Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ramesh And The Costly Mistake (Part 7)


Ramesh stared at the painting for a couple of seconds and then looked up excitedly. “Do you recognize this painting?” he asked. “Why, it’s the Mughal period painting that was stolen from the museum last month! The theft was reported in all the newspapers.”

I pursed my lips into a soundless whistle. “That foreigner must have commissioned the antique dealer to arrange for it to be stolen! And, after the job was done, the painting was hidden behind the mirror! No wonder the foreigner was so angry that the mirror had been sold off!”

Ramesh became brisk. “We must act fast! We’ll let this man in the hall buy back these items. As soon as he goes off with them, we’ll phone the police. Please go and call your father, Sanjeev. And, meanwhile, if you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow something of yours…”

It all worked out as Ramesh planned. While Sanjeev’s mother bargained with the antique dealer’s representative, his father listened to Ramesh’s story and saw the painting. He readily agreed to sell back the goods. As the delighted man walked off with the goods, Sanjeev’s father phoned the police.

An hour later, the police swung into action. They raided the antique shop and arrested the foreigner, the antique dealer and his representative. It later came to light that it had been one of the antique dealer’s henchmen who had broken into Sanjeev’s house in an attempt to take away the mirror. Having failed, they tried to buy it back.

Only one thing more remains to be said about this episode. By a quirk of timing, the police surprised the three crooks at the very moment when they had just removed the plywood backing the mirror. The Inspector who led the raid was thus able to describe to us later the expression on the faces of the crooks as they goggled dumbstruck at the poster of the latest Harry Potter movie, which Ramesh had thoughtfully put beneath the plywood in place of the stolen painting…