My entire childhood was spent reading detective stories, and analyzing and dissecting them. I was one of those people who reads a book halfway through, then, after they can’t contain the suspense, reads the last page to know who did it, and then goes back to reading the book again, in a saner frame of mind. Yes, that is terrible, I know, but well, I really could not help it. I was too much of a thinker, I guess, and it would drive me batty not knowing who did it.
From Agatha Christie to Feluda to Byomkesh to Hukakashi, my life revolved around stories of death, disaster, murder and suspense. I never really was a discriminating reader – I read indiscreetly, in English, Hindi and Bengali, and scoured local libraries for more.
So, when Kolkata Bloggers asked the question – who is your favorite detective, imagine my chagrin. I was stumped finally, clean bowled. How can you choose a favorite, when you have so many?
Let’s talk a few of my Bengali favorites, shall we? Apart from loving Feluda (who didn’t as a child?), and Byomkesh Bakshi (watching him on TV was an added bonus – Rajit Kapoor was so amazingly perfect in that role!), my other favorites were Jayanta-Manik (because they were adventurous), and Kiriti Ray (Nihar Ranjan Gupta). I was an eternal lover of people who would be on the wrong side of the law – sympathizing with the villain, so naturally, I fell in love with Kalo Bhromor, the villain in Nihar Ranjan Gupta’s epic novel with the same name. Somehow I also ended up liking the eternally helpless Krishna, who never really got to finish her BA I guess, thanks to the number of times she got abducted by the evil villain, with whom she shared an incredible chemistry, to say the very least. I used to think that in the next book I would see the two get married or something, so I would keep on reading more.
But, then again, I digress. Liking the detective genre is one thing, but loving a single person? Well, that happens too. Of course – Sherlock Holmes is a cliché, but I did love him. No, not because of the television series (although I do admit I am Sher-locked, thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch), but he was smart, thin, extremely arrogant, dismissive and critical, and yes, those qualities are loved by a woman like me. I tried liking others, you see. Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Monsieur Dupin, Arsene Lupin – nothing worked, you see. I was still stuck on Sherlock.
So yes, much as it sounds clichéd, it was going to be Sherlock – his style, way of thinking, logical deduction – they made me think and analyze, and no matter how many times I read those books, I cannot seem to let go of them, and I have to say, for a while, I did do my set of deductions from the way he thought.