Expert Detectives by Sharada Dwivedi is an exciting story about two detectives in the making, with a talent for spotting evidence, more imaginary than real.
Nishad, a boy of seven and his ten-year old sister Maya were playing one day and their marble rolled into Mr. Nath’s room, who was a patient of their mother. Nishad had the occasion of seeing Mr. Nath. The children thought him to be a suspicious character. They felt that the man was a crook and had earned his money wrongly. They wanted to know why Mr. Nath was so thin and lonely. May be because he was afraid of being handed over to the cops.
According to Nishad he looked simple, ordinary, possibly not a crook. The man was an ordinary patient of their doctor mother. At times, they thought him to be really poor and innocent.
The patient was only visited by one man and that too, on Sundays only. Mr. Nath was served tea and lunch by a boy called Ramesh.
Nishad and Maya had their own reasons to believe that Mr. Nath was a crook. Whereas their mother knew that Mr. Nath was a very polite man.
Children, unfortunately, found no clue. Maya prepared a list of things to confirm Mr. Nath’s character. There were many things which needed to be known like Mr. Nath’s first name, why the other tenants considered him mad, strange and unfriendly, why no one went to meet him, etc.
The children had many doubts, inspite of Nishad having a positive attitude also. On the other hand, Maya strongly wished to find out the truth about Mr. Nath. Nishad wanted to befriend him to clarify the fact, but Maya stopped him.
The end of the story seems vague as the intention of Nishad is not clarified.
The story has half a dozen characters in it. Three of them are children – the narrator, his younger brother Nishad (Seven) and sister Maya. They become expert detectives. Their mother is a doctor with her clinic. Mr. Nath, the principal character and who lives in Shankar’s house alone, is under her treatment. Ramesh takes tea and meals from the restaurant to Nath’s room. Nath pays cash and also tips to the bearer well.
The children go ahead to collect information about Nath. They think Mr Nath is a mysterious person. He has no friend there. Nishad has a bit of sympathy for Nath. His approach in this case is sensible.
The narrator is sure that Mr. Nath is an escaped crook or criminal. Nishad is doubtful. He wants to discover the truth. And he collects a lot of information in the case. The narrator has got a ready answer to all Nishad’s doubts. He thinks that Nath is a rich man. He has perhaps got millions of rupees locked in some trunks in his room. He notes dark scars also on Nath’s face. Nath might have got them during a shot out with the police. But Nishad contradicts him. Mummy had told him that they were burn scars.
One day Seven goes alone to his Mamma’s clinic at Girgaum. He gets upset to see Mr. Nath who looks so thin, poor and starving. He goes to Nath’s room and puts a bar of chocolate in the man’s hand. He collects one more clue about Mr. Nath’s routine. Ramesh told him that on every Sunday he carries two lunches to Mr Nath’s room and the same visitor is with him each time.
The tall, fair and stout visitor talks a lot whereas Mr. Nath simply listens. But he cannot imagine that Nath is a crook.
The narrator makes a long list of all the information they have collected about their target. He reads it out to Nishad.
- They don’t know what Mr. Nath’s first name is, they must discover it.
- The other tenants at Shankar house say that Nath is mad, strange and unfriendly.
- He doesn’t talk to anyone.
- He is under Mamma’s medical treatment so he has to be polite to the children.
- He receives no letters.
- He has been living in Room 10 for more than a year. He doesn’t work to earn his livelihood.
- He has no visitors Only on Sunday a fair, white man comes to him for lunch.
- Food and tea are taken to his room by Ramesh from the restaurant distributors.
Nishad doesn’t pay much attention to the narrator’s list of facts. He only pities that the poor man is without any friend. The narrator argues that the Sunday visitor must be Nath’s partner in crime, and comes on Sunday to give a part of ill-gotten money to Mr. Nath. As for Ramesh, Mr. Nath bribes him to keep quiet about his criminal activities.
Nishad doesn’t quite agree with the narrator. He says he will not cooperate in their investigation if they did not stop calling Mr. Nath an escaped criminal. In his opinion, the purpose of their enquiry is to find out why Mr. Nath is so thin and lonely. He declares that he likes Mr. Nath and he will try to befriend him.
The narrator laughs at the madness of Nishad. He warns him that the police would take him also to jail along with his friend. Nishad walks out of the room quietly.