that junk shop case!” (Read: "Ramesh and the Secret of the Junk Shop".)

Ramesh frowned thoughtfully. “But there must be some reason why the antique dealer wants these things back so badly!” he exclaimed.

Sanjeev scratched his head. “I wonder who this other customer is?”

Ramesh jumped to his feet excitedly. “Of course! The identity of this other customer might throw some light on the problem! And we can easily find out the identity by keeping a watch on the antique shop and seeing who enters it at four o’clock!” He looked down at his school uniform and grabbed my arm. “Come on! Let’s go home and change into some ordinary clothes first!”