Enid Blyton and the Jhansi Pahadiya

Enid Blyton and the Jhansi Pahadiya

So what if there’s not five of us? There’s also Secret Seven.

But four is an even number.

How is that important?

We should get a fifth.

There is no fifth.

What about Guddan Didi?

She is not in the age group.

We have been through this.

What will we call ourselves? Famous Four?

No. That will seem like we are copying them.

Fantastic Four?

Sure. Vote?

Four hands went up. It was agreed.

The smuggling operation will be busted before the summer vacation is through. Three weeks to go. The evidence was compelling. The bulb in the temple on top of the pahadiya went off and on three times, and a truck started moving in that direction. It could not have been a coincidence. We saw it all from our mattresses on the roof where we slept.

Surely the truck was loaded late night with the contraband and went about to complete delivery somewhere.

We did not have all the answers yet. What was the contraband, for example. Where was the truck headed, was another. And of course the one about why the pahadiya at the edge of Jhansi was chosen for this undoubtedly nefarious activity. Nobody seemed too bothered about these questions for we had a name. Fantastic Four. Clearly not aping any Enid Blyton assortment.

The next morning we went up the pahadiya, but as expert investigators we did not take the well trodden path up. Through shrubs and rocks we went straight up. After enough skidding and some bruising we sat down to compare notes, and finish the mathri and nimbu paani Mamta Mausi packed for us. She did not know the mission, but the sustenance was a good idea irrespective.

‘Wait a minute, I can see what’s happening here,’ said Monu.

What’s happening?

See this rock? He said, holding a small piece that he had just tripped over.

It is a piece of a rock.

Yes, but see what’s on it.

Some shape.

Not just any shape.

No? No. It is some kind of fish.


It is a fossil.

Oh, fossils were in my Social Studies course.


This is a fossil.



But how’s that connected to the case?

Isn’t it obvious?

Not really.

Well, they are smuggling fossils!

I have never heard of fossil smuggling.

Fossils can be expensive.

Who will buy fossils?

There are museums all over that need fossils.

Where are these museums?

Delhi, Bombay. Maybe even London and New York.

From Jhansi to everywhere?

Yes. And it is very clever.


Well, these fossils are hidden in plain sight. They have them distributed all across the pahadiya.

Nobody will come looking.

I think we solved our first case. And we didn’t even finish the mathri!

Not yet. We have to connect to the police.

We might need an adult for that?

We will see about that.

And what will we call our first case?

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