Sub-inspector Rao was thoughtful. His constable, Nagaraj, however wasn't. Not that he was thoughtful anytime.
"Sir, what do you think?"
Rao grunted and motioned Nagaraj to quiet down.
But Nagaraj went on, "Sir, that bullet wound..."
"Shut up Nagu," Rao said. He frowned and tilted his head.
"Sir, the hand, the bullet wound, and all that …that red, maybe blood.. all of it somehow doesn’t..."
Rao lost it now. He turned to Nagaraj. "Ok, Sherlock holmes. The hand? The bullet wound? What next? The pistol?"
Nagaraj chuckled nervously. "No sir, I was just trying to help you out..."
"I don't need any. I'm just trying to figure out what this could mean."
"You mean, like a clue or something, sir?"
The curator's assistant appeared behind Rao. "Excellent choice, sir. It's a classic painting by our very own Maya Batliwaala. An original. It's called "escape to eternity"."
Rao looked at Nagaraj (who made a sour face), and then at the assistant.
"Escape to eternity through what - a bullet wound? No thanks, we'll pick up the pre-ordered “white horse”. After all, it's not for me, but for my boss, the police commissioner."
The assistant looked puzzled. He shrugged and left. Rao shook his head, smiled and looked at Nagaraj. "Escape to eternity, Nagu, escape to eternity. That's what it meant."
"You're a genius, sir."