The Investigation Part I A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy The Chief of the private security bureau could not guess what kind of assignment the plain-looking woman was going to entrust to him. Soon after the names were exchanged the lady blurted out: “Investigation. A thorough investigation is what I want. And that too right now.” “Sure. But we need to know the full background before we can accept the assignment. Please don’t hold back any information from us.” Rekha started to talk. Nobody forced her to become the second wife of Bollywood’s super-hero Raj. When he proposed to her, she was only confused. She sought her best friend Asha’s counsel. "See this picture Rekha. She is your hero's first wife. See the figure. Can you hope to hold a candle to this gorgeous creature? She is Bollywood’s top heroine. Worth several crores. Do you think any man in his senses would divorce this woman to marry someone like you? I am not clear about his intentions." Rekha looked at her puny body and unattractive face and decided to say a firm no to Raj. But when Raj held her hands in the semi darkness of Hotel Taj and whispered sweet nothings to her and asked her hand in marriage Rekha simply melted and buried her face in his shoulders. Some thing in his eyes and the way he talked broke through all the defences that Rekha had built around her. She was married to Raj the next week. Rekha then talked about the present crisis. She repeated every word in the gossip column of the weekly she held in her hand: ‘This bird has reliable news that Raj has renewed his connections with his ex, the sexy heroine. What else could he do? His last two movies were flops and he is reeling in debt. Perhaps he thinks that by going again with his first wife he could get back the luck of his olden days! We only pity the hero's present wife, a simple looking simpleton who is just a housewife - that is - his wife only when he is in the house!' Though it was extraneous for the investigation Rekha could not help expressing her fears. Suppose Raj makes up with his ex-wife Neha and decide to unite again in life, leaving Rekha in the lurch! She will have sufficient money, no doubt. But she will have to remain alone for the rest of her life? For who will marry an average woman like her and that too after knowing that a celebrity like Raj had divorced her? What Rekha said was only one side of the story. The other side could come only from Raj. And had he been present there, his version would have been completely different: Raj was tired of the dazzling beauties of the film-world and was looking for a homely girl when his eyes chanced upon Rekha. Her plain looks and her feminine pride in not falling for his looks attracted him. After marriage Raj poured all his love and affection on Rekha. On the wedding night Raj gifted her a sparkling diamond necklace. They had an exotic honeymoon at Switzerland. For a while Rekha was smothered in love and costly presents. Raj used to come home for supper everyday. They would eat together talking about the happenings of the day. Raj would enquire about her day making her feel that her day as a housewife was as important as his as a film star. After dinner Raj would hold Rekha’s hands and continue to talk about so many things in life; the book he had read recently, the story which he was shooting at present, the whims of his Director and so on. He would also listen to whatever Rekha had to say. The trouble started when Raj offered to take Rekha along for outdoor shootings. Rekha who had nothing to do in the mornings insisted on visiting the shooting spot and there lied the problem. She was not used to the ways of the tinsel world. She could not bear to see the heroine holding her husband tight and kissing him right on his lips. Nor could she tolerate the women artists holding Raj’s hand while talking to him. She could not digest the filmi- style of relationships where the glamorous heroines greeted Raj by kissing him even though they were off-camera. When they were left alone Raj would take pains to explain: "Rekha, Bollywood is a world in itself having its own rules. This is a field where men and women work together in close contact, day and night. Given the circumstances nobody is above board. I don’t say I am pure. I have had so many women in the past. But those days are all over. Today even if the bikini-clad heroine is lying on my lap I don't feel a thing, because I am so used to it and it’s part of my job. But you might find it odd. If you are uncomfortable you need not come to the spot, dear. " "Then you can freely fool around with those buxom creatures. That's what you want, right?" Raj would smile in exasperation.