Adventures with my best Friends

Abandoned House


I do not know about children of current times but in our times we had a lot of fascination for abandoned houses. When I was 10, we had one right up our street. Various rumors were circulating about the house and the reasons for its non-occupancy among the children of the street. Another aspect that added further aura to the mystery of the house was the staunch opposition of the adults in the neighborhood to any attempts by children to enter the premises of this house.

We were literally a gang of 4 – Deepak, Ragi, Kulla and yours truly. Those days Doordarshan the only TV channel in India, used to screen a serial called ‘Ek Do Teen Char’ on Saturday afternoons. All of us used to religiously watch that serial. It was a story of 4 school boys who would double up as amateur detectives and help in crime detection. We were also 4 and we fancied ourselves as amateur detectives. Only thing was we had no case to solve and no dog. After all what is a detective without a dog? We solved the dog problem by laying claim on a stray that bore a strange resemblance to Snowy from Tintin Comics. Not that we tried to take the dog captive or tame it or anything. In fact all of us were scared of dogs. So we just decided to call the dog our own and leave it at that. Except for the notional master- dog relationship, we minded our own business, the dog its own.

For the other problem of the case - the house presented an interesting option. We were sure something fishy must be going on in the house. We had to secretly enter the house, collect clues and solve the case. We could not directly enter through the front gate, for it was locked and always someone would be watching it. That left us with three options: the three compound walls. We had to break into one of the neighboring houses and scale the wall. The house to the left was occupied by a hostile gentleman who enriched our vocabulary of R-rated abuses in the Kannada language whenever he caught sight of us. So that house was ruled out. The house to the right was occupied by Nagaraj the notorious, the gang leader of the street boys. We were not too keen to discuss the case details with him. For one, he would not believe us and scoff at us. And he would definitely not allow us to use his home as the launching base for our crime investigation activities. So the only option that remained was the house behind. But again there was a complication. The people there had a dog: a huge black mastiff. None of us were too keen to run afoul of this ferocious animal. But an animal adversary did seem a better bet compared to human adversaries.

Now the question arose who would bell the cat or in this case the dog. Each of us in the team had a role. Deepak was the leader, I was the brains, Kulla was the kid. So the logical choice for dangerous field work was Ragi. He did not at all seem keen on this role that had been thrust upon him. I was delighted at an opportunity to show the boss’ right hand man in bad light. When he finally chickened out, it was my opportunity to grab the coveted position and I raised my hand. I could see a new respect in Deepak’s eye. I had shown my prowess in matters of the brain: now was the time to show my mettle as well. Once I accomplish the mission, I would be the undisputed second man in the gang.

We began to plan my adventure carefully. We spent the next two days carrying surveys of the location and studying the habits of the dog. We discovered that the dog was generally taken for a walk between 5.00 and 6.00. That was our window of opportunity. Ragi was literally glowering when he realized there was going to be no direct encounter with the brute after all. But he was by now thoroughly discredited in the gang’s eyes. Even Kulla was already deferring to my new found authority.Finally the D-day arrived and I entered the house as per plan. Clearly there was no sign of the dog. I bravely scaled the wall and dropped into the abandoned house. I began to look around for clues. Having no practical experience in detection before, I had no clue what a clue would look like. I just went about grabbing anything that looked interesting; I mean suspicious. Suddenly I heard a whistle. My friends had stationed themselves outside the house to warn me in case our four legged foe returned to his base before the pre appointed time. The whistle was the signal. I scampered towards the wall, scaled it and was about to jump when I heard the creak of the gate followed by a blood curdling growl. The dog had already arrived. We had not timed it right: a clear case of strategic planning failure.

I jumped back into the abandoned house. I wondered what to do. No way was I going to brave the mastiff. The dog’s barks and howls had taken away all my courage. I no longer wanted to be Deepak’s right hand man, I no longer wanted to play detective. I just wanted to be back at home: safe and sound. I silently sent out a prayer. What was I to do? I then calmly considered the options. The dog definitely was not an option. If the man in the house to the right side caught me, he would haul me to my parents. On the other hand what could Nagaraj do to me? At worst he could scoff at me and ridicule me. I could take that. So I quickly went to the right side compound wall and jumped. I landed with a thud.

Hey what are doing here?

It was Nagaraj’s younger brother Vinayak. We used to call him ‘Loose’ for his stupidity. I quickly built up a story of me getting spirited into the house by the ghost that resided there and how I had escaped and made my way into his house. He was simpleton who drank it all in. I was sure Nagaraj would not believe a word of it. So having secured myself, I walked out with my head held high: now a hero of the gang.

My friends were still waiting anxiously outside the 'doghouse'. I walked up to them and waved at them. They were so surprised and relieved to see me. We were soon at Deepak’s house going over the treasure trove I had managed to retrieve. The was a piece of cloth, presumably torn from a Sari, a tuft of hair, a bottle, a cigarette packet cover and a strange shaped stone.

I think this is becoming too long for a blog post - I’ll keep what we inferred from these clues and our next steps for another post, hopefully a much shorter one at that.

Click here to read the remaining part of this story.

31 comments:

Pankti Mehta said...

I loved the humor underlying your adventure. Best of luck for the contest :)

jaish_vats said...

I remember Ek Do Teen Char and to an extent the title song too. Brave deed indeed going to an abandoned house like that :)

indu chhibber said...

Such a cute endearing story of your childhood days,i simply loved it.Looking for the next episode of 'the famous four' and best of luck.

The Fool said...

Thanks Pankti

The Fool said...

Even I still remember the song. I used to be daredevil those days.

The Fool said...

Thanks Indu. Will be writing it soon. I always like going over my old memories and writing them out.

Rickie said...

Piece of cloth, tuft of hair - clearly, you were close to solving a murder mystery! I wish The Gang had persevered!
Nice memoir.

Rachna said...

Ah! I had so many such adventures when younger. We were a gang of naughty cousins :).

The Fool said...

Thanks Rickie. We did persevere. That is part of another post.

The Fool said...

Such memories are so lovely and brings memories to one's face even today, don't they?

Afshan Shaik said...

haha ! This made me laugh through out. That snow white resemblance, abandoned house. You gave quite an imagery,. Good one - Fool
and Would love to read the continuation

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Afshan.

Arvind Passey said...

Engrossing... but please register my very real protest against your making us wait for the next instalment. We want it right now... and here!

Arvind Passey
www.passey.info

The Fool said...

Thanks, Mr. Passey - I was scared the length may scare of readers. Will put up the next part soon.

umashankar said...

That was a gripping account and I will wait for the sequel even if I were to be handed just a bar of dove. ;) I especially liked the platonic relationship with the dog that looked like snoopy.

The Fool said...

Thanks, umashankar.

Namrota said...

Ohh no.. will have to wait for next installment. *sigh*
Make it quick.. loved it.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Namrota. Thanks to the encouraging comments, I will definitely write the rest soon.

Canary said...

Hahaha.. one of the best I have read on this topic so far... loved it :)
Humor and adventure - classic combo!

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

That was fun TF! You really do these nostalgia posts very well

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Canary.

The Fool said...

Thanks Suresh.

Ragini Puri said...

So looking forward to the next part of the story!
'Tuft of hair, a bottle, a cigarette packet cover and a strange shaped stone..' intriguing clues! Let's see how they all connect!

As a teenager, was hooked to the stories of The Three Investigators and dreamt of becoming the 4th member of the group and solving cases with them (also secretly aspired to date Pete, one of the investigators). Was crestfallen (and heartbroken) to learn that they were not for real. Sigh.
:D

Red Handed said...

Hahahahah good old days indeed!!! This looks straight out of an Enid Blyton story.
Cant wait for the next :)

The Fool said...

Thanks Ragini. Incidentally I was also a big fan of 3 investigators. Soon I will be doing a post on my adventures influenced by 3 investigators.

The Fool said...

Thanks Red Handed. Yeah - I always used to fancy myself as one of the Enid Blyton characters. Guess even my writing style has strong Enid Blyton influence. Will put up the next one soon.

Ragini Puri said...

That's great! Many of my friends don't even know about The Three Investigators. Not even the Alfred Hitchcock fans. Probably they did not look beyond Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

Looking forward to your post!

renu sethi said...

Really cute post and I simply loved your sense of humor *** Applaud***

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Renu.

themoonstone said...

Very good story ! The detectives part and a dog - That brought in a load of memories..with all the Five find- outers in our heads, even I was part of a gang which loved to detective stuff :)

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, moonstone. Interesting - I thought I was the only one.

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