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Hunt for the missing writer continues

We present the concluding tales from our two-part series in the Guess the Writer contest that kicked off on August 9. From our pool of six popular Indian writers, three have written under a pseudonym here. You need to guess the original writer to win a prize as Kanika Sharma keeps count on the ticking clock

Unwashable Stain
By Green Bucks
Paying the installment on the mortgage loan month after month was an uphill task for the Nadkarnis. Hari took some extra classes, moonlighted at private tuition institutes, while Nikita also worked at a local school to make ends meet. This went on for two years. It was beginning to take a toll. There were times when they considered selling the house and paying off the loan. But the bearish property market came in the way.

Missing writer

The cushion of borrowing against Nikita’s jewellery too, had disappeared the day they had raised money on it from a local pawn broker. They struggled, but they managed to pay their loan installments on time.

March 2010 — An innocuous looking article on the front page of a business newspaper was something that the Nadkarnis ignored. They didn’t understand what it meant or what was the implication. “RBI raises repo rates for the first time in two years,” it said. In order to tighten liquidity and curb spending in an inflationary economy, the RBI had raised the repo rates.

Promptly, within two weeks a letter arrived from the bank that had lent them 16 lakhs against their house. “… we are constrained to increase our home loan rates by 50 bps. As a result, the installment on your loan has gone up by ……” it said.

Hari looked at the letter ruing the day he agreed to take the loan for paying the capitation fee. His loan installment had gone up by a thousand rupees.

For the next year and a half, RBI kept increasing rates every quarter to stem the inflationary economy, and Hari kept struggling to cope with the rising installments. Finally, came a day when he could no longer pay the installment and he stopped.
Clue: For the stories related to crime and passion…often these are a result of money and aspirations.

The House That BJ Built
By Falguni Thakur
‘Wo paanch number ka suna?’

‘No.’ Her neice replies, her mouth full. ‘What happened at number 5, chachiji?’

The old lady blows out her cheeks and assumes a lugubrious expression. ‘Bhai, it is very sad. The brothers were fighting — over the property, of course — the case had been going on for 14 years — and this morning, the younger brother took out a pistol, put it inside the older brother’s mouth and pressed the trigger. I heard there’s a hole in the back of his head like a sambhar vada. All soggy and uneven.’

Bonu puts down her sandwich. ‘Ugh.’ Chachiji continues, ‘Of course — some are saying it wasn’t just the property. The older fellow — a bachelor you know — was apparently carrying on with the younger fellow’s wife. She’s lucky her husband didn’t shoot her too — really lucky — because now one is dead and one will go to jail and she’ll end up inheriting everything!’

‘Wow.’ Bonu looks impressed. ‘You think she planned it chachiji?’

‘Maybe.’ Chachiji lowers her voice into a confidential whisper. ‘She’s as chunnt as they come. Does Yoga the whole day, na — so she’s as supple as a snake. She can twist herself into any position, they say, that’s why all the men are mad for her. Now, of course she will swallow the whole property like a python, and digest it so thoroughly that there won’t even be any shit to fight over.’
Clue: My pseudonym is what the Judge wanted to name his sixth daughter if he would’ve ever had one.

How Rati found Ganpati
By Bewildered Billoo
Little Rati had been walking upriver for days. She was very thirsty now. She waded into the dirty water, dipped her trunk, sucked some in, and began to wheeze and cough. She sneezed the water back out… and froze.

A pink and yellow elephant face stared back at her from below the water. It was adorned in gold. Some bits of the face were melting.

She pulled her trunk out, stepped away, said ‘Hello’.

But the face didn’t respond. It just stared back.

Suddenly a monkey came splashing, and pulled the elephant face out of the water! He held it up, turned to Rati and said ‘Looks like you no?’

A little frightened now, Rati just nodded. The monkey grinned, said ‘Don’t be afraid, the humans worship this elephant god.’ Rati looked perplexed, ‘Then why did they trap my Ma in a cage?’

The monkey smirked, said ‘They’re weird that way. They even have a monkey god, but they came to cut my tree down one day.’

Rati was horrified! ‘They cut trees?! Will they hurt my Ma then?’

‘Lets go find out,’ the monkey said, and started to walk upriver. Little Rati followed him, her heart thudding with anxiety.

As they walked, more colourful elephant faces drifted past them, slowly dissolving in the water.

In the distance, as the sun started to set, the lights of the bleak grey city were slowly coming on, as if threatening them to stay away.
Clue: Did God make us? Or did we make God? Geez! I’m always bewildered by us humans!

The three titles published in the August 9 edition
> Spore by YE Venbother
> The Slippers by Amrita Doshi
> The Girl Who Ate Books by HB Kalam

How to enter and win?
1. the guide is publishing works of six Indian eminent writers — Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi (Mumbai Fiction), Anuja Chauhan (Chick Lit), Samit Basu (Science Fiction), Devashish Makhija (Children’s Fiction), Nilanjana Roy (Literary Fiction) and Ravi Subramanian (Popular Fiction) who will be writing under pen names.
2. Based on the writing style and inherent clues in the passage, guess the author, and mail us on guessthewriter@mid-day.com with the title, the pen name, and the actual writer, according to you by August 20.
3. The first person to guess the correct answer for each genre of fiction will win an autographed copy of the writer’s work (see: Here’s what you win).
4. Participants in this contest can win a maximum of two prizes.

Here's what you win!
Books 

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