” Jaggu Mutt and the Jasoos Gang ”
The White Chaddar Bhoot Uncle Case.(Starring: JagdishChandra Mutt a.k.a. Jaggu, Pappu, Phoolsakhi, Salma & Chacha Chaurasia.)
“What a relief. Thank God the exams are over!”, exclaimed Salma with a ear to ear to grin. “Kya hua, guys? Why the long face? How did you fare in today’s paper?, she asked out of concern.
“Well if the professor can understand my hand-writing, the only thing I correctly wrote was my name on that paper. Lagta hai I’ll score in single digits again.” said a dejected Phoolsakhi.
“Choddo guys, no point in crying over the exams now. What has to happen will happen. Let’s rejoice now, we have a 3 months vacation ahead of us now. Let’s plan what we want to do there.” Pappu intervened.
Phoolsakhi’s eyes lit up at the thought of the summer holidays and a flurry of ideas immediately followed, “Arrey, awesome idea aaya. Let’s go to Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh, maybe Shimla on the way as well. It will be great fun.”
“There she goes again”, Salma rolled her eyes.
Pappu playing the peace-maker again cut her off before she could say something nasty. “Phoolsakhi, ideas to sahi hain. But I think it’s a little out of my budget.”
“Arrey, what’s a few hundred rupees between friends yaar. Just tell me na, I’ll make up for what we are short of.” she beamed.
“It’s not a few hundred rupees your highness. You see, your dear Pappu is as always broke, and I don’t think his dad is any mood to fund his Pan-India trip. Get real yaar.” Salma said providing a reality check yet again.
“Fine let’s hear you come up with a better idea, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.” Phoolsakhi retorted.
“Why, thank you! I happen to have an excellent plan in mind. You see, the ruins an ancient civilization were discovered last month in a village in Maharashtra. I think we should definitely check it out. It’s both fun and intellectually stimulating.” she said adjusting her spectacles.
“No offense Salma, but not everyone here wants to be an archaeologist.” Pappu jibed.
“Well at least I know what I’m going to do after I graduate.” she arrogantly said.
“Yes yes, Madam. You’re the next Nobel laureate. See guys, no point arguing here. My dad has already decided how I am to spend the next 3 months.”
“Haww, you didn’t tell me you had plans for the vacation Pappu.” said a shocked Phoolsakhi.
“I’m afraid I do. My dad wants me to visit my uncle in Mumbai and help him run his business. You see he’s convinced I’m going to do nothing with my life.” sighed Pappu.
“Take me with you Pappu. I don’t want to spend the whole vacation apart from you.” Phoolsakhi said in a filmi tone.
“Ahem”, coughed Salma.
“Well I meant apart from you guys….What yaar Salma don’t twist my words like this!” she blushed.
“Well I guess our dear Phoolsakhi here has made up her mind to go with you Pappu. Do you think it’s okay if we came along with you to Mumbai?”, Salma questioned.
“Really? That would be awesome guys. Trust me we’ll have a great time. My Chacha is a really great fellow and he’s one of the richest Paan-walas in Mumbai. He’ll make sure we enjoy ourselves.” Pappu said with child-like excitement.
“Yayyyyyyyyyy, We’re all going to Mumbai!” they exclaimed as they hugged.
After a day of begging, coaxing and pleading, Pappu managed to convince his father to let his friends accompany him to Mumbai. The next morning they took the first Garib Rath out of the city and after a short 30 hour ride, they arrived in the city of dreams – Mumbai.
“Wowwwww! Such an awesome place yaar. Look at the size of the station and those shiny new purple trains. This was a great idea Pappu.” Phoolsakhi hugged Pappu who obviously didn’t mind the unexpected affection.
“Yes yes, big station, new trains and what not. Welcome to the most populated and polluted city in the country.” Salma giggled.
“Chal na Salma, lets try to be optimistic for once. By the way where is my uncle?” Pappu said, craning his neck to get a clear view of the entrance to the station.
Suddenly Phoolsakhi shrieked at the top of her voice. Pappu and Salma turned in shock and saw Phoolsakhi running for a life as she was chased by a little brown dog. Pappu and Salma followed in pursuit.
“Arrey someone catch my dog.” a voice called out.
Salma increased her pace and managed to catch the mischievous little canine as Pappu attended to a dazed and scared Phoolsakhi.
“Thank you medumm for catching my dog. Actually, the leash slipped out of my hands. Very sorry again.” said the middle-aged, mustached man flashing his paan-stained teeth at Salma.
“Er…it’s okay Uncle…” Salma said.
Pappu turned at point and exclaimed in recognition. “Arrey Chacha…how are you.?” he said to the same man who now had the leash firmly in his hands.
“That’s your Uncle?” Salma asked in shock.
“And that’s HIS dog?” said an equally shocked Phoolsakhi.
“Chill out guys. This is Chacha Chaurasia, my uncle. You didn’t tell me you had a dog, Chacha.”
“Oh yes, I found this little fellow in a basket on my doorstep last month which said, ‘Take care of my little nephew, Jaggu…..Signed R.Mutt….P.S. He’s always hungry!”. But he’s a really smart fellow you know. You saw how he recognized your friend and ran to her?” Chacha proudly said.
“Yes very smart and very friendly. I’m sure he’ll go to college one day.” Salma whispered to Phoolsakhi as they walked to the exit.
Chacha turned to the giggling girls and Pappu and said, “Chalo baccho, let’s go home.” as he hailed a taxi.
After a short ride that didn’t seem so short after all thanks to the ubiquitous traffic jams in Mumbai, the taxi turned to the lane in which Chacha’s shop was. Jaggu sensing that he was in familiar territory again stuck his head out of the window. But the next moment he let out a flurry of ferocious barks. Chacha and the gang were confused by Jaggu’s strange sudden outburst. As the taxi came to a halt, they alighted and stare open-mouthed at what lay before them.
“What the…..” was all a shocked Pappu managed to utter as he stared in disbelief at Chacha’s battered and desecrated shop.
“Main loot gaya, barbaad ho gaya!” Chacha wailed while slapping his forehead.
“Be Brave Chacha.” Pappu and Phoolsakhi tried to calm him down but Chacha was inconsolable.
Salma moved in and knelt down to closely to examine the mess. As she was rummaging through the debris Jaggu started barking again.
“What is it, boy?” Salma turned to him. Jaggu, being the super intelligent dog that he is, had found something important. Salma patted him on the head as she picked up a rock which had a note stuck to it. She carefully straightened the crumpled up paper and read what it said.
“Leave the city right away. Or else…..” it read in red letters.
“Oh my god, it’s a blood note.” Phoolsakhi shrieked before her knees buckled. Pappu by reflex caught her before she fell.
“Make her smell Chacha’s shoe or something Pappu. It’s nothing but red ink. I presume one of those cheap Chinese highlighting pens.” Salma said matter-of-factly.
“What is the meaning of this? Who did this and why did they do this? I don’t understand what’s going on.” Chacha weeped.
“Take Chacha and Phoolsakhi to the house, Pappu. Me and Jaggu will look for more clues.” Salma said.
“You and me will get to the bottom of this Jaggu.” Salma said. Jaggu barked in approval and wagged his tail.
It was night time at Chacha’s house. Chacha Chaurasia had finally retired to his room after what had been a long day. The gang too, was getting ready to sleep.
“Good night guys.” Salma said as she switched the lights off.
Suddenly a crashing noise was heard from Chacha’s room.
“Must be Jaggu.” Pappu yawned.
The next instant Chacha was heard screaming, “Bachao Bhoot!”
The gang quickly rushed to his room and saw a figure clad in a white sheet trying to escape from the window. Jaggu pounced at him and managed to lock his jaws on the white sheet. The ‘ghost’ somehow managed to escape, but not before Jaggu managed to rip some of the cloth off.
As Salma switched the lights on she discovered. “LEAVE THE CITY RIGHT NOW. THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING.” painted on the wall in bold red pan-stains.
“Something is very strange here.” she remarked scratching her chin.
“Of course something is wrong. Some aatma is upset with me. I must leave the city immediately. Let’s take the first train out of here. Laloo decreased the Garib Rath fares anyway.” Chacha panicked.
“This is no ghost guys. Look at that piece of cloth Jaggu managed to rip off.” she said as she handed the tattered cloth to Pappu.
“100% Cotton….Made in Dadar?” he read the tag and smiled.
“You see what I mean Pappu.” Salma smiled.
“Crystal clear Salma. Chacha, we’ll get to the bottom of this. Even if it means that they kill….you.” Pappu resolved.
“That’s more like Pappu.” Salma and Phoolsakhi hi-fived. Jaggu jumped into Phoolsakhi’s arms and started wagging his tail.
“I have a plan, guys. But I’ll need all of you to help me. Are you with me?” asked Salma.
“Yes!” they all said in unison. Jaggu too barked in approval.
“Okay here’s the deal……………Got it?”, Salma explained the plan.
(Note – Dots used to keep master plan secret. Curious no? Read the next chapter… )
Chacha and the gang spent an anxious day at the shop, but nothing out of the ordinary happened.
“This is the calm before the storm. I can sense oncoming danger, kids.” Chacha warned.
“Don’t worry Chacha. We have this one covered.” Pappu reassured.
As the sun set, the gang wrapped up for the day and headed home. Once home they sat down to discuss the details of their plan once again.
“I expect the ghost to strike again the same time in the night Pappu. You’ll have to sleep in Chacha’s room tonight.” Salma explained.
“Nahi! What if something happens to you Pappu?” Phoolsakhi went filmi yet again.
“Don’t worry. They won’t make a single baal baaka.” Pappu replied in an equally filmi manner.
“So set na? That’s how we’ll do it then!” said Salma.
“All right.” said Pappu as he comforted a weeping Phoolsakhi.
As the clock inched closer to midnight the tension was rising. Chacha tried everything from Pranayam to prayer beads but was still a nervous wreck. Phoolsakhi on the other hand played the distressed damsel to perfection. Salma with Jaggu by her side were the only calm ones. Finally the clock struck twelve and everyone held their breath.
“Here we go.” said Salma.
An eerie silence prevailed in the house. Suddenly, the lights went out and Pappu was heard screaming from the other room. The gang rushed to his rescue and found him lying hog-tied on his back screaming hysterically at something on the ceiling.
Salma looked up in and exclaimed, “Oh dear God!”
“My eyes, eyes!” yelled Pappu at the life-sized poster of Shakti Kapoor in a bikini.
Phoolsakhi quickly covered his eyes and started to untie him.
At that very moment, Chacha was heard yelling “Bachao bachao…Bhoot”.
Salma ran to the other room, Phoolsakhi and Pappu followed soon after. The same figure in the white chaddar was holding a knife to Chacha’s neck.
“If you move any closer, I’ll make chop your Chacha’s head off!” the figure yelled.
“Please don’t harm Chacha. We’ll do anything you want.” Pappu pleaded.
“I’m not letting him go that easily. Get all the money and valuables and put them into this.” he said throwing another white bed-sheet at Pappu.
Pappu headed to Chacha’s room to get the money and just as Phoolsakhi started to follow him, the figure screamed, “Wait, just this guy will get the booty. The girls will remain here and entertain me. Muhahahaha. Oye ladki, koi item number lagaa.”
Phoolsakhi shivered as she played Himesh’s rendition of ‘Mehbooba’ on loudspeaker mode on her shiny Sony Ericsson.
“Nacho!!” the evil villain demanded.
Just as the girls started to get jiggy with it a loud thud was heard. The villain fell to his knees and then finally collapsed. The girls stared in disbelief at Jaggu who brandished a lead pipe.
“Jagguuuuu!! My hero” Phoolsakhi hugged him.
“Hey what the….what did I miss?” Pappu came running from the other room.
Salma hurried towards the villain in the white chaddar. “Go get the rope you were tied with Pappu. Chacha help me hold this villain down. Phoolsakhi call the Police….the number is 100 just in case you forget.” she instructed.
In a little while, the cops arrived (after the action had ended obviously). The inspector walked towards the ‘ghost’ who was now gagged tied to a chair facing a wall with the Shakti Kapoor poster pasted on it.
“Kanoon ko apne haat me mat lo, kids. We’ll take it from here.” the cop said peeling the poster off the wall. “Lets unmask Bhoot Uncle shall we?”
He took off the chaddar and gasped in disbelief, “Oh my God! Kulkarni-Saheb?”
“Who’s that?” a confused Phoolsakhi asked.
“That’s P.K. Kulkarni, winner of the all-India politician hunt ‘Bleed India’.” Salma informed.
“Saheb why did you do this?” the inspector asked.
“To get publicity for my new party SMS – The Super Maniac Sena. I wanted to scare and drive away all the rich North Indians from the city and I would have got away with it if it wasn’t for these pesky kids and their stupid dog!” he angrily said.
“Too bad, Saheb. I’m afraid we’ll have to take you to the Police Station, charge you with a few sections of the IPC and then fine you with a small fortune. But God promise, we’ll let you go after that!” the inspector said.
“You’ll do no such thing officer! Take this man to jail right away!” the gang warned.
“Okay okay, just don’t report this to Aaj Tak!” he said as they took PK away.
“Thank you baccho. If it wasn’t for you, God knows what would have happened!” said a relieved Chacha Chaurasia.
“If you want to thank anyone, thank Jaggu, Chachaji. He was the real hero.” said Phoolsakhi.
“Hey where is Jaggu?” asked Salma.
Suddenly Phoolsakhi screamed, “Ahhhhhhh!! Ghost Ghost!!”
The gang stared in disbelief as a smaller figure in the same bed-sheet moved towards them. Right then, a familiar bark was heard. It was none other than Jaggu under the sheet.
“Ohh Jaggu you’re a real prankster!” they all laughed in relief.
Jaggu winked at the girls and wagged his tail proudly. In true filmi fashion yet again, they group-hugged.
“Three cheers to Jaggu and the Jasoos Gang!” exclaimed Chacha!
“Hip-Hip-Hurray!” they all jubilantly screamed thrice.
(Whatay Clichéd ending no?)