The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (A Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation)
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On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.
The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant.
As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought.
And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs...
to enter this office until the inspector says so,’ he said to a relieved Constable Surat. Then he went looking for Sub-Inspector Rangwalla. He found Rangwalla sitting in the station’s cramped interview room with a very fat man in a grey safari suit who was sweating profusely beneath the wheezing ceiling fan. ‘I demand you arrest the scoundrel this very minute!’ the man was saying. For emphasis he thumped his knees with both hands. ‘Fellow has absconded with my daughter and you sit here and tell
the girl I chose for him.’ This thought brought fresh tears to her eyes, and she sank her face into her hands once again. Achrekar squeezed her shoulder and stood up to accompany Chopra out of the little house. Outside Chopra felt the full force of the sun; but he knew that at this moment not a single ray of light would penetrate inside the Achrekars’ home. ‘Santosh was a handsome boy,’ said Achrekar, taking off his spectacles and wiping them with the edge of his kurta. ‘I would hear him joking
Chopra, as a rule, did not believe in compromising in such matters. Above this, however, was another belief, one that he had held almost since the day he had first arrived in this fantastical city: that Anarkali, like millions of others on the lowest rungs of Mumbai society, was merely a product of the crushing poverty into which she had been born. Many years ago he had discovered her under the Airport Flyover where she lived, beaten and close to death after a gang of drunken men had violated
in the world turned to look at him with its customary glare of disapproval. ‘Where were you?’ snapped Poornima Devi, Poppy’s mother. ‘Couldn’t you be on time for this at least?’ The old woman – a grey-bunned, spider-like presence in her white widow’s sari – glared at him, her black eyepatch radiating hostility. He and Rao had never gotten along. In part this was literally true, due to the fact that she possessed only one eye, having lost the other in a disagreement with a cockerel many years
that he cherished like a precious flame within him. He got out of the truck. He walked to the rear and lowered the tailgate. Ganesha trotted down the ramp and into the rain. The little elephant’s ears flapped as raindrops bounced off his hide. Chopra walked to the gate of Nayak’s mansion. He peered through the curlicued ironwork and saw that beneath the awning of the guard hut the security guard was sitting with a white-liveried chauffeur in a peaked cap. Both men were smoking cigarettes and