Who Is The Killer? (2)

(fm Brightside.com)

Continued from here.

Here’re some more responses selected for their own way of looking at it – it’s amazing, often hilarious, to see how human mind reasons out:


Fran… I’m gona say the red guy, his shirts messy, he has a fork and no knife, the chef guy looks towards him with a confused look as to say where is your partner as he brings a drink and it looks like a second plate of dinner

Avne… A lady is thi kill because their are 2 knife on the each table but on the women table their is only one knife one kinfe is in the washroom

Shon. I think the lady is the killer as that washroom can be use ladies only a male cannot enter their

Dani……. Those rule Don’t apply to murderer

Kai…. dani…….,, it would be pretty obvious if a man entered the woman washroom

Jasm… the waiter. he murdered and now he is in a rush to get orders to catch up.


Now comes the most elaborate solution!!! Note his background – he’s not a movie script-writer!

Chas. …. Mathematician, Physicist, CS engineer, Inventor

‘* as I see it there are 2 possible solutions:the most likely scenario is the murder is no longer in the restaurant. the riddle never specifically states that the people with numbers are the only suspects. it is likely meant to distract and confuse.

notice the table at the top left corner of the room. one chair is slightly pulled out as if someone got up and left. this is either the victims seat, or it was where the murderer was sitting before leaving. im in favor if the latter for the following reasons:

• the door is left cracked open. this, alongside the chair, suggests someone got up and rushed out.

• excluding the unset tables, the top left table is the only one without a drink. notice how the waiter is holding a cup, looking confused, just standing in the middle of the room unsure what to do (likely because the person who ordered the drink is no longer there)

• nobody with even half a brain is going to stick around a crime scene where the just murdered somebody. seriously who brutally butcher’s a woman with a knife through the heart a public bathroom of a public place, then sits back sown to resume their meal? unlikely.

• now let’s consider #4. I believe he is most likely a red herring. the “obvious” killer, the only one without a knife that we can see. however if you look closely he has no fork either; he is eating with chopsticks. if he did have a knife the table, I believe the unlisted killer took it off his table as he passed by to enter the ladies room (which just happens to be right next to the bathroom, and therefore easily accessible)

• next we have #3. the woman does look nervous, and is a woman and therefore would have access. to me that’s just a little too obvious. one more thing to throw you off the scent. it is more likely she is scared because she went to the bathroom while waiting for her food, and saw the body and didn’t know what to do. as a Muslim she would have a higher tendency to refrain from reporting what she saw for several reasons ( she is the first suspect that would be considered by police, and also may fear being unfairly accused due to racial stigmas regarding Islamic immigrants. she may also be in the US illegally, and is too scared to reveal the crime.)

• finally let’s consider number 1. he looks sketchy af; we can’t see whether he has a knife still or if there are any blood stains on him. however he is sitting right by the exit, carefully watching it. #1 is an unknown, but i don’t think he’s the killer. possibly an accomplice though.

I believe the murder went down like this:

T= 0:00 > 0:03

■ the murder walks in. sits down at the top left table. the victim is already present. the killer possibly waited outside until the woman went to the bathroom, at which point #1 informs the murder it’s time; but the whole accomplice theory is just another possible addition.

note: it is by no means required the killer have any accomplice, and #1 could be completely uninvolved.—

T= 0:03 > 0:05

■ the waiter comes by and the killer either orders a drink (if the victim was already heading for the bathroom at the time) or asks for some time to look at the menu before ordering anything at all (waiting for his moment to strike). after doing either scenario, he/she either just walks directly to the bathroom, asks to be excused, or waits until the waiter leaves and heads to the kitchen to opens the man’s/woman’s ticket. then proceeds to fill their drink.

T=0:04 > 0:07

■ while the waiter is in the kitchen the killer makes it to the ladies room. it’s possible he grabbed 4s knife as he passed by (only if 4 had a knife to begin with, if not then ignore this- he is using chopsticks after all)

the woman likely knew the killer, as the crime was enough of a surprise to the victim that she didn’t call for help. Only the scared woman #3 seems to have noticed. it was a quick, quiet, and unsuspected kill. probably a revenge murder on a cheating wife or something along those lines. He stabs her, and then exits the bathroom immediately (or he waits for his possible accomplice #1 to text him that the coast is clear (both the waiter being absent and the exit [which he’s clearly watching closely] is clear and accessible)

T=0:06 > 0:08

■ after ensuring the coast is clear, the murder casually but swiftly leaves the bathroom and heads for the exit, after reaching it he doesn’t even bother to close the door. he bolts as far as possible from the scene.

T= 0:08> 0:10

■ the waiter returns from the kitchen with the killers drink. however they are no longer on site, and so he stands there holding the beverage cup with a look of confusion on his face, in the middle of the room (the best point from which to survey the diner for the now missing man/woman)

If the killer has to be one of the numbered suspects present in the diner, than it is most likely #1 by general process of elimination. however I feel that this is too simple to be true, and much prefer my own personal theory 🙂


Would you grudge giving him an applause?

It’s interesting to see how many have got it for (rather, against) #3! Bl##dy misogynists:-) Or, she’s truly evil?

(To be concluded )



Some Tiny Tales


Impressions from Chennai (Recent)

HiTech Ladies!

This shot of a Ladies Hostel was taken at a great personal risk!


Mind Your Steps

Walking on those uneven footpaths, the strap on the chappal (footwear) had snapped. Try as I did, could not find a shoe-smith to mend the break.  Back in the house, in an ‘Ah’ moment, it occurred me to ask the domestic maid who comes to clean the house where I could find one.

She laughed: ‘Thookki pottottu vera vanguweengala…adhai vittuttu…’

Translated: ‘Instead of throwing it away and buying a new one…you go around in search of…’

‘But it is only a strap that needs fixing.’

Appadithhan, Sir.’

Translated: ‘That’s what it is, Sir.’

Later I learnt if even I found one from the rarefied breed, he would charge in the least Rs 25/ even to look at it.


Letting My Hair Down

Even the sparse growth on the top was becoming bothersome in the summer heat. Had to have a much-delayed haircut that day.

There was a saloon near the house where we stayed with a fancy signboard announcing Rs 100/ for a haircut and Rs 80/ for a shave. Come on, a hundred bucks for a haircut? Must be one of those plush places that cloak you in use-and-throw sheets, spray imported perfume…didn’t need them.

Footed it up and down on the main street looking for a fair-price place. Could see a few, but they were not open for business – it was only 4-00 pm, or they were closed for repairs or had shifted to new premises a few miles away as the sign-boards helpfully informed. At the end of some twenty minutes, was on the verge of giving up when someone pointed me to a place I had crossed more than once during my search without noticing it.

Yes, there it was. No wonder I had missed it – it was tucked behind a canvas sun-shade curtain seemingly not gone for a wash in recent months.  

The place had two chairs and two men, one pair already serving a customer who, it was reassuring to see, appeared not unhappy in his predicament.

I was waved in to the other.  Inside, felt good to have finally found a place that would not be a rip-off. Though it meant a little more effort under the hot sun.

The chair was comfortable, the cushion letting out a sigh under my weight as I parked my posterior; and the cloth thrown over me appearing clean and fresh from a wash. No AC, so what? I was not sweating yet. Only had to keep my eyes away from the small wash-basin on the side that made one in an unreserved compartment of a passenger train at the end its journey look spit-and-polish clean. What was it to me as long as I didn’t have to use it, eh? One of those things to be taken in stride when one meant business.

Instructed my man to cut it real short for the summer. If one ever noticed, one’s hair is wont to play the devil. Mine – thin at the top, flowed like a mane on the sides, almost covering the ears and prick-y at places around the back of the neck. The man quietly set about going with a machine first, followed by the scissors and finally finished with a razor.

The job was done in a short time not entailing any great effort. No spray, no holding up a mirror to inspect the job done. No big deal. Felt immediate relief like a few oppressive kilos taken off my head – purely psychological, looking at it rationally, with so little removed.

I got up, shook myself clean, forked out a hundred rupee note from my pocket and offered it to my man asking him how much.

The note was wordlessly passed to the other man – younger of the two, also the proprietor, I guessed – who was free by now, continuing its journey to a collection box on the counter.

The young man, I could see, made no attempt to return the change. Heck, I am a reasonable guy appreciative of the service I get, but not so as to tip like a man with an aunt dying inestate.

Wanting to take the matter to its end, both logical and pecuniary, I pressed ahead with the query again.

‘It’s hundred rupees, Sir,’ said the young man calmly.

‘A hundred rupees?’ I cried incredulously.

‘Yes, Sir,’ he further assured me it was a tariff standardized by their Association of Barbers, Chennai. I could check up if I so wished.

I registered dissent: ‘But even the great-looking place near the street corner (the one near the house alluded to at the outset) claims to charge only hundred rupees, all inclusive. No hidden charges or options priced extra like cutting the hair, nettlesome taxes, etc…’

My feeble attempt at humour in face of adversity went unrewarded without a chuckle or even a hint of a smile.

‘Sir, they all do that,’ he explained. ‘Unlike us they employ kids totally untrained for the job. You for sure wouldn’t go there next time. Why…for next couple of weeks, you would emerge out of your house on the streets only after dark not wanting to be seen in daylight. And, with us, nobody would give you a second look as you go out from here right now.’

Ah, familiar words spoken here – the karma theory. The very words from customers, many years ago, on our project pricing vis-a-vis competition and our unassailable defense!

And, no second look, eh? Those self-congratulatory words were, I saw clearly as, double-edged.

Am digressing. Back to the nub of it:

Looked around in vain for a tariff board somewhere on the walls – there was none. May be the A-of-B-at-C did not think it was expedient to early-warn their poor unsuspecting customers, only to spring it on them later like their buses do on the road honking furiously when they are within inches of your behind.  

In no mood to start a scene, realized the case was hopeless. If our CBI’s against Raja comes to your fair mind, don’t fault your good self – the comparison by no means inappropriate though one was in high places and mine was in a barber shop.

Well (?), cursed myself for not checking it out before putting my hair between the scissors. Left the place holding back all those rather uncivil words crowding on my tongue threatening to roll out any moment, but not before handing a ten rupee note to the man who had served me – after all it didn’t seem fair to take it out on the poor man who had exerted though without a bead of sweat to show.   

Much later a disturbing thought occurred: What if my man was indeed the father of the young man? All in the family, you see? Dismissed it not wanting to feel miserable any more than it was already.

Am at an age where talking about one’s miseries with equanimity and mirth came easily. When I narrated the incident, my cousin for a moment stared at my pate and laughed: ‘Don’t tell me, dear fellow, you got it done squatting on the pavement…’ He enlarged on the theme to remove any misgivings I might have had on what he meant. If ever salt was rubbed in with vim and vigour on one’s wounds, this was it.

Seeing the look on my face, he quickly did the cousin-ly thing bringing on the balm: ‘My fellow, you know, I pay nothing less than Rs 250/ for my haircut?’

Thereupon I sneaked a glance at his crown and saw things showed up no better for such lavish self-indulgence. No topiary practiced there either.

Well (!), anyway, the information he shared did soothe the ruffled whatever remained of the hair a little bit. So, that was it. At hundred bucks a nip, mine didn’t seem to be too bad a deal by local norms, if one did not allow the mental picture wash-basin to unduly cloud the scene.  It was like the riddle where you’re required to make an already drawn straight line shorter without touching it in any manner and you do it by drawing a longer line alongside. Same with fails.  

Enough said. Are you non-Chennai folks out there listening? Rs 250/ for a haircut! In Chembur it is Rs 50 plus a ten rupee tip in a decent looking saloon, though small, with non-English tongued barbers in their civvies and a wash-basin that would pass muster – certainly not the khabootar-khana type.


How Selling is Done In Chennai?

Natural Chat!!

Here are two commonly played out scenarios, so different:  

At an eats shop:

If you ordered idli’s, idli’s are what you get, not vada’s

Any flaw in the logic? Read on:

‘Give me Parle’s Marie biscuits, make it the bigger pack.’

‘Parle? Sorry, Sir, we don’t have.’

Made a show of walking away gesturing disappointment.

No attempt to sell me Brittania or Sunfest Marie.  

Actually, this little game I play at shops just to see what they do with it – I know there is little chance or choice as Parle’s products are not widely stocked for reasons known only to Parle.  

Finally I asked for and got Brittania.

At a cloths shop:

‘You have banians for my size, larger than 110 cms?’

Never a pleasant experience. I get eyed like I’m a freak escapee from a nearby circus. So much so I wear my current stock to the point where the banians now have more holes than one hole to put my head through.

No surprises here: ‘No, Sir, we don’t have large sizes like that.’

Oh, so where do those mammoths one sees on and off the screen buy from?

By now I know enough of Chennai to ask: ‘You know where I can get it?’

‘Yes, there’s a place here, passing about half-a-dozen shops down towards Luz on the same side of the road. Wait let me show you.’

He ignores our repeated ‘never mind, we’ll find it’, leaves his counter, comes out with us halfway until the shop is in sight and then goes back even before I could thank him.


(there could be more!)


Who In The Room Screams First?

The Dinner Party

by Mona Gardner (1942)

The country is India.  A large dinner party is being given in an up-country station by a colonial official and his wife.  The guests are army officers and government attaches and their wives, and an American naturalist.

At one side of the long table a spirited discussion springs  up between a young girl and a colonel. The girl insists women have long outgrown the jumping-on-a-chair-at-the-sight-of-a-mouse  era, that they are not as fluttery as their grandmothers.  The colonel says they are, explaining women haven’t the actual nerve control of men.  The other men at the table agree with him.

“A woman’s unfailing reaction in any crisis, ” the colonel says, “is to scream.  And while a man may feel  like it, yet he  has that  ounce  more  of  control  than a woman has.  And that last ounce is what counts. “

The American scientist does  not  join  in  the  argument but sits and watches the faces of the other guests.  As he looks,  he  sees a strange expression come over the face of the hostess.  She  is staring  straight ahead,  the muscles of her face contracting  slightly.  With a small gesture she summons the native boy standing behind her chair.  She whispers to him.  The boy’s eyes widen: he  turns quickly and leaves  the  room.  No one else sees this, nor the boy when he puts a bowl of milk on the verandah outside the glass doors. 

The American comes to with a start.  In India, milk in a bowl means only one thing.  It is bait  for a  snake.  He  realizes there is a cobra  in  the room.

He  looks   up   at  the  rafters-the   likeliest   place – and sees they  are  bare.  Three corners of the  room, which he can see by shifting only slightly, are empty.  In the fourth corner a group of servants stand, waiting until the next course can be served.  The American realizes there is only one place left – under the table.

His first impulse is to jump back and warn the others.  But he knows the commotion will frighten the cobra and it will strike.  He speaks quickly, the quality of his voice so arresting that it sobers everyone. 

“I want to know just what control everyone at this table has.  I will count three hundred – that’s five minutes – and not one of you is to move a single muscle.  The persons who move will forfeit 50 rupees.  Now!  Ready!”

The 20 people sit like stone images while he counts.  He is saying “. . . two hundred and eighty . . .” when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees the cobra emerge and make for the bowl of milk.  Four or five screams ring out as he jumps to slam shut the verandah doors. 

“You certainly were right, Colonel!” the host says.  “A man has just shown us an example of real control.”

“Just a minute,” the American says, turning to his hostess, “there’s one thing I’d like to know.  Mrs. Wynnes, how did you know that cobra was in the room?”

A faint smile lights up the woman’s face as she replies.  “Because it was lying across my foot.”


Source: “The Dinner Party” by Mona Gardner, 1942, 1970,  Saturday Review from here. Image from here.

Until Death Parted Us?? A Horror Story (600+ Words)

She was reported missing by her husband a week ago.

The police machinery set in motion had no concrete information yet.

The husband was also questioned on rumors of marital discord.

That’s where it stalled.

He was sure there was some foul play in his sister’s disappearance. Asking around, he got nothing to go by. Yes, there were the usual domestic squabbles from time to time heard by the neighbors. But that was about all.

His friend took him to consult a baba known to have powers of vision.

The baba heard them out and said: ‘Unfortunately, I’ve expended all my tantric/yogis power. Not until the next full-moon day that is about three weeks away from now…’

Pressed by the friend to do something here and now, the baba went into a trance, promising to do his best.

Coming out of trance some ten minutes later, the baba was panting for breath and profusely sweating. The two visitors felt guilty of putting the baba to trouble and stood aside nervously heads down. The baba called them near and said: ‘I’m sorry, I couldn’t muster enough power to have a clear vision…I had warned you…All I could hazily see was a patch in front of a rose bush in what appeared to be a backyard of a house.’

He understood – the spot in front of the rose bush in the backyard of her house was his sister’s favorite place. Often she would sit there, read books, play with her dog or simply lie down looking at the sky.

He went to the police and raised a ruckus over their inaction so far. With great apprehension and reluctance, more to appease him and buy more time, they agreed to act on the baba’s input, quite at the risk of exposing themselves to ridicule for taking a mere baba’s word seriously.

It wasn’t easy either to get their way with the husband. Despite his protestations, finally they managed to dig up the patch on the yard where the soil did look disturbed.  

At two feet of depth they struck pay-dirt.

All hands went up to their noses as the overpowering stench of decaying flesh bubbled up.

In there was a dog’s body, its upper torso revealed clear off the soil. It was his sister’s, marked by the distinctive strap around the neck.

She had loved the dog like her own child – they had none of their own.

The husband was ready for it – he explained: after his wife went missing, the dog was inconsolable try hard as he might. Went without food or water. He even took it to a vet – they could check it out, his medication to no avail. It would go and lie down on the patch and not move in even in the cold nights. Two days ago it was found dead in the morning. The poor thing was buried at its favorite spot. That’s how it came to be where it was found.

He looked dazed, sat down on the ground disheartened hands on his head. It was back to square one. No doubt the baba had ‘seen’ – but it was not good enough. Now what next…

The police officer in-charge shook his head in dismay and, cursing himself under his breath, ordered the men to refill the hole on the ground, his mind racing to find a way to mollify the irate husband.

Thump…thump…It stopped as soon as it began. Commotion ensued at the hole, men inured to seeing the ghastly and gore clambering out of the hole like they were fleeing death.  Brought the officer rushing back to the scene.

Trying vainly to block the stench, the officer peered down the hole to see the dog’s body head to toe now fully cleared off the soil, his attention drawn to the lower torso where it was held in a close hug by a badly decomposed hand coming up from under.


Source: Inspired by an Indian movie episode narrated to me long ago. Can’t recall which, who… Image from Masterfile

Update: M tells me the movie is Kamal Haasan’s Papanasam. Apparently the story takes a different route with no paranormal elements – only the dog remains the common piece.

A Sisterly Encounter

It was a practice for V and M to be driven by car to their school in the morning and let them walk back home in the evening.

One day the ‘inequity’ of it all suddenly strikes M while returning home.

‘V, this is not fair. I’m carrying this every evening. I think we should both do it on alternate days.’

She is referring to the double-decker lunch-carrier in her hand.  The carrier has one ‘box’ each for them, usually filled with curd-rice to be had during midday lunch break.     

V thinks M has a point. She offers a deal: she would carry it in the morning and M would in the evening.

After giving a few days for the new arrangement perhaps in deference to her elder, M brings it up again: ‘But, V, in the morning, it’s in the car, you know…’

V sees the merit in what M is saying.

On the following morning, when they are settled, V picks up the carrier from the seat and places it on her lap and turns to M: ‘See, I’m carrying it.’!!!

Did M hit the ceiling, jump out of the car or simply cry in exasperation?

Well, some fifty years later, today M has no recollection of what she did. She recalls this much: soon afterwards, the matter resolved itself peacefully – they had to go for individual boxes as their breaks for different grades were no longer in sync.

What is amazing in this story is, perhaps no surprise for psychologists: how these childhood incidents reveal clues into their latter-day personalities. M maturing into a homely wife/mother/daughter-in-law, a sensible and calming influence to all who know her, bringing up her children as well as could be. And, the first responder for her spouse, as he copes up with age and health! Likewise V blossoming into a multi-talented person of quick wit, an organizer, an entrepreneur and a tireless problem-solver! (More on her here).

Today, after all the hair pulling, snitching on each other, swiping dresses and chocolates…way behind them, life has taken the sisters – in fact three of them – on different courses in their education, marriage, location, families… all housewives, so alike as chalk and cheese, all the same fond of each other as ever, talking often…few secrets between them – making people like me, only son of my parents, jealous!

I should know, for M grew with me coming in when she was some eighteen or nineteen.

More on the breed of sisters here:

Making no bones about the break  

I’m doing just that, Mom

Life’s never easy on the first born



Source: Image from newvitruvian.com

A City Of Two Tales

People are so full of stories, anecdotes, and experiences, personal or otherwise.

I collected a couple of them new in this stay at Chennai over the last few weeks. Both, in local context.

The first one was narrated by K with whom we travelled to Tiruppathi, a gentleman of deep knowledge and wide experience – it’s unfortunate I had not known him earlier and enough to tap into his vast repository of anecdotes.

A practicing professional in Accountancy and Finance, K heard this one from a respectable Muslim business client of his years ago when it had happened:

On one occasion, a general of high rank in the Indian Army was socially calling on this client, his friend. As a matter of routine, hours before the visit, an inspection team came in and turned the house upside down and went away satisfied.

When the general finally arrived, he was warmly greeted by his friend, taken into the house. And they settled down for their friendly banter. In course of which the host registered a mock complaint:

‘Do you know what your men did to my house?’

The general profusely apologized for discommoding the host and said it was part of a standard procedure that could not be waived.

A smile appeared on the face of the host. He led the general to one of the bedrooms. And quietly lifted the mattress up a few inches to reveal a gun that looked good for its business!

(It is not known if any heads rolled subsequently. May be that’s how/why the Pulwama attack on CRPF succeeded and many other incidents before? Wonder laxity if any never got talked about)

Later the two friends sat down for dinner. The general went gaga over the biriyani that was served:

 ‘Hey, tell me, did you steal the chef from Shadab or Paradise…’

The host called out: ’The general loves your biriyani, won’t you come out and show your face for a moment, Narayana?’


This is from N whom I called on a couple of days ago, residing in Besant Nagar near the Marina Beach.

One night, he was taking a stroll on the beach with not many around at that hour.

Suddenly he was accosted by a man obviously gone a little far for his good.

Nevertheless, he held himself up steady for a brief moment to tell N:

Brother – kinship gets easily established – this Modi (the Prime Minister)he’s a genius, mind you. See how all these guys with all their ill-gotten stash got screwed overnight thru demonetization? That’s not enough, my friendtake this from me to Modihe must fix an expiry date on all currency like an year, two or even five…then see what happensno more hoarding, saving and all that…the money would have to be spent soon after it’s made…will do a lot of good to all around, think about it.

Now at peace, his India-saving message delivered, he dissolved back into darkness of the night.

Something to think about?