Story So Far: Pheluda and Thopshe quite accidently (the writer insists!) stumble into Blah Blah Land, which holds a vital clue to the mystery they were investigating. ‘Find me the person who has answers to all my questions’, the case briefing by their client Lord Henry Williams III had been literally, brief. Lot of surprises lay hidden in Bhah Blah land– including an unexpected meeting with a legendary sleuth. Read The Amazing Mystery for more details.
And now the remaining part of the story …
‘Welcome Mr. Mitter! I was waiting for you …’, Sherlock Holmes addressed Pheluda in a deep baritone voice.
‘I am honored to meet you … Sir’, Pheluda responded in a surprisingly reassured voice. Topshe was still staring at the legendary sleuth, with his jaws dropped.
‘And you must be Pheluda’s Watson …’, Holmes’ thin lips curled into a smile ‘ Master Topshe’
‘Follow me!’, Holmes said, turning around and marching briskly down the long corridor. Pheluda gave the attractive receptionist a polite nod and followed the man wearing the ever so familiar chequered overcoat and a matching cap. Topshe followed, trying to keep up with the brisk pace of the two tall men.
The empty, brightly lit hallway extended unendingly in front of them. They walked silently amidst the rhythmic din of their footsteps on the white mosaic floor. The white walls of the corridor were occasionally interrupted by huge silver doors that had big golden signs with embossed letters.
“Conversation in the Park Department” said the door they were currently walking past. It had a closed latch with a huge lock hanging from it.
‘What is that ‘, Pheluda asked Holmes pointing to the locked door.
‘Oh, they have closed that department ‘, he replied with a straight voice,’ There are no conversations in parks anymore’
They walked for what seemed to be at least half a mile, of mostly locked doors – “Chit Chat with Neighbors’ Department”, “Blah Blah with the Green Grocer Department”... closed doors with locks hanging from them – a reminder of a bygone era of blah blah.
‘They have been setting up new departments also’, Holmes said pointing to a row of flashy silver doors. There was a big sign on the door - “Digital Meta-Life Department”.
‘What is Meta Life ?’ , Thopshe asked Holmes with a curious look in his face.
‘Data about Life’, Holmes responded ‘Texting, Tweets, Facebook …’, Holmes said opening a door and walking briskly into it.
They entered a small room that was illuminated by warm, yellow light. There was a lit fireplace on the left, a merrily flickering fire and soft smell of burning wood adding to the warm comfort of the room. There were four chairs arranged neatly around the fireplace.
‘Have a seat !’, he pointed to the chair next to fireplace as he straightened his overcoat and settled down,’ I know you have a lot of questions, but why don’t I start telling you why I am here first ..’ , he said digging into his pocket and pulling out his pipe. Pheluda walked over to Holmes and offered his lighter.
‘Nifty contraption – but does not go well with pipes’ , Holmes said producing a box of matchsticks. He lit up his pipe and blew a big cloud of smoke that spiraled across the room before getting sucked into the fireplace.
‘I was engaged by Lord Henry Williams, perhaps the great grandfather of the person who might have engaged your services’
‘Find me the person who has answers to all my questions’, he had said. He had also said that he will have all his future generations dedicated to this quest until the question was answered.' Sherlock Holmes face became grim as he looked distantly at the flickering fireplace.
‘For the first time in my life, I have not been able to find the answer to a puzzle ... and I have been here for so long …’, he said slowly ‘But time does not exist in this world in the conventional sense – as it does in the world that you come from. Years there are merely minutes here…’
’ So I patiently waited for the next generation of master sleuths who would be hired by the next generation of answer seekers … waited here … right in this world….
…But no one turned up. Apparently they were looking for answers in the wrong places. Several of the master sleuths who were hired for the task - like Killmaster Nick Carter or James Bond, who I believe had an official license to kill , got so fixated in killing that they forgot about the question they has set to answer…’
‘BB But ... how do you know about all this … I mean what is going on in the world?’, Phedua asked , his eyes locked into the intense eyes of Sherlock Holmes.
‘Blah Blah land manages all the communication in the world’, I have access to all patterns of interactions across the world … across the ages. .. from the first phone call ever made, to the latest tweet by Lady Gaga’ , Holmes winked.
‘Talking about the first phone call, in the world ‘, Homes gave a quiet chuckle, ‘ It had confused me when the inventor of telephone had made the first ever phone call - “ Mr Watson , I need you here”’
‘It was Graham Bell’s assistant Watson , not your friend Dr Watson’ Topshe chipped in beaming, apparently happy with his general knowledge. Pheluda's omnivore taste of facts and figures had rubbed off on his assistant apprentice.
‘Good Observation. Yes, Dr Watson must have lived a full life in the other world, happily married to his love … while I continue to pursue my quest in this land – trying to find out the person who has answers to Lord Henry Williams’ questions’
‘ I have listened to millions of phone calls, conversations, books, gossips, news since then ..’, Homes continued his narration as Peluda and Thopshe listened with apt attention.
‘I have scrutinized each and every person that Lord Henry Williams and his following generations could possibly get all their answers from. ALL of the possibilities. But none of options could qualify’
‘When I started this case, It looked like a Mystery to me. But after all these years – I am convinced that it is not a Mystery. It is a Puzzle. A puzzle that I am unable to solve’, Holmes got up and stood near the fireplace.
‘What is the difference? I mean between a Mystery and a Puzzle’ , Topshe asked with a puzzled expression.
‘A mystery has missing pieces of the big picture. These pieces need to be found out. A puzzle has all the pieces in front of you – the pieces just need to be arranged’, Holmes replied empting his pipe in a crystal glass ashtray sitting on the mantel.
Pheluda walked up to the fireplace and lit up a cigarette. He offered Holmes one and the legendary sleuth pulled a stick from Pheluda's packet of Charminar. Pheluda lit up Sherlock Holmes’cigarette with his lighter.
The two detectives stood smoking in silence looking intently at the flickering flame in the fire place.
Mystery – Puzzle … person who has answers to all questions … thoughts ran through Pheluda’s mind at an amazing pace as an imaginary sitar played with an increasing tempo.
‘I think I know the answer !’ , Pheluda exclaimed suddenly, his face lit up with a wide smile.
‘My first lead was the fact that there are no missing pieces of information. ALL the information is right here and now - as you had found out Mr Holmes’, Pheluda said with a twinkle in his eyes.
‘“Once you rule out the impossible, whatever is remaining, however improbable, is the truth”, these are your words Mr. Holmes. Words that have helped me solve so many cases – including this one!’
‘So, if there are no missing parts of this puzzle and if you have concluded that no one that Lord Henry Williams knew, knows or could possibly know would be able to provide the answer to his questions….
That leaves just one person … however improbable … that person is the answer to the puzzle…’ , Pheluda said beaming.
‘Amazing Case! ... Could not have solved this without your help, Mr. Holmes! ‘, Pheluda said excitedly as Holmes looked at him with a blank expression, the cigarette butt hanging from the corner of his lips.
‘Brilliant !! ‘ Sherlock Holmes exclaimed suddenly, as his face lit up.
The cigarette slipped from his mouth and dropped on the wooden floor creating a splinter of small sparks. He stamped out the butt hurriedly and grasped Phelu’s shoulders,’Brilliant!’, he exclaimed again.
‘But ... WW-Who has the answer of Lord Henry Williams’s questions?’, Thopshe asked with a sheepish grin, trying to keep up with the jubilant air in the room.
‘Lord Henry Williams himself! ’, Sherlock said with a smile as Pheluda beamed, ‘Nobody else ... but he himself has all the answers ... however improbable it may sound, that is the answer to this amazing puzzle'
‘Elementary!’, Pleluda added with a wink as three smiling faces looked at each other in the warm light of merrily flickering fire.
I have been intrigued by mankind's quest to find out the answers of all our questions. People have generally followed several different approaches to get to the truth.
“Know Thyself” features as one of the less popular and puzzling approaches right above "Find out what is this number 42 after all", approach. Killing people who did not agree to your approach, apparently is one of the most popular approaches.
But I continued to wonder - am I really the person who has answers to all my questions? And then I met Pheluda in storyland !