The gatekeeper allowed entrance to RanVijay by gracefully opening the majestic door of the lavishly and indulgently decorated hall.
RanVijay was an aristocrat and the owner of a large company; although he had inherited plump amount of money after his father’s demise, he was disinclined to acknowledge the money because he regarded it as a hand out. He was very benign but prejudiced. He was also somewhat dogmatic and patriarchal.
The party was organized by Shekhar, who was RanVijay’s father’s close friend. His wife, Marie, was still alive and in perfect health and her trait of jealousy and boasting was still very much vivid. Big named and famed men were invited to the party. Although it was a formal party, it didn’t lack the sense of fanciness and fun. The waiters of the party were also dressed in fancy outfits, some wearing pointed hats, then some wearing fancy shoes. But as a similarity, all the waiters wore a mask. RanVijay was accompanied into the party hall by his sister, Kanika, his secretary, Hari, and his sister’s secretary, Shyam.
There were tables reserved for every invitee; after being welcomed warmly by the host, they took their seats on their respective, stipulated table. That day, RanVijay was wearing his much possessed diamond watch.
This watch was so illustrious that we can find its records in various poems and stories written by famed and reputed writers and its beauty is much acknowledged by the jewellers too. Every rich man desired to have this watch by his elbow but RanVijay was utterly disinclined towards selling it.
RanVijay walked gracefully towards the host to have a chat with him.
The waiter who was passing by them offered them white wines which they accepted effusively. They were chatting gaily while RanVijay’s sister who was walking past them had a slip because of her high heeled sandals and stumbled into Shekhar. Shekhar’s wine, due to the abrupt shock, encroached out of the glass and got spilled over RanVijay’s blazer.
“I am utterly sorry”, Shekhar said apologetically.
“No-no. It’s fine, I will go and wash it”.
RanVijay walked towards the washroom door with Hari on his tail. Before entering within the bathroom, RanVijay handed Hari his watch and instructed him sternly that he should handle the watch with meticulous care and should not misplace it. Hari nodded and walked with the watch wrapped carefully in his white handkerchief in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, at the side of the stage, where a play was being performed.
Seeing the watch, Alex, RanVijay’s very close and old friend and partner, approached Hari. “Oh! Isn’t it the great Diamond Watch? Can I see it?”. With much reluctance and acquiescence, Hari handed Alex the watch. “Oh! What a Beauty”, Alex remarked. After glancing keenly at it, Alex handed the watch back to Hari who took it along and sat at the table with the watch on it. While he was sitting, Kanika came to take her handbag which was quite bulged and before departing, she glanced sharply at the watch. Hari was very vigilant and he noted this fact. Then, after a few moments, the food server came and served Hari with the meal. Hari had just started with his meal, when Shekhar discreetly came and sat beside him on the adjoining chair. He told Hari a bunch of things he had read or studied about the watch and at last, took the watch to have a glance on it. He eventually departed and then his wife, Marie arrived and gossiped vaguely about the watch, out of her jealousy and deep desire to have that watch. While she was chatting, her scarf fell over the diamond watch which she held back almost instantaneously.
As Hari finished the food, a waiter arrived, and swept the table. RanVijay came out of the washroom and hurried towards Hari. He saw the watch on the table and held it meticulously in his hand; and as he held it in his hand, he realized that it was not his. He told this to Hari; Hari’s face turned pale and he ran out into the darkness. RanVijay reported the case of his missing watch in the nearby police station and vehemently suggested the police to hold Hari as the thief. Grimly and crestfallen, he retrieved back to his mansion.
But the thief was probably oblivious of the fact that Bob Macqueen was also present in the party. He was a very famous and renowned detective. The next day, under the gleaming sunshine, Bob Macqueen arrived at the threshold of RanVijay along with Inspector Pradhan, to investigate the case.
“Come in”, said RanVijay, endeavouring to be graceful. Bob interrogated RanVijay amicably and respectfully.
RanVijay elaborated him the details, he knew about the last night and how he was psychically able to presage before peering into the details that the watch he was provided with, was not his own. He made a mention that he would have been unable to reckon the prototype if he hadn’t scrutinized the R.V. initials written on the underside of the bracelet. He also said, “Kanika and my relations weren’t good, we had some acrimony. When she was in college, she fell for a boy who was from a middle-class family and desired to marry him. But I negated frankly and told her that it was beyond any possibility. She was outraged and flared up with me and didn’t come back home and started living separately”.
“Did you see the man whom she loved”, asked Bob.
“Then why did you negated for the marriage”.
“Because he was from a middle class family”.
“And when did she come to visit you”.
“3 weeks ago. She said that she was veritably sorry for hurting me”.
Then he interrogated Kanika. She told about her movements and how it was a peculiar sight for her to see the watch since her brother hoarded it securely in a safe and never showed it openly to anyone. She said that her brother told that he would show her the watch when he would be provided with a suitable circumstance.
“What was the name of your love when you were in college”.
She gave a startled expression and said,
“How do you know about it”.
“It is my curse to know everything. What was his name?”.
With much reluctance, she said,
“It was Ravi”.
Then, abruptly altering the subject of interrogation, he asked,
“What did you observe about Hari”.
“He was absent minded and extremely non-vigilant. He was akin a soul who is ignorant of anything and everything. When I was departing, I exhorted him to watch the play since the play was good and he was indeed some merriness”.
Bob nodded and turned to interrogate her secretary, Shyam.
Shyam said, “I was engrossed serving my mistress and in eating and drinking, all along the party. When I reckoned that there was a dazzling watch kept at the table, I went there to glance at it. Meanwhile, Kanika’s brother arrived and held up the watch from the table. He found that it was a replica and conveyed this to Hari who ran swiftly out of the room”. He added, “I noticed that Mr. Alex had taken the watch in his hand for a while and Hari was utterly non-vigilant about it then”.
Inspector Pradhan had in the meanwhile summoned the host, his wife and Alex.
While Bob was pondering over the case with his head rose up and eyes closed, Alex arrived.
“What is the case”, Alex asked curtly and brusquely. “I think you know very well about the scandal and I, on my part, want to know about your movements”.
He described about his movements, often ceasing to reflect for a moment or two, and then continuing again. “Do you desire to have the diamond watch”, Bob asked.
“Who doesn’t?”, he said frankly and then added, “I have always desired to have that watch in my possession; my temptation was so unendurable that I had even bought myself a replica of it from the market so that I can convince myself that it is the real one”.
Bob sighed deeply. “Well, Ok Thank You”.
Pradhan told Bob about some insights while the host and his wife were arriving, “Alex was in jail for 3 years and was released only 2 weeks ago. He was in for counterfeiting and theft. And we have found some evidences too. CCTV camera was unable to record the conversation between Alex and Hari since a huge plant obstructed the way but it was clearly recorded in the CCTV that while the host was handling the watch, he was continually shaking his right pocket with anxiousness”.
There were some voices to be heard from outside so in order to scrutinize about it, Bob went out and saw that RanVijay was conversing with a small man enrobed in partially torn clothes. RanVijay denoted him as Hari.
As RanVijay heard the footsteps of Bob, he whipped sharply towards him and said, “See, Hari’s here. And he says that he didn’t steal the watch”. Bob benignly beckoned him to come inside.
They both sat down facing each other and Bob began with his interrogation. Hari like all others gave a lurid description of what he had seen and about his movements. He said, “I ran away out of fear and a sensation of undue guilt”.
“Then why did you return”.
“Because I knew that I would be caught by the police anyway”, he ceased for a moment or two because emotions overwhelmed him. “I didn’t want to make things clear before my master in front of so many crowds in the party as I observed that he was intensely tormented and ruffled and was not in a condition to understand anything, therefore, I came today to interact with him individually and make him understand about the case because he is only one who can salvage me”.
Bob sympathized him and asked him about some details which he might have found peculiar. He answered, “Everything was quite fine and cordial. I found only one thing as peculiar and striking, that the physique of the waiter who arrived to wipe the table was similar to Shyam. And well, I don’t know whether it is of any importance or not, but the waiter had a button on which a vicious skull was painted. But the waiters of the party were normally dressed like that, weirdos”.
“Why did you hand Alex the watch, didn’t you know he was a thief?”
“I was aware that Alex had been released only two weeks ago from jail after completing his 3 years punishment because of counterfeiting and theft but the thought that he was a very close friend of my master and that my master might be angry with me if I didn’t give the watch to his friend just to glance at it, urged me to give the watch.”
“Why didn’t you hold the watch in your hand? Wouldn’t it be safer there”.
“My master is a very sensitive man and he perhaps wouldn’t like the fact that even my odour would be retained by the watch. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings since I felt that I was too small a man to even the hold the watch in my hand”.
The host arrived with his wife and they were thoroughly interrogated. Bob asked Shekhar one thing at the end, with utmost curiosity and somewhat effusiveness, “Why caused you to shake your right pocket while you were glancing at the diamond watch”.
“It was just that something had struck my handkerchief there that I desired to untangle, therefore, I was shaking my hand there”.
“Oh!” , Bob exclaimed genuinely.
Bob just sat back and drowned himself in profound thought. His eyes were closed and everyone was gazing at him constantly with inquisitiveness. Suddenly, he rose enthusiastically and heartily and clamoured, “I have discovered the thief, everything puts well. Yes, yes- I have got ‘em. Well, I must confess that I was deprived to reckon him if I was not provided with the extremely significant details which Hari endowed upon me. It is not a single person who has been involved in this. It is a bi-theft game that they have played. Well, I must not accost you any further; the thieves are Kanika and Ravi”. A look of startle and astonishment suffused every countenance. “Yes, yes; Shyam who pretends himself to be the secretary of Kanika is Ravi, her lover. Well, I must acquaint you with the background as well and the motive of theft; it’s revenge; it’s a crime of passion. Everything started when Kanika and Ravi were in college; Kanika was an aristocrat and Ravi hailed from a middle-class family but they both loved each other profoundly. Now, when Kanika proposed to his brother that she wanted to marry Ravi, he negated firmly and chastised Ravi and his family. This enraged Kanika and she pledged to take revenge from him. She also started living separately. When she discovered that the diamond watch was the favourite possession of his brother, she determined herself to steal it. This thing clicked me when I pondered that why a girl outraged with acrimony should suddenly visit her brother. And how it was done was very simple, the spilling of wine was planned, Kanika deliberately casted a show that she had slipped but it was intentional so that RanVijay would go into the bathroom leaving the watch to his secretary because he highly regarded him. Hari kept the watch on the table and was gazing at it with his sharp, keen eyes. Well, Kanika endeavoured to distract him by exhorting him to watch the play carefully, but he didn’t. He was provided with his food, as he finished it, Ravi, disguised in the uniform of a waiter came and then while wiping the table, he replaced the watch with a replica. And as to how he got the clothes, Hari told me one fact that the handbag of Kanika was bulged, and in a party one would not fetch so many articles that would suffuse someone’s bag therefore, I thought that it must be the waiter’s clothes which she fetched along for Ravi. Ravi replaced the watch with a replica which was totally alike the real one and that vindicated Alex from suspicion because that kind of replica could only be designed by special order. So, we cannot get that piece from the market, for sure. And look at the ingenuity, Ravi was Shyam would be a veiled fact and no one would be able to get to know this, since no one had actually seen Ravi; RanVijay himself testified this fact. And the last point, Ravi you forgot to remove the skull button from your blazer today. It was the same button that Hari observed when the waiter arrived to wipe the table”.