Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ramesh And The Costly Mistake (Part 6)

We got to work. I peered into the vase and then turned it upside down. There was nothing inside. Sanjeev carefully felt every inch of the gilt frame of the mirror. He discovered no secret mechanism. Ramesh drew out the drawer of the stool, tapped it’s bottom, probed every nook and corner of the stool and carefully ran his fingers over the carvings. But he found no secret compartment and no hidden object.

Ramesh finally gave up and got to his feet, a disgusted look on his face. “Blast!” he exclaimed. “Are we on the wrong track? Perhaps there’s nothing hidden after all!”

“But I can think of no other reason why these items – or one of them – should be so important to those men,” I said.

“Neither can I!” Ramesh collapsed on the nearest sofa. “I –”

He was cut off by Sanjeev who suddenly gave an agonized cry and leaped towards the sofa like one possessed. “Get up.” cried Sanjeev. “Get UP!”

Something in Sanjeev’s voice made Ramesh obey at once. He scrambled to his feet. “What’s the matter?” He asked, bewildered.

As if in answer, Snajeev threw aside the cushion on which Ramesh had been sitting to reveal a wooden board which had been placed beneath it. He lifted the board – and a poster of Daniel Radcliffe (as Harry Potter) came into view!

“It’s a poster of the latest Harry Potter movie!” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” said Sanjeev. He picked up the poster tenderly, as if it were a very fragile piece of chinaware. “I put it under the board to smoothen out the folds.”

Ramesh’s eyes seemd to shoot out suddenly, like those of a snail. “Of course!” he cried, his face flushed with excitement. “How could I have been so blind?” He burst into a sudden flurry of frenzied activity. Rushing across to the mirror, Ramesh took it down from the wall, then laid it face down on a cushioned chair, took out his pen-knife from his trouser pocket – and proceeded, with it’s help, to take the plywood backing off the mirror, taking care not to scratch the gilt. When the back was almost off, Ramesh carefully drew out a painting!