Tanay Patel looked up from where he sat behind his desk, as Shilavati Hathiwala came barging into the small single room office, bringing a swirl of dirty brown dust in from the street with her as she did so.
She was out of breath and flustered, shaking as she pleaded, 'Please Mr Patel, tell me, is my husband having an affair?'
Tanay made a calming motion with his hands, 'Mrs Hathiwala, close the door, and come and sit down and have a cup of chai, and I'll tell you what I've found.'
For a moment she looked as if she was going to argue, but then she took a deep breath, adjusted her sunflower yellow sari around her, and nodded once before doing as requested.
Once she had sat down, Tanay opened up the folder for the case, and pulled out four or five pages of typed notes. Mrs Hathiwala watched him anxiously and sipped her chai.
Tanay Patel was often told he looked like Pawan Kalyan, the actor from the Telugu language Bollywood movies "Tholi Prema", "Badri", and "Jalsa". And he supposed he did. But then so did a lot of good looking Indian moustached men in their thirties. Still, it was flattering, and it often meant that clients were comfortable and relaxed with him because they felt as if they knew him, although they rarely knew why.
Mrs Hathiwala was far from relaxed, but she was starting to look less agitated. From the state she had turned up in, Tanay could almost believe that, on receiving his phone call informing her that his investigation was at end, she had run all the way from the other side of the city where she lived.
She had originally come to see him three weeks earlier, tearfully begging for him to take the case. Worried that, after almost forty years of marriage, her husband had another woman. She had no proof, and nothing definite she could put her finger on that suggested he was having an affair. But her intuition told her something was wrong, and she feared the worst.
Their two daughters had been married off to good families and now had families of their own and, although they saw them two or three times a week, most of the time it was just her and Mr Hathiwala together at home.
She had assured Tanay that their marriage had always been a good one, and that things between her and Mr Hathiwala were as good as they ever were. He was a caring and understanding man, and she hated herself for suspecting the worst of him. But there was a nagging doubt in her mind that she just couldn't get rid of, no matter how hard she tried.
She was good looking for a woman in her fifties. Not too overweight, and not too skinny. She clearly looked after her appearance, and he guessed that like most women her age she dyed her hair. But she seemed down to earth and her manner was friendly, and Tanay could imagine that she was a good woman to have as a wife.
He had willingly taken the case, telling her he would find out the truth for her, and hoping that he would be able prove her worries unfounded. But deep down he thought she was probably right. Women had a feel for these sort of things after all.