‘There’s a thief in the village,’ my mum sighs into the phone, ‘Steals coconuts, chickens and he even stole Dhooma’s prize milking cow it seems.’
‘What about the noise?’ I say. ‘Did nobody hear anything?’
‘Well, they must have heard the chickens squawking and thought a frog got in the hen house. And the cow, well, you know how deaf Dhooma is-he would sleep through a hurricane. And his wife says that she’s so got used to sleeping with him snoring loudly beside her that she cannot hear anything now.’ My mother says.
‘Oh what shall we do, I cannot sleep for worry, we are unprotected in this house, just the two of us, old ladies,’ my grandmother moans into the other handset which sits handy beside her bed.
‘Speak for yourself,’ my mother huffs, ‘I am not old.’
‘I much prefer that old phone we had to this funny thing your brother has installed. Cannot even have a conversation without being interrupted,’ my grandmother snorts.
‘Is he dangerous, has he hurt anyone this thief?’ I say quickly, steering the conversation back on track.
‘Not so far,’ my mother shouts over my grandmother’s wails of, ‘Ayyo, what shall we do, what shall we do?’
‘You don’t worry,’ my mother continues. ‘I am locking the front door at night now, instead of leaving it open to let the fresh air in like before, and I have that big cricket bat of your brother’s beside me at all times, and also the kitchen scythe. Let’s him dare take us on!’
‘That dog is useless,’ my grandmother moans, ‘He barks at leaves falling off trees, but when an intruder comes, he bounds up and licks their face. Anyway, don’t you worry about us. What do we have here for him to steal? We will be fine, don’t you worry,’ my grandmother yells into the phone. (She is of the opinion that because it is an international call, I will not be able to hear her unless she shouts. Her voice is booming as it is but for purposes of phone calls, it is so many decibels higher.)
When I call home the next week, there is more news of the coconut thief.
‘He’s been caught.’ My mother says; her voice gleeful, tinged with excitement.
‘Tell her how he was caught…’ my grandmother yells, ‘Last night, after I heard the news, was the first night in twelve days that I have slept properly. I was so scared. I thought both your mother and I would be murdered in our sleep.’
‘What nonsense,’ my mother says, ‘What would he want to do us with, two women with not even ten trees in the compound? And the crop this year has been so bad…’
‘Never mind that, tell her how he was caught,’ my grandmother cries.
‘He made the mistake of stealing Anthu’s coconuts- and you know how clever Anthu is. He marked each of his coconuts with one of those pens that don’t rub off. His son got it from Bangalore –he works for Infosys.’
‘She doesn’t need to know all that…’ my grandmother hollers.
‘Okay, okay, I am getting to it. Anyway, the thief made the mistake of trying to sell Anthu’s coconuts back to Anthu at the Sunday market. He caught the thief by the scruff of his neck and dragged him to the police it seems.’
And thus was solved the mystery of the missing coconuts.
In Monsoon Memories, Super Sleuth Reena Diaz finds herself embroiled in a mystery- The Curious Case of the Mysterious Girl from the photograph. Does she solve it? You’ll have to read the book to find out. If you would like to win a signed copy of the book, go along to Goodreads, click on this link, scroll down and click on the ‘Enter to Win’ button:
Joining Goodreads is easy- just login with your Facebook account. If you do not have a Facebook account, you can log in using Twitter or your email account.
Monsoon Memories is out on the 21st of June- not long to go. Meanwhile, you can read the first two chapters, one of which tells of how Super Sleuth Reena stumbled upon the mystery, here: