The sun had traveled quite some distance into the sky when i realized that i am wearing a pair of faded brown panties. In the morning when i dressed, i mistook them to be my magenta pair of briefs and happily wore them, only feeling a tad more comfortable and snug. . . what the hell, it must be because it's shrunk, i thought, and came to the office.
Once home, a detailed scrutiny revealed that they did not belong to my wife, and as far as I could remember, i had not been divesting women of any faded brown panties in the recent past . . . so the mystery deepened.
Searching for possible causes and clues, i worked back to where i picked these panties up from. They were in my backpack, which had recently traveled to Kerala with me, and to Calcutta before that. i remember having emptied the contents after the Calcutta trip, and . . . well . . . things got fuzzy after this much of thinking and i gave up. Made myself a strong vodka, removed the panties, folded them and kept them under my pillow. And went off to sleep.
In my dream i took them out from under the pillow and sniffed at them once, but i strongly insist that it was just in the dream. They smelt kind of nice, faintly of some talcum powder and Surf excel, I think. Smells from a dream are not very trustworthy, you know.
The next morning they were still there, under my pillow, probably smirking at my bewilderment. The only person i can go to when I am bewildered is my wife. She was not around, but despite knowing that this is a sensitive issue, I could not help calling her up. So i called up my wife and told her about the mystery, and after some heated discussion for about half an hour (oh my STD bills!!), finally convinced her that i was not to be held responsible for the sudden appearance of this thing in my life. The solution, she said, was to get some sniffer dogs do the job for me, and as going to the police would mess up things a bit, we decided that i should contact a private detective.
Now sleuths, no matter how charismatic and intelligent they appear in those stories and films, can be rather painful in real life, as I discovered to my utter chagrin when i went the next day to "black label detective agency (we trace the owner of those panties in your husband's pocket)". The uncanny statement within parentheses made me wriggle a little in those panties (oh shit, i was wearing them again almost by inertia), and a shiver went through my spine.
Finding out the place itself thoroughly tested my garbled sense of local geography, and after having met the fat, bald, suited, sweaty-palmed private investigator VD ("as in the disease" he insisted) Gupta, my hopes of this mystery being solved were dashed forever. But wife's instructions were not to be ignored, so i accepted the seat he offered, and stared blankly at VD's yellow teeth for a while, before i finally started speaking.
"Interesting, umm, very intriguing indeed" said VD after I finished. And slipped into what seemed like a deep thought for about ten minutes, at the end of which he said "can I see the object?"
"What object?" i was definitely puzzled, not familiar with detective jargon, only to realize that he was talking about the "object" in question. I explained that there was a technical problem, as I was wearing them at that moment. He promptly sorted out the problem by suggesting that I remove them in the toilet and hand them over to him. So done, VD scrutinized the object at length, which also involved a bout of sniffing (with knotted eyebrows) and asked me to leave the object with him. I came home, thinking I should have asked him about his fees.
Back in the office, I saw Aniket waiting for me. Aniket is this fat, black moustache with a man attached to it.
"Umm, err...can you give me the keys to your place?" he asked, looking rather sheepish.
"Why, sure! You wanna spend tonight at my place again? No problem. But why now? Can't we go together after office?"
"I ... well ... umm ... but, can you gimme the keys? I left some of my stuff in your backpack last night."
After that incident, Aniket never came to my place to watch football. And I discovered that panties are costlier than men’s briefs. But I don’t mind spending that extra buck.