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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chp 133. The Mystery of the Defected Masala

The room was dusky and the air moist and damp. The first room resembled a slaughter house. Blood everywhere. Two lifeless bodies strewed the floor, exhibiting the horrendous crime in all its dark glory. The Safe was open, and empty. It looked like a clean case of burglary and first degree murder.

There was a strange stench emitting from what was probably the kitchen. He inhaled cautiously with closed eyes, concentrating on the smell.

“Ahhh”, he exclaimed, “Masala. Garam masala. Manufactured by MDH in January 2007.”

Before the Police Inspector could say anything, a quick salvo of questions came flying out.

“Are you sure the couple lived alone?”

“Yes sir. They didn’t even have a servant.”

“What about their son?”

“Uh… I’m not sure they have a son, Sir. We’ve just reached…”

“They have a son”

He looked around the room once more and his eyes fell on the table. He smiled.

“They have a son and he’s staying at The Intercontinental Hotel opposite Nehru Place. He’s the one who committed this crime. Go, send your men over there.”

Before the flabbergasted Inspector could react, he left the scene of murder, merging with the shadows of the night with ease as if he was a part of it. That same night, the murderer of Mr. and Mrs. Kumar was caught. It was their son Ajay Kumar. He was staying at the Intercontinental Hotel.


Meet Sarlawk Bawms. Born in Mizoram, brought up in Delhi. India’s greatest crime fighter. After dropping out from one of the premier Management Institutes of the Nation, he decided to put to good use one of his most clich├ęd sentences he had used in every resume, that he was an “out-of-the-box thinker”.

The same Inspector came to pay him a visit the next day.

“Thank you once again, Mr. Sarlawk Bawms. You have solved yet another crime that we wouldn’t probably have…”

“The pleasure’s all mine, you don’t have to thank me. Solving such a crime is a great thrill to me, and the more challenging it is, the more the thrill.”

“Ah, I know. You’ve told me that a hundred times in all these months we’ve known each other. You always end up solving a case, yet you never stop surprising me. Now, you know what I’m going to ask, right?”

“Of course. You’re going to ask me how I solved the case, just like you always do”.

Sarlawk Bawms grinned. The Inspector grinned back.

“First of all… the Garam masala! What was that all about? How did you know it was Garam masala with such specific manufacturing month and what did it have anything to do with the case?”

“Well, my dear friend, you know I’m a Mizo right? We Mizos don’t use that much masalas in our food, whereas you use masalas by the kilo in a single dish. So your sense of smell is pretty used to the aroma of masala. Not me. I can easily distinguish the smell of masala, any masala, especially since I live right between the Amrapali family on my left and the Selvamani family on my right.”

“Ah! Ok I will buy that. But what was with the exact manufacturing month?”

“Well, in January 2007, the production staff of the MDH factory situated at NOIDA went on a strike demanding a hike in their salary. The management brought in temporary workers to continue the production of their various products. Those workers were not as skilled as the ones on strike, so they goofed up a bit on their job, like adding a bit of jeera powder and coriander powder at the garam masala unit. If you had smelled real hard that day, you would have distinguished a slight smell of jeera and coriander powder amidst the garam masala smell, even though there were no packets or containers of such powders in the kitchen. The only other packets in the kitchen that day, were garam masala, lal mirch powder and dhania powder.”

“Wow! You never fail to amaze me… ok so it was a defect masala. What does that have to do anything with the case?”

“When the management staff of MDH realized the error, they pulled back all the products. However, due to a prior contract agreement with the MBO giant Foodworld, they did not retrieve such products from the shelf as long as the error was miniscule and “unnoticeable”.”


“And so I looked around the room and saw the framed photograph of the murdered couple with their son. Next to that was a framed certificate from Foodworld, appreciating their son for his dedicated two years employment.”

“Ah… now things are starting to make sense a bit…”

“Their son was not living with them. But he was definitely working at Foodworld. And with the smell from the masala I knew at once that it was brought from Foodworld. But since there was not a Foodworld around that house for miles, it had to be somebody who lived near such a place or somebody who worked there.”

“And how did you know it was the son who murdered the couple?”

“The Safe was not forced open. It had to be somebody the couple trusted. And since they led quite a reclusive lifestyle, a son would fit that profile perfectly.”

“Ok, and about the Hotel Intercontinental conclusion, let me guess… you looked around the room and saw a matchbox from the hotel? A napkin? A restaurant bill?”

“No, no and no.” Sarlawk Bawms smiled. “It was none of those. I just saw a piece of metro train ticket originating from Nehru place. Now, judging from the dust marks inside the Safe, it was easy to determine that a large sum of money was stolen.”

“Frankly speaking, I never noticed that.”

“I did. Now if you are an amateur robber and you had just stolen a large sum of money while you were just working as a lowly counter clerk at Foodworld while thinking that nobody would catch you in the act, would you ingeniously lay low and save the money or go on a spending spree immediately?”

“Uh… I’d say… amateurly spend the money immediately”.

“Exactly! And since our culprit who worked as a shopping assistant lived away from his parents, it doesn’t take a genius to assume that he must be living in a very small rented apartment as the rental price at Nehru Place is extremely high. Such a person must have gone directly to the best establishment nearby to enjoy the spoils of his war. And there’s just one Five star hotel in the whole of Nehru Place, so that was the only place he could have gone to.”


“Don’t wow me, my friend. I’m just doing something I enjoy the most, while serving society at the same time.”

“You have done our Nation a great service, yet again.”

Sarlawk Bawms smiled.

“Now about that Mizo tea, would you like to have it with kurtai, our local jaggery?”

“Yes please.”


And so the first adventure of Sarlawk Bawms ends. Disclaimer: This story is entirely fictional and some of the facts mentioned are incorrect. Would you like to read more adventures of the amazing Sarlawk Bawms? Let me know and I will write such more mysteries in the upcoming posts. Cheers.


Henry a.k.a Sylvman said...

Engtin nge maw idea hi i neih thrin bik le aw ! Good Write ! As always !

P.S. Word verification hi i ngaih pawimawh viau loh chuan paih teh . Its a request

illusionaire said...

Thanx Henry :) Ideas just come and go out of the blue :)

Sorry about the word verification, but read my earlier posts to see the amount of spam comments I used to get when there is no word verification, especially since anonymous commenting is activated in my blog. There are a couple of regular commenters without a blogger account who visit my blog regularly. Thats why i have to have word verification if I am having anonymous commenting to prevent *&@#%^ spam. :) Inconvenience caused deeply regretted :)

Phoenix said...

wow. I've never read an amateur detective story written this well, with all loose ends tied up.
Cool man!

jimmy said... this one and chap 131, word to word, you're getting better by the day :)
/Pats Kima on the back :D

Off topic: DO NOT share my chat logs with anyone and I mean 'ANYONE'. I'm already dead, but You're also soooo dead >:P

illusionaire said...

@ Phoenix: Thanx! :) Just trying to do my stuff :)

@ Jimmy: lolzzzz! That particular chat script was too funny to just let it go, especially since I was chatting right then with the very same person you were talking about! hahahahahaha!!!!

Calliopia said...

Yes Jimmy, you're SOOOOO dead. And I'm going to spend the next 48 hours thinking up ways to make sure you're even deader than you are already. Grrrrrr.

Great piece of writing, Kim. You remind me again of that Goanese writer whassisname. Very smooth. Clap clap.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Sandman

I am writing on behalf of my deceased client Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; My name is Hon. James Clive Burton (LLB) the solicitor in charge of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Trust. I chanced upon your blog and happened to notice that you have taken inspiration for the name of your detective from one of Sir Doyle's most popular characters - Sherlock Holmes. This is an infringment of the copyright act of 1921 and upon charges being pressed upon you , you will face the penalty of 100 days in one of Her Majesty's prisons. However in the event that the use of "Sarlawk Bawms" is ended to effect as of today I will not be pressing charges. Awaiting your reply.

Respectfully Yours.
Hon. James Clive Burton
12,Thames Bridge Road
London EW23SG.

illusionaire said...

@ J: Kill Jimmy. He's always up to such mischievous pranks, and that too at his age??? :) Thanx about the post.

@ The Hon. James Clive Burton: lolz. :) Now who can this be? Very cute! :) Why do I have a sneaking suspicion its FadeNoMore up to his usual antics again? :))

Sarlawk Bums Lawyer said...

Dear sandman

You know me in and out. how can i refuse you my love. I henceforth allow you to use the name "Sarlawk Bawms" without any fear of being thrown in gaol.

respectfully yours.
Hon. James Clive Burton

Anonymous said...

Please continue Sarlawk Bawms, i am looking forward to the next Sarlawk Bawms.

Mariuca said...

Hi Sandman! I love the way your mind works. This is amazing, you are definitely gonna be a terrific published author some day! Hats off to you for another excellent piece...I'm even more impressed now! :) :) :)

philo said...

Brilliant...reminds me of Jamyang Norbu's own interpretation.

myself said...

Brilliant!!! i rawngbawl laiin ami idea hi i neih tak thut??? :D ..I like it.

illusionaire said...

@ Hon James Clive Burton: Lolz. Mister FadeNoMore. I knew it had to be you, you jobless Mizo :) Thanx for giving me the permission to use your client's name! :-P

@ anonymous: Thanx anonymous. More Sarlawk Bawms adventures coming up!

@ mariuca: lolzzz... another compliment here! I'm already blushing from the earlier one too! If I ever get to publish any such book, I promise I will send the first off-shore publication to you personally signed by yours truly. Hahaha!

@ Philo: I should read the interpretation of that person you just mentioned. Thanx for the comment bro.

@ myself: Thank you thank you :) Nah, the idea came much much later :-P Muaaaah :)

Mariuca said...

Hi Sandman, I'm holding u to that promise! An autographed copy by the dreamy guy himself ;)

Jerusha said...

Sarlawk Bawns, hmm, now why does that remind me of a certain bar near a certain green house in Chaltlang?
Bring the next one on!

Sonam said...

kima..great post..keep it coming.

whats ur contact no btw: mail it to me ,


illusionaire said...

@ mariuca: The Sandman never breaks a promise ;)

@ Jerusha: lolz. Whatever be the topic, the first thing you ever think of is such a place! Why am I not surprised :-D Next one will be out shortly.

@ Sonam: Bro, my mail is silv_kim[at]yahoo[dot]com. You can reach me here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy,

That was very impressive..Funny I thought you might really have solved the crime until I saw the disclaimer !! :D


JesseTheCat said...

Thanks for all the for Blogsvertise, I am only trying them out cos they are one of the few such places who will accept a young baby blog like mine! I know there are better places, which I intend to try when my blog is older.I see you have a way of story weaving that is just brilliant! I really am impressed.Good Luck, Sandman

illusionaire said...

Dear Ma-te, Thanx for visiting and commenting :) The disclaimer has to be there in case some of the entity mentioned in my post decides to sue me :-D

@ Jesse The Cat: Thanx for taking the trouble to reply all the way back to my blog. Remember, the first baby steps are the most important and crucial steps, so nurture your blog with love and care, and believe me, it will be a very good investment. :-)

Anonymous said...

I say tell the Hon Jimmy Clive Burton to shove it! I think you are a GREAT writer! I have only been following the story for the past week, but you really do a nice job! Keep it up!

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