The Sadanand Sharma Trophy for Extramural Excellence

Neha and the Nose

NLSIU, Bangalore has been in existence for some time now. The number of people who display the University, as, at least, a footnote in their identity, is distinctive. I came across my Super-Senior, Ruchika Chanana, while discussing on ‘Quirkier’, The NLSIU Alumni Newsletter. I am happy to have found a spot in ‘Quirkier’, Issue 1. I am happier to have found 88 pages of a beautiful story. Excerpt follows.

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It couldn’t be Ramji. Mrs. Manjunath said, the Police had enough evidence to convict him for the theft. ‘The Sadanand Sharma Trophy for Extramural Excellence.’ This sounded like a case that was begging to be solved by Neha and the Nose. As far as we knew, we weren’t related to any God(s), did not own magic wands, and neither of us was in love with a vampire. We were on our own. But we’d successfully deciphered the pressing question of who stole ‘Sara’s KitKat Birthday Cake’ last year, and just a few months ago, we’d solved ‘The Mystery of the Speckled Smartphone’. We were experienced, we were dedicated, and we had a secret weapon.

‘Johan!’ I yelled. I gave him one of my famous withering looks, designed to reduce boys to sniveling puddles of shame. As usual, it had no effect on the Nose. Solving mysteries is all about observation. Sometimes I think I am mad to have entrusted my whole future as ‘Diva Detective Extraordinaire’ to this ‘Non-Hunk of Nerdhood’ with the giant proboscis.

‘Pujas are an odorous overload for the Nose,’ he said, and was just about to put the mask back on when he froze. ‘That’s it!’

‘Why did you do it? Tell us!’ The Nose had my back. It was issuing all manner of sounds now, of different pitches and tones, shrill squeaks, bass honks, sub human high whines. ‘Yes, I did it! Just make him stop. Please!’ And so it all came tumbling out.

In course of my extensive research, I have found that there is one thing that gets the synapses of the Nose crackling, and at the same time, oils my neurons: ice cream. Johan and I basked in our success and the popularity for as long as we could. The summer holidays came and went…

I exclaimed, ‘there are no such things as ghosts!’ ‘There is a preponderance of probabilities,’ finished Johan. ‘So I, err… we must explore forthwith!’ Oh, if only I could slice off that Nose from that ‘Nonsensical Noggin’ and slip it into my wallet! You have to give me points for tolerance. Something was definitely up. ‘The Secret of the Stolen Solitaires.’

Ruchika Chanana, Neha and the Nose, (Duckbill, 2019).

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It takes some talent to include, in 88 pages, a mention of Criminal Minds, Stranger Things and Wuthering Heights, Pygmalion; Alia Bhatt, Kangana Ranaut and Adele, Agatha Christie; Sheldon Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch; Sauron and Rani Padmavati; Black Panther and Mallory Towers; Lord Cornwallis and Einstein, Ronaldo and Mbappé! I discovered, the writer/editor/theatre-practitioner also a had some seconds in Made in Heaven (2019, dir. Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti).

RC

Season 1, Episode 6: ‘Something Old, Something New

It makes little sense to just compliment a Super-Senior. Otherwise, it shall appear to be an exercise I strictly disapprove. It’s best to just hope still… every electron/proton/neutron who graduate from the same University know each other and ‘Battles of Planet Earth’ are easier to contest in.