Vaseem Khan •
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra •
Inspector Ashwin Chopra is all set to retire from the Mumbai police, but circumstances keep him from turning in his badge. Just when life should be getting less complicated, he finds himself drawn into investigating a child’s drowning and a suspicious import-export business.
To top it off, his recently deceased uncle has left him a baby elephant.
Make that a depressed baby elephant.
Legend has it that Thai rulers used to make a present of a white elephant to a rival they wished to ruin. The animals were considered sacred and could not be killed, and the cost of their feed and upkeep was likely to cause bankruptcy.
Chopra can afford the Dairy Milk chocolate bars that are Ganesh’s favorite treat, but elephants aren’t exactly house pets. He would prefer to put the animal into a sanctuary where it can be properly looked after. Keeping Ganesh chained in the courtyard outside his apartment building is just a temporary arrangement, he tells himself.
Until the unusual pair venture on a stakeout together, and Ganesh—like a pachyderm Lassie—saves Chopra’s life.
But not before monsoon rains engulf Mumbai, flooding the courtyard. Chopra can’t leave the elephant to drown, so he wedges it into the lift to the 15th floor, where Ganesh gets temporarily stuck in the doorway. Poppy, the inspector’s wife, may be childless, but she knows how to handle youngsters. She takes her biggest scrub brush to Ganesh, anoints his rough hide with mustard oil and his trunk with Vicks VapoRub, and wraps him in warm quilts.
Then the two settle down in the living room, a bowl of snacks on the coffee table between them, in easy reach of human hand and elephant trunk. “Now,” says Poppy, picking up the TV remote, “what shall we watch?”