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Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Bizzy-Buddy Mysteries

The Bizzy-Buddy Mysteries appeared in serial form almost ten years ago in Chatterbox, a wonderful magazine for kids which had to close down, sadly.

Readers enjoyed them a lot. But what does a writer do with magazine stories after they've appeared? Sometimes they can be published as a book. But often it takes some time to find a publisher. I thought it might be a good idea to share these stories with readers via my blog. Hope you enjoy them!




THE CASE OF THE MISSING POP STAR


“See this?” Fattu waved something in front of Bizzy’s face. There was a triumphant grin on his broad, self-satisfied face.

“How can I, when you’re waving it at supersonic speed?” Bizzy snapped. She couldn’t stand Fattu. The class pest, he was always bragging and showing off. That’s why he’d been nicknamed Fattu.

“Show me!” Her twin Buddy reached out and grabbed Fattu’s hand.

“Careful!” Fattu shrieked. “You might tear it!”

“What is it, for God’s sake?” Bizzy said. “A million dollar note?”

“Well, almost as precious,” Fattu smirked, laying down the green slip of paper before her on the desk. “It’s a ticket to the Lassi show—you know—Mast Mast Lassi! A thousand rupee one, in case you haven’t noticed.” His eyes glittered with smug delight.

Bizzy bit down her fury. The Lassi show! Her favourite pop star, he was having a show right here in Delhi in a couple of days. And she had no chance of going while this creep...But before she could react, she heard the sound of chairs being scraped back. An instantaneous hush followed telling her that the teacher had arrived. She hurriedly got to her feet along with the rest of the students.

“Oh, what wouldn’t I give to go to the Lassi show!” Bizzy cried.

“How about selling your precious diamond ring!” Buddy teased.

“Creep!” Bizzy threw a pencil at him.

They were back from school, holed up in Buddy’s room, trying to finish off their homework. Though they had separate rooms they always studied together. And invariably in Buddy’s room which always had each and everything in place unlike Bizzy’s horribly messy one.

Even though they were twins, twelve-year-old Bizzy and Buddy were quite different to look at, being fraternal and not identical twins. Bizzy was taller, skinny as a bamboo stick with a mop of curly hair always falling into her eyes. Chunky-built Buddy was exactly twenty-three minutes younger and much he resented it. He had inquisitive black eyes, which shone brightly behind his glasses. A natural snoop, he could never keep his small, sharp nose out of anything.

Their actual names were Vasundhara and Vardeshwar. But an aunt whom they had been visiting when they were just two and a half had exclaimed, “What a pair of busybodies!” as she watched them scramble all over the place, peering into cupboards, pulling stuff out of drawers. “They should be called Busy and Body.” These had somehow turned into Bizzy and Buddy and now hardly anyone knew their real names any more!

“Well, it’s no use moaning and howling,” Buddy said, catching the pencil. “You know we can’t. I’d never dream of asking Dad or Ma to shell out a thousand bucks for a show. Even if it is Lassi himself.”

“Well I wouldn’t either!” Bizzy shot back. “But I do want to go, yaar. Terribly.”

“I told you it’s no use, so will you kindly shut up!” Buddy said. “I want to finish my maths homework.”

Bizzy made a face. Buddy was too down to earth. She stared down at her social studies book but her mind was far away...

Distractedly she listened to her mother talking on the phone in the next room. “Accha,” she heard her say. “So Gautam’s company is doing the Lassi show…”

Something whirred in Bizzy’s mind. “Gautam bhaiya!” she screamed suddenly, making Buddy jump.

“What do you mean, Gautam bhaiya?” He frowned.

“Gautam bhaiya! Did you hear? The company he’s working for--it’s organising the show. He could get us passes…maybe.”

“Passes…hunh!” Buddy frowned again. “Forget it! A hundred million people must have asked him already.”

“Come on, yaar! Don’t be such a bore. By the way…I remember seeing their office address in the paper. It’s at Vasant Place. That’s practically next door! Come on!”

The office of Star Track Pvt. Ltd. was awhirl with frantic activity. Buddy looked sulky. Bizzy had practically dragged him there. But now that he was here, the excitement grabbed him too. The whole place throbbed with it. People scurrying around, phones ringing nonstop, piles of posters lying around. He picked one up. THE ONE AND ONLY MAST MAST LASSI! it said, with a huge photograph of the pop star dressed in his favourite colours, black and silver. Below, in smaller letters was written, ‘Also Dilruba Makki in a special appearance’.

“Gautam?” A young girl said in reply to Bizzy’s question. “He’s in the next room.”

Gautam bhaiya had always been one of their favourite cousins. Lean, lanky, with a smile always splitting his face, he was staring hard at a computer screen.

He started up. “Hey, you two! What’re you doing here?”

“Came to see what was happening with the Lassi show.” Bizzy’s smile was wide.

“Whewooo—big excitement. See, I was just checking the arrangements. He’s flying down from Bombay—“

“Where’s he staying?” Buddy asked.

“We’ve got bookings in three hotels.”

“Three hotels!”

“Yes,” his voice sank to a whisper. “This is top secret. He’s in big danger. It’s a marvel that he agreed to this show. We’ve booked in three hotels so no one can be sure where he’s staying.”

“B-but why?”

“Some underworld don, I can’t tell you his name, is miffed at him. He refused to perform at his son’s wedding. They say he’s given out a supari contract.”

“Oh no!” Bizzy felt goose pimples prickle her skin. “I must say it’s very brave of him to come.”

“Brave! I bet he’s getting big money,” Buddy scoffed.

“You won’t believe what we’re paying him. And we’ve got unbelievable security around, too, besides his own personal bodyguard. But we’re expecting to do pretty well ourselves too. The tickets are all sold out.” He stopped and looked at them. “Say…you kids looking for passes?” He frowned. “I’ll see what I can do. There are big demands from important people. If …I can’t get you any, I promise I’ll at least arrange for you to meet him, get his autograph. I’m the one who’s supposed to be personally taking care of him.”

“Oh, that’ll be too wonderful! When’s he arriving?” Bizzy asked.

“Tonight, by one of the late night flights. The show’s just tomorrow.”

“Right,” Buddy said.

“Tell you what. I have to be there at the hotel tomorrow again at eight. If you can and if you want to come along then, you could. It’ll be the only chance, actually. The rest of the day will be crazy with the press and all coming.”

“Of course we can!” Bizzy bounded up. “Tomorrow’s Saturday. No school.”

”I’ll pick you up at quarter past seven, then, okay? Be ready.”

“Ohhhh! Thanks Gautam bhaiya! Thanks so much!” Bizzy gave him a big hug.

What happens next? Wait till tomorrow to find out!


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