Monday, January 09, 2012

Sherlock Holmes in Lahore: Part 2


A diamond is forever. This line was immortalized by De Beers and when we think of diamonds, the first image which comes to mind is that of the prospectors of Kimberley, South Africa, or the markets of Belgium or Surat, India. But in Lahore when the topic is diamond market, it means only and only one place: Shahi Mohalla (Royal Neighbourhood). Established by the Mughal Emperors some 500 years ago, it is located in the proximity of the Shahi Qila (Royal Fort) and Badshahi Masjid (Royal Mosque). The royals and the elites used to visit this place to entertain themselves with the music, singing and dancing. The most famous musicians and dancers used to live here. The beautiful girls (called Heeras or Diamonds) sat in the balcony type stalls to attract the visitors. Even though when the British came and the place was diluted with the ‘other’ trade, still there are dancers and musicians living in the area. But now it is synonymous with the Red Light area of Lahore. And then of those balcony type houses, one is converted into a 5-star restaurant, known is Cooco's Den, by one of the Area’s own, Iqbal Hussain, a maestro of arts and painting. The restaurant is frequented by elites of the city as well as foreigners. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are sitting on the roof top enjoying the food.

Picture Courtesy: Pakistan in Pictures



Watson: Since the days of my service in the Royal Army in India, I have never tasted such a delicious meal.

Holmes: (Looking at the paintings displayed on the walls and in some abstract thoughts) Hmm.

Watson: You are not going to taste some of the exquisite Pakistani cuisine on the table?

Holmes: It is the mind that needs food more than the stomach. To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces.

He moves from the table to the edge of the building. It is already dark but the street below is glowing. And the city of Lahore is glowing in mosaic with dark patches due to power outage in some parts. 

Holmes: You see Watson, the people below in the street are such a diverse mix. And I engross myself in deducing their professions, their lifestyles, their joys and agonies. Humans are such a riveting subject. For example, look at that teenage boy standing in the corner. He wants to see from the inside but has not enough money. The middle aged man, with uncombed hair, has lost all his money and is discarded. The other man down the house, is probably a driver and is in heavy debt, fearing for his life. And then the man who is well dressed is probably a rich one and...

Suddenly he catches a glimpse of something unexpected. He asks Watson to come at once and see. But then he tells him to settle the bill and meet him downstairs. And he rushes outside.

He sees Mujeeb walking briskly towards the end of the street, alone. They both follow him until he enters a house. Without the interpreter, who has excused himself for the evening, they cannot do much. There are no sign boards or anything on the house. They wait there and after an hour or so, Mujeeb comes out and with the same pace exits the area. They think of coming the following morning.

Next morning at 8 O’clock, they asked the interpreter to come to their hotel room. And when he hears that they intend to go to Diamond Market at this hour on a Sunday, he burst in to laughter. Both Holmes and Watson are perplexed. Then the interpretor explains that it is a nocturnal market and it opens only after sunset. So they wait. And immediately after sun set, they enter the same house.

A lady, in her 50s, probably the owner or the manager of the place, with one plait of her hair in her hands, asks them to come and sit comfortably on the lavish carpet. She asks them in Punjabi. The interpreter brags much about his command of the language but what he hears is totally unexpected. His face turns pale.

Holmes: What is the matter?

Interpreter: The only translation I can provide is that the lady is asking what we would like to eat. But I know it is not the right question.

Holmes: Ask her for the best that she can offer.

And then they wait and wonder what is this all about. The interpreter tells them that he is frequent visitor but he has never experience anything like this before. And then arrives the lady with a large tray. And there is only one dish. Chapli Kebabs with Roghni Naans. The interpretor, who by now has become sort of a guide, explains that this dish is not native to the city and it is only eaten and served in Peshawar and adjacent parts especially by the Pakhtoons. In fact, the city of Mardan is more famous for it, he explains.

Watson: If Mr. Mujeeb comes here only to eat this dish, then I guess he may belong to Peshawar?

Holmes: My dear Watson, your deduction powers are at peak tonight. Go on.

Watson: I mean why would a man like Mr. Mujeeb, who can afford any restaurant of the city would come here?

They eat while Holmes is busy in his thoughts as usual and not eating.

Watson: What is your guess, Holmes?

Holmes: I never guess. It is a shocking habit - destructive to the logical faculty.

They do not talk much during the rest of their meal.

Holmes: (On their return to hotel) I must admit my friend that the more I try to solve the case, the more intriguing it becomes. There are more half clues but no solution. Now this Peshawar connection. May be we should meet Mr. Mujeeb once again to know about his origins.

Early next morning, Holmes is up and returns from his walk, lilting.

Watson is still in his bed and is awakened by the sun rays coming through the windows which Holmes has just opened.

After breakfast, Watson asks him if he would like to go and explore the city.

Holmes: I am waiting for an email. I would better be in my room.

In the afternoon, the email arrives. 

Holmes: (Jumps in his chair) Look at this Watson.

Watson reads it:

Bovine: No
Canine: No
Equine: No
Feline: No
Porcine: No
Camel: No
Ovine: No
Rabbit: No

And Watson almost fall down when he reads the last line.

Human: Yes

Watson: Holmes, what is this?

Holmes: I woke up early and went to the University of Food Sciences where DNA Testing of food is done routinely. Pretending as an official from WHO, I asked the technician to determine the origin of the food sample, that I took from last night’s meal, on urgent basis and email me the results. And here we are.

Watson: But…

Holmes: Quick Watson. There may be lives at stake.

They rush towards the Neighbourhood where police have already arrived as Holmes have instructed the interpretor to take police to the place. In the kitchen they find a human corpse with limbs amputated.

Watson: Such a gory scene. I have never seen anything like this in my whole life.

Holmes: Grotesque my friend.

They leave the place and move towards the Royal Castle to explore the architecture of the Mughal era and revive the tales of Anarkali.


The End


(P.S. The story is based on folklore but the setting as well as names of people and places have been changed as it took place in a place far away from Lahore. I have included some quotes from the original Sherlock Holmes stories.)

71 comments:

  1. Hello Israr.
    You stumped even me. When I read Part1, my initial assumption was human heart, now I see it is indeed all human...cannibalism no less! LOL - poor Watson!
    Bravo my friend! Brilliantly told, albeit with a gory ending.

    Smiling...I guess I should add "Poet" to your repertoire too after your poetry jam on Princesa Fiona's blog. I knew it was only a matter of time before the sweetness of poetry moved you to become poetic. Now you are fully equipped to woo the lady of your dreams! LOL

    Congratulations fictory (fiction + poetry) friend! The bar has been raised, so I shall expect to see more poetry on these pages (smile)!

    Flower Of India

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    Replies
    1. hahaha... see you always think about Heart and romance... yes poor Watson didnt know what he was eating :)
      thank you for appreciating my posts :) it really means a lot... hahaha... i was thinking that one day i would write some poetry and then see who can remain in the field and who leave it :P

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  2. - poor watson..kahan akey phans gaya. nice story :-P

    keep up the legacy of ACD and DB. ACD+DB= 1/10 MI

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    1. see detective work is not a fancy as they show in the movies :P

      hahaha... wow... ACD and DB are one tenth of me... wow... i wonder what would have been their face expressions had they read this? :P

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  3. read it you are 1/10th of ACD and DB. :-P

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    1. oooooh... i thought i am 10x of them :(

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  4. - and did you take this picture? what were you doing there in heera mandi??????

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    1. picture is courtesy google...as i dont have a cam phone so how could i ? and i never visited the area although i want to visit this cooco's den :)

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  5. haha just as I guessed it already! you should thank me ISrar for not spoiling the end :P

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    1. yup you guessed right...10/10 for you :)

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    2. and yes thank you for not spoiling the end :)

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  6. Ha ha that sure was an interesting read! :) Expect to read more of it.

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    1. thank you very much for reading and liking it :) lets hope i can write more :)

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  7. Just read the previous post and this. Interesting mix of folklore and Sherlock holmes! Nice read as usual! :)

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    1. ahan..i thought you would miss this one as you were not there on part1...i am glad you did come and read it :) thank you

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  8. from last part's end.. today it just leading to it.. suspense was all last week.. now could guess from the start:)
    What imagination you have Israr! great!

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    Replies
    1. well...i was thinking that it ended last week as everybody would guess it...but since there were many people who were not familiar with the folklore here so i thought i should extend it into part2 although i never writes in parts :) thank you for liking it :)

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  9. And the suspense is cracked! I think Sherlock Holmes Part I and II are among my favorites of your posts! Again I say...this time the devil out of the khali khopri has really rocked the stage! I really enjoyed some of the descriptions too...nice narration and dialoguing!
    Expecting more from you Israr! You have terrific imagination:)

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    1. yes finally its cracked... and i am glad that you liked it so much :) hahaha...khali khopri devil...hahahaha... its so wonderful to receive such great comments from such an accomplished writer :)

      i am glad you appreciate my imagination... hopefully something comes into the khali khopri :P

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  10. mohammad... really? and what might you be doing in heera mandi? seriously don't answer that:O :P

    good work, as always:)

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    Replies
    1. hahaha... well i never went there..but someday i would love to visit this restaurant and will write a post on my visit :P
      thank you for reading and liking it :)

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    2. oh 19 years of living in Lahore and i have never seen the Lahore fort or the badshahi mosque from the inside. top that:D

      and i'd look fwd to that. you're a different writer than almost anyone i know. its exquisite:)

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    3. so why dont you go to Lahore Fort of Badshahi mosque? these are the places to visit especially on a sunday afternoon these days :)

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    4. ahan... you mean almost everyone is a writer and i am not? :P i try to learn from all of what you people post on your blogs... it is a good experience and very useful for me :)

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    5. actually its at the other end of lahore and i live on one end. used to.

      oh no, i don't mean that at all:) i mean you write intellectually and not emotionally. which is good. actually its awesome. it makes me laugh almost always:)

      and i don't buy that. i think you've got a great mind of your own and its not influenced by many people. but that's what i get from what you write. i could be wrong, though:)

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    6. hahaha... i too live on the other end of lahore... if you can call it lahore... :)

      thank you... you are yourself such an awesome writer that my scripts pale in front of yours...

      no...what i meant was k like reading and interacting with such great people like you, different ideas come into mind and one can write more fluently... yes it cant be influenced but yet one can learn a lot :)

      Delete
  11. That was a brilliant END and now i must say that you should take this serious and write something more and do published that and than give me one copy of that with your autograph ;):)
    EXCELLENT, MARVELOUS, SUPER DOPER !!!

    Although m not that much good in English but i found a spelling mistake 1st para 2nd last line :P " may b i am wrong coz my vocabulary is not that much strong

    and the DNA test you mention shows a mind of scientist behind the screen ;) see my wrist watch on right hand does works :D

    i really enjoyed every part especially the chapli kbab in lahore :P


    keep writing and sharing :P
    add more and more colrz to THE MAGNETIC MISTERIO'S VIDA BLOG :)

    BEST WISHES :)

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    1. hahahaha... yes yes i will publish it and you will be the only one to read that book because that will be free or else nobody would buy it :P

      i am glad you are introduced to sherlock holmes after all :)

      yes there was a mistake...thanks for pointing it out.. it has been rectified now... :)

      yes that is the power of DNA :) one can do anything with it :)

      hahaha... chapli kabab in lahore..i think nobody would eat it in lahore after reading this :P

      keep reading and commenting... and people are waiting for your post and also kiran so be ready :)

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  12. Wonderful finale to the mystery.
    BTW I recognized only one quote from the original-"I never guess. It is a shocking habit - destructive to the logical faculty". Guess my memory isn't as good as it was :( Anyway had a good t50e reading. Thank you for sharing :)

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    1. thanks for reading and appreciating...

      there is another.. "

      To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces."

      although i have not read any of the books so i do not have much idea about the original quotes but i have watched the movies so ... and i thought maybe i have used some half sentences and phrases borrowed from the original so it is better to inform the readers or else they would think that i have plagiarized :)

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  13. aaaah!!! was all that came out when i came to the end
    tumhare imagination ki daadh deni padegi :)
    par kaash tum poor watson ko yeh na khilate!

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    1. hahaha... i am glad you appreciated it that much :) yes daad wasool hogyi hai :)

      but he was hungry and he didnt know it was human meat so he ate it unknowingly just like Mr.Mujeed was eating it all the time unknowingly :)

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  14. This is fascinating stuff for those of us - like me - to whom it is all new. Keep it coming, please!

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    1. i am glad you liked it...and yes i guess it was based on folklore so you may not have knowledge about it although i find you vastly knowledgeable... :)

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  15. OMG, I did not expect that ending. Its time for us to embrace vegan dishes, I guess! These things are shocking.

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    1. hahahah... do not worry... you can eat chicken :) but home-based food should be the top priority for all of us :)

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  16. Your creativities are flowing so swiftly! Your posts are always an interesting and good-read.

    The ending is wrapped up nicely. :)

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    1. haha...balqis the poetess :) it is due to the company that keep that makes me creative :) and i am thankful to all of you my bloggers friends from whom i have learnt immensely :)

      thank you for liking it :)

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  17. I like the way you penned all this. :) Good read :)

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    1. thank you for liking and reading it :) much appreciated :)

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  18. Part II was a marvelous ending for the mysterious nature of Part I. As Dave said, it is all new to some of us, and therefore it is extremely exotic. You give the perfect amount of details to give a living-breathing-taste-touch-feel (holding a plait of her hair in her hand, oh that is marvelous) impression of the places and people. The end was horrifying and you absolutely shocked me with it.

    I think, Muhammad, that you are a fine playwriter. You could do scripts for the movies. It seems to all come naturally for you!

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    1. Thank you for coming back to read part2 :)

      yes i guessed it that may be you people would find it something new... and i am glad you liked it :)
      haha... yes i shall do scripts for movies when you will start producing them :)

      thank you again and keep reading and commenting :)

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  19. Superb

    The part 2 was more interesting
    but i will not eat chapli kebabs anymore especially that of Lahore.

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    1. hahaha... dont worry you can eat it in buner :)

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  20. neat writeup and diamonds enhance it and happy new year to u israr....

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    1. thank you for reading and liking it :)

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  21. I like your writing and the ending was - err, shocking but good ;-)

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, it really made me smile (I'm rather happy with my name) and I have to say that I too like Hercule ;-)

    Have a great evening xo

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    1. Welcome to our blog...

      thanks for reading and liking it :)

      yes it is shocking but not everything in life is pleasant so :)

      hahahaha... and i am sure you would have the brain like hercules too :)

      have a great weekend :)

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  22. You are quite a writer. Intriguing I love how history and culture is woven through the story. Loved how Holmes sitting on the building observed people. That was my favourite pastime when I was young. Anyway great writing. Was a bit surprised about the ending

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    1. wow..so much praise for my writings.. *blush* :)

      so at least you can relate to holmes in some ways... and i think i am very weak at observing people :(

      yes the end was surprising but it had to be that way...
      thank you for reading and liking my posts :)

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  23. Israr! you are becoming a super manufaturer of mystery story with lot of suspense and fun.
    I went through both parts; found a lot of story but "phajay dey pai" believed to be very delicious.
    I enjoyed the whole story.

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    1. thank you very much... your comments are much valued :)

      i never wrote any stories so i thought maybe i should give it a try... i am glad you people liked it :)

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    2. are you familiar with phajay key pai in the diamond market?
      I hear a lot about it. I heard nawaz sharif loved the dish.
      Shame on me being a Lahori I never tried them but now when I am abroad I do have the craving.

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    3. i thought nawaz sharif used to visit gawalmandi? siri paye? for his breakfast... no i have not eaten phajey key pai... :( now that you have said, i should eat these :)

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    4. hahaha..so you still want to eat chapli kabab at DM? :P

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  24. Omg i was like yum chapli kabab one moment then ewwww felt like puking...
    Nice story though, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson stuck in Lahore... Lol, i was always liked Dr. Watson better.. :P

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    1. OMG: you are talking about chapli kabab; so mouth watering with hot chillies!

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    2. dont worry i think chapli kabab in karachi will not be like these :P

      i am glad you liked the story and since you are familiar with the original so you can make sense of this one easily :)

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  25. oh my watson ..

    first time here and i must say bad of me i did not come to this blog earlier , missed some good posts ..

    Bikram's

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    1. welcome to our blog...

      i am glad you read and liked it :) keep coming back :)

      Delete
  26. Israr2
    i again too much late, sorry 4 that bt u know glti wapda ki he... anyway u have become such an excelent writer that a person who's Eng. is not much better cant understand ur misterious ideas prperly

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    1. its no problem...yes wapda is everywhere these days :) i am glad you appreciated it... oh come on...you are very good at english and i know you understood everything :)

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  27. Ur imagination powe is quite high.... u have been successful to maintain the suspense through out the story... great piece of fiction, keeo it up... i have decided that i shuold read only n not write cz log ab hmari posts ko psand nhi kren ge i think..p

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    1. i am glad you liked it... and its good that i was able to maintain the suspense... :) no you must write posts because everybody asking about why kiran is not writing?

      Delete
  28. It's freezing cold yea? :) But then when the rains come, you can't help but soak yourself in it :P
    Read your posts after long. Your narration is amazing. As usual :D

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    1. thank you for your kind words... yes rain comes and soaks but still im shivering by the thought of it :)

      Delete
  29. Replies
    1. Welcome....

      thank you for reading and liking it :)

      Delete
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