'Neela's Case Files' is a hilarious detective about a really bad detective and her two assistants and the situations they face.
Chapter 1: The Begenning of The End
“Hurry up with the sum!” Akila snapped at Rikki and Nathaniel. Both were busy talking rather than doing work.
Aunt Akila was a middle aged woman, intelligent, saturated with knowledge and she always smiled. She wore round glasses that went well with her profession- teaching.
She taught weak students who were experiencing trouble passing their grades, though there were some exceptional cases. She also taught because, being a homemaker, she didn’t know how to pass her time. She was extremely popular with students in the locality, being friendly with all and always cheerful.
She taught in the living room of her apartment. . The living room of Aunt’s place was rather strange. Instead of sofas there were two single beds, each for students to sit and study on. On the floor were two mattresses for more students. The first ones to come got the bed, the latecomers got the mattress. Aunt was on her trademark, black ergonomic chair. There was a small table where many books, pens, pencils etc. were kept. Beside the table was a huge cabinet with even more books crammed in. At the centre of the cabinet was a huge television. If students wanted to catch something big on the cable, they didn’t do it at home. Why watch something at home when you can watch it with tons of other friends? Watching television with Aunt was fun too. If a match was on, she would run her own commentary full of stringent remarks.
Outside was a small garden filled with plants whose names people couldn’t identify; scientific names were a distant memory. There was a big gate leading to the house. At the end of the garden were little steps leading to a wooden door, the main house. There was a small, open, rectangle shaped verandah ending with a huge wooden shoe rack where all the students had to keep their shoes, with the socks. Aunt hated smelly feet. Pupils liked to study in the verandah if things inside got too monotonous.
Rikki was her star student, even though he wasn’t too good at studies. He was tall, very thin, and pale, he wore square shaped glasses, looking good on his square shaped face and dropped jaw line. He was shy, didn’t speak much and didn’t indulge in the daily teasing ritual like the students. The daily teasing ritual included bombarding fellow students with nearly incomprehensible insults. He was open minded, imaginative and very creative.
Nathaniel was completely the opposite of Rikki. He was outspoken, extrovert and the resident prankster (resident evil will do too!), he was brilliant at studies, practical, and the daily teasing ritual king. His face was oval, he was dark, average height, curly hair and stocky. But the thing was he and Rikki were best friends that studied in one school.
Rikki kept his pen down; he was in no mood to study. Nathaniel did the same. He never studied at Aunt’s place. He only studied at home.
“What is it aunt?” Rikki asked. “You aren’t in a cheerful mood today, is it something to do with Neela?”
Aunt drew a sharp breath “It would be better if you don’t mention her today.”
“C’mon Aunt, you know you can trust us, we won’t tell anyone about it.”
“Well, the thing is-” Aunt started but was cut short by Reaper who had just arrived.
Reaper was a girl, seventeen, with a voluptuous body and swirling locks. With her love for tight threads, she was extremely popular with guys. Love her or hate her, there was more to her than just physical appearance. She was very intelligent; she never spoke much but had somehow made many friends. Her grades never went down even when no one saw her studying at any point of time. She was accompanied by her usual sidekick, Ruhi.
Like Rikki and Nathaniel, Ruhi was the complete opposite of Reaper. She was the mountain of a girl, huge limbs and arms and she was plump. And why did people forget to tell her she was growing a beard and should get it waxed? Ruhi was very talkative and people liked to talk to her but they would often forget her as soon as the conversation ended. This was because Ruhi always liked to complain about things. Maybe it wasn’t her fault after all.
Reaper and Ruhi burst in. They took over the second bed. Ruhi started moaning “Aunty…today was the biology test. I found it so hard, but why? I studied so hard for it.”
Ruhi wished Aunt. She took out her latest A-grade. Ruhi looked at her in disbelief. “You copied it from Mark didn’t you?” she hissed in her left ear.
Reaper shrugged. “I didn’t ask for it, he was hell bent over showing it to me. I could have got an A without his help.”
While Ruhi sulked over this fact, two more people arrived- Golu and Shanty. Golu was an extremely thin guy-more thin than Rikki, below average height. His skin was burnt rich cocoa from the years he had spent playing cricket. Shanty was his best friend, about the same height as Golu himself, though Shanty had more weight to him. His was fair, covered with scars from mosquito bites (Rikki and Nathaniel always wondered where he lived), his teeth were a bit disarranged and he had a permanent eye-liner put on giving him a strange look.
These were the two guys who brought homework from school. This used to drive Aunt nuts. She insisted on completing homework at home and to learn something new from her. As a punishment she would herself give some extra homework to them which they carried to school. Everyone knew what they did in school. They didn’t study a bit but they used to flirt with the girls of their grade. Golu was the more successful of the two,
The two of them sat down on the mattress, not bothering to touch the zippers of their bags. Apparently, they were waiting for Sidney, an attractive girl of their grade who took help from Aunt. She was white, chocolate brown eyes, brown hair, a rather voluptuous figure for a girl of her tender age (Golu-“NOT a tender age!”). She was very unique indeed. She had worked in commercials and at some point of time was offered a small role in a Bollywood movie to which she refused, saying she needed more time to nurture her ‘talent’.
Sidney arrived soon nonetheless. “Hi auuuuuuuunty!” she said, it was her habit stretching the ‘u’ of ‘aunty’ for miles. “Hi!” Shanty answered for aunty, staring at Sidney with his coin-like brown eyes. Golu hit the back of his to make him look like a fool. While the two ensued in a fight, others got down to work.
Rikki and Nathaniel waited for the others to complete their work and leave for home. It took about two hours. Especially when people started feeling chatty with Aunt.
By the time everyone went home, it was getting dark.
“So…what is it?” Nathaniel asked.
Aunt stared at him coldly “Is this why you have been hanging around this late?”
“Yes, we want to help Aunt. I mean”-Nathaniel paused, exchanging a glance with Rikki, both breaking into giggles-“we have seen Neela before, maybe she needs help!”
Aunt sighed. “It is I who needs help. She has asked ME for help, now you guys tell me what can I do to help her?”
“Don’t worry Aunt, we will help her out,” Rikki said.
Aunt narrowed her eyes. “Are you sure? I don’t want ya’ll to get into any kind of trouble. I don’t want people to blame me later if you get hurt.”
“Don’t worry!” Nathaniel exclaimed. “Let’s go Rikki. Bye Aunt!”
Rikki and Nathaniel grabbed their bicycles kept in the parking lot.
Rikki noticed a set of swings in the society’s garden. “I feel like swinging on them,” he whimpered.
“Not now!” Nathaniel said sharply, we have got work to do.
“Ah yes,” Rikki said “anything to do with Neela is interesting!”
The two rode their bicycles silently in the night. “Do you know where Neela’s office is?” Nathaniel asked.
“I’ve got a faint idea where it is. Just keep your eyes open.”
The two ended up roaming around and searching for the office for at least half an hour before coming across it.
“There it is!” Rikki said, pointing towards the office.
Nathaniel just shook his head. “What a start!”
Neela’s office was on the ground-floor of a run down building. Beside her office was a big store. It was a strange place for an office. There was a small board hanging outside, its paint peeling off, it was obviously very old. The tattered old board said: ‘Neela’s Detective Agency’.
“Um…why don’t you knock? I’ll wait.”
“No, you knock, I’ll wait.”
“But I am scared of Neela!”
Nathaniel gave up, knocking on the door.
“Come in,” came Neela’s reply in her soft, soothing voice.
Neela was in her office sulking as she most of the time. Neela was big woman, tall and stocky. She had short curly hair and wore glasses an inch fat, making her small, beady eyes look magnified and mystic. She had a small nose and tiny but fat lips sunken into her skull like those of a proboscis monkey, making her face look flat. She wore a traditional Indian sari. She would have looked very funny if not for the ever serious expression on her face. There was a strip of ash powder on her forehead, which she put on every morning after taking a bath and praying. But Neela wasn’t a religious person at heart; she had a more practical mind, believing in logic and scientific explanations. Neela was a learned woman, a graduate in Economics, though her favorite subject was Biology. She would read a lot of books on Bio and sometimes teach Rikki and Nathaniel Bio too. Naturally, she was saturated with a lot of knowledge. She had two kids, both boys who chatted with her on Google Talk everyday. She had a husband who never came into the picture. Rumor had that she used to beat him up. Quite badly.
The office was old but spacious, and cozy. There was a big wooden table with a glass top. On the table was a computer and phone along with a few, very old files. Neela wasn’t getting much business, the boys observed. In front of the table were two chairs for the clients. On the other side was a massive chair, the Balding Eagle’s perch.
Rikki and Nathaniel walked in. The two never seemed to respect Neela. The two were, deep down in their hearts, scared of Neela. But in her absence, they never missed an opportunity to make fun of her. They say those who fear you in the present will hate you in the absent. But Neela wasn’t a hate able woman. Her knowledge could impress any man on earth. There was only one problem: She wasn’t a good detective.
“You two shouldn’t be here! Go away!” Neela said, sounding irritated.
“There she goes again,” Nathaniel muttered in Rikki’s ear.
“We are here to help; you can tell us what the problem is,” Rikki said earnestly.
“I don’t see how two sixteen year olds can help me,” Neela snapped. “And by the way, are you trying to insult my intelligence?”
“Certainly not ma’am,” said Nathaniel. He turned to Rikki. “I have been dying to insult her intelligence!” he squealed.
“No whispering!” Neela snapped again.
Rikki and Nathaniel fell silent.
“One of the reasons I am not telling you my problem is that even I don’t really know what it is. I will meet my client tomorrow afternoon. Location- I cannot disclose. He called me up.”
“So it was a man,” Nathaniel said quickly.
Neela narrowed her eyes “You boys think you are clever, huh?”
“You could use some assistance,” Rikki said.
Neela sighed. “Maybe you are right. I am getting old. I need some help from the younger generation. And I haven’t even had success for years.”
Nathaniel was about to suggest Neela to close down the office and open a beauty parlor in its place. But he chose to keep his mouth shut. Good for his health.
Rikki walked over to Neela and grabbed her by her shoulders.
Don’t get disheartened,” he said firmly, “maybe you haven’t succeeded till now but who knows you might succeed with us?”
Neela simply glared at Rikki’s hands resting on her shoulders. He pulled them away.
“Let me make something crystal clear. I am not making the two of you my business partners. You are just my assistants. I will be getting the money from my clients and you will get your share. After all, I have two children to feed.”
“I thought your children were in Dubai. And stinking rich too,” Nathaniel said.
Neela shot Nathaniel a hateful glance.
“All right,” she said. “The two of you are on. Meet me tomorrow at The Bollywood Café. I’ll see you there tomorrow. And remember; not a word to a soul. Bye.” Rikki and Nathaniel ran out. “This is going to be fun!” shouted Rikki.