What If… Jē aiḍavaraḍasa and Śrīmatī maikaphī










Jay Edwards and Mrs McPhee are known internationally – but what if they were not British or American.  What if they were, say, Indian…


“Thank you, Mami,” Zunaira said as she sat at the kitchen table, drinking the glass of milk.  It was a cool autumn afternoon in the wealthy suburb of Mumbai, and the eight-year-old girl enjoying a day off from school.  Her long black hair fell over the shoulders of her lilac-coloured sweatshirt, a picture of a butterfly on the front, jeans and black flat shoes.


“You’re welcome,” Tashi said as she looked over from the sink.  Her mother was more traditionally dressed, in a peach-coloured sari with gold embroidery on the sides and front, gold sandals strapped onto her own feet.   She turned back and continued preparing the vegetables, before they both heard the knock on the front door.


“Shall I go and see who it is?”


“Please,” Tashi said as Zunaira made her way out of the kitchen, and towards the front door.  A few minutes later, she heard the footsteps coming back and said without turning round “who was it?”




Tashi turned round, the knife dropping from her hand onto the floor as she saw Zunaira standing there, but there was an unfamiliar woman standing there, her gloved hand over her daughter’s mouth.  The woman was wearing a black tunic, with black opera gloves over her hands and lower arms, a black dupatta wrapped round her neck and the lower half of her face.  Black pants and flat shoes completed her outfit.


Two men stood behind her – unshaven, with thick moustaches, wearing open necked shirts and pants, with bandanas tied over the lower half of their faces.  Finally, there was a fourth man – he was wearing a cream linen jacket nd pants with a white shirt underneath, white gloves, and dark sunglasses.


“Who are you,” Tashi finally said “and what are you doing with my daughter?”  She then saw the guns in the gloved hands of the other two men, as Zunaira struggle din the woman’s grip.


“Well,” the man in the glasses said, “my name is Jē Aiḍavaraḍasa – perhaps you have heard of me?”


Tashi’s eyes opened wide as the man smiled - Jē Aiḍavaraḍasa!  She had heard of him and his gang – they took over the homes of businessmen, forced them to rob their business while the families were kept hostage…


“You may call me Je – the woman with your daughter is Śrīmatī maikaphī.”


“You may call me Srimati,” the masked woman said.  “Stop struggling, little one – we’re not going to hurt you, just make sure you cannot tell anyone what is going on.”


She let the girl go, Zunaira running over as her mother embraced her, and said “Mami what’s going to happen?”


“So glad you asked,” Je said with a smile.  “We’re going to make you and your mother comfortable - and then we wait for the rest of your family, and your husband to come home.  Shall we?”





“Tashi?  We are back from the market?”


Satya looked round as her younger daughter Nisha came in and closed the door.  Her graying dark hair was pulled back in a bun, and she was wearing a purple sati with gold trim over a green vest.  Nisha was wearing a gold tunic with translucent sleeves and gold pants with sandals, a pink dupatta wrapped round her neck and shoulders.


“Where are they?”


“I am not sure,” Satya said as they walked into the front room – and stood still, their eyes widening as they saw Tashi and Zunaira sitting on the couch.  Their eyes were open wide as well, shaking their heads as the silver tape over their mouths prevented them from saying anything.  Their hands were behind their backs, and rope encircled their ankles.


The two masked men behind the couch looked at them, as a male voice said, “ah good – the mother and sister are here.”




“Allow me,” the masked woman said, “I am Śrīmatī maikaphī, and this is Jē Aiḍavaraḍasa.”  Satya slowly turned her head to see the grinning man, and then fell to the floor in a dead faint.



“Mhmmhhh?  Mhhmmhhh!”


Satya slowly opened her eyes, wondering what was behind her back as she saw Nisha sitting against the wall opposite her.  Her daughter had her legs bent, and as Satya focused she saw the ropes round her ankles, and the white cloth tied tightly round her head, covering her mouth.


“Whhphnnhhdd – HNNHHHH!”


“Calm yourself,” Je said as he stood in front of them, “struggling will not help, and you need to stay calm.”  The older woman looked down and saw the rope round her own ankles, felt the rope round her wrists, and then realized what was pressing on her own mouth.


“SAthhchlm,” she heard Tashi say as she saw her older daughter and granddaughter on the couch, tape gagged and bound. 


“Srimati will look after the youngsters once the other two get here – and then we will wait for your husband.  Will you remain calm for the moment?”


Satya looked at Nisha and Tashi, and then slowly nodded as all four of them heard the door open and close again.  Je put a finger to his lips as two young women walked in – Tashi groaning as she recognized her two daughters.


Liya was 12 and was wearing a short-sleeved light blue top with jeans.  Davian was 16 and had on a pale blue patterned sleeveless long cardigan over a blue tunic, and tan-coloured pantaloons.  They stood there, their eyes as wide open as the others as they looked round the room, before Je said “Welcome – Srimati, please, take them to a bedroom and make them comfortable, then take Zunaira there as well.”


“Come with me,” the dupatta masked woman said as she held a gun in one gloved hand, and a bag with ropes in the other. 


“Ghhh,” Tashi said, their aunt and grandmother nodding as they raised their hands in the air and then left the room with Srimati.  Je sat down, and said “once we have the children all together, then we sit, and we wait for your husband to return home – then you may prepare the food, but not before, understand?”


Tashi slowly nodded, the four captives looking at each other before Srimati came back in.  “Up you get,” she said as she looked at Zunaira, “and come with me.”  The young girl managed to get on her feet, and then jumped after the masked woman, following her to the stairs before she was lifted up and carried into a bedroom.


Her sisters were lying either side of a bed, their wrists bound together behind their backs, their ankles secured with rope, and black tape covering their mouths as Srimata laid Zunaira on the bed between them.  “Now, just relax,” she said as the three girls looked at each other.




Zunaira looked at Liya, then at Davina, before she blushed and slowly nodded.


“Hthsshmm – uknhwhllbhbhndhndghghhdlhthr?”


The other two nodded as she said “lhtsshhsbhthshm, hlrht?”


They nodded again as one of the masked men came in and stood guard, looking at them as they wriggled round…




“I am home,” Amar called out as he put his laptop bag down and looked round.  The grey-haired man stretched and yawned, before he said “so, what do we have to eat” as he walked into the front room.


“At this moment, Amar, you have your own words to eat.”


He saw the man wearing sunglasses standing there, his hands crossed and the pistol in one hand, and then saw his wife, sister-in-law and mother-in-law sitting, bound and gagged.


“What the…”


“Allow me to introduce myself,” the man said as Amar saw two more masked men, “my name is Jē Aiḍavaraḍasa.  Perhaps you have heard of me?”


“Je…  No, please…”


“Oh yes,” he said with a smile as he saw the wild look in the man’s eyes, one of the other two coming over and pulling Amar’s hands behind his back before securing them together with rope.  “Now, have a seat – your children are safe with my friend Śrīmatī maikaphī. And they will join you for supper.  On which note – secure and gag him, and then bring Tashi to the kitchen.  She needs to finish preparing the food…”




“I know it is not much,” Tashi said as she sat at the table, “but I hope you all enjoy it.”


“It looks wonderful, Mami,” Liya said as the other two girls nodded, and they started to eat, the armed man watching over them.


“So, I understand,” Amar said quietly, “after we eat, one of these men comes back to the office with me, and they will rob the firm there – and in the meantime, my family stay as hostages here?”

“They will – my men remain in touch with me by radio, and if you do anything to stop this working as it should…”


The men stood with their hands on the shoulders of Tashi and Nisha, Amar nodding as he said, “I will do what you ask.”


“Excellent – now eat, all of you – your father will not leave until we have your young girls in bed and ready for sleep…”


“It’s all right Papa,” Zunaira said with a smile, “they have not really hurt us, and we can cope.”


The four adults looked at each other with worried expressions as Je and Srimati just smiled…






“You three come with me,” Srimati said as she picked up a bag, one of the men following behind Zunaira, Liya and Davina.  As they climbed the stairs the masked woman said “now, go quickly into your rooms, select some pajamas, and then come back out here.”


The three girls looked at each other and went in three different doors, Davina noticing the cut wire for the phone next to her bed, before they each came out with a pair of pajamas.


“Excellent – we go into this room,” Srimati said as they were walked into a guest bedroom, with a large bed against the wall.  “Now, all of you, change quickly – we do not want to keep Je waiting.”


She watched as they each stripped off, and then pulled on the nightclothes.  Zunaira put on a set of pale blue pajamas with orange cuffs and collar, a toy print on them, while Liya donned a set of red pajamas – a tunic and pants, with a coloured pattern on them.


As they changed, Davina put on a green smock top and pair of pants, with a white floral print on them, the short sleeves blowing in the gentle breeze.  Srimati nodded before she said “Good – Liya, Zunaira, sit on the bed and keep your hands where we can see them.  Davina, hold your hands out, and cross your wrists.”


“You can see what is going to happen to you,” the oldest daughter said as the man took a length of white rope, and tightly bound her wrists together.  Davina then lowered them as Srimati took a longer length of rope, doubled it over, and passed it round the teenager, pulling it tight under her chest and then tasking it round her shoulders. 


The younger girls watched, wide eyed as Srimati made several more passes, and then pulled the ropes tighter as Davian felt her top stretch, then secured the ends off.  “Good,” she said.  “Sit down – come here Liya, you are next.”


Davina sat down, Zunaira watching the man as he knelt down and started to bind her older sister’s ankles together with more rope, and then secured her legs below her knees.  A few minutes later, she felt the ropes forcing her own arms against her sides, the bands rubbing on her bound wrists as Liya was secured in the same way. She walked over and sat next to Davina on the opposite side from Liya, watching as the mased man knelt and bound her ankles tightly together, and then her legs below her knees – her eyes opening wide as she saw Srimati take from the bag a long green dupatta.


“Open your mouth wide,” she said to Davina, the two younger girls watching as she pulled the dupatta between her lips and wrapped it several times round her head before securing the ends at the base of her neck.  She then helped her to lie in the centre of the bed, the man taking more rope and tying it between her wrists, then down to her ankles, and finally the foot of the bed.


“Oh my – that is suhnffhhfnhls,” Liya said as a red dupatta was used to gag her in the same way, the man then lifting her and laying her next to Davina on the older girl’s right-hand side before he used more rope on her.


“Is that for me,” Zunaira asked as she saw the blue dupatta.


“Indeed – don’t struggle and you will get used to it,” the masked woman said as she gagged the youngest sister, and then helped her to lie to the left of Davina, the man securing her wrists to her ankles and then the foot of the bed.


“Oh, my goodness…”


All three girls turned to see their father standing in the hallway with Je.


“I will see you all tomorrow – stay brave,” he whispered, all three girls nodding as Je led him to the foot of the stairs, where the other masked man was waiting.


“You know what to do?”


He nodded and took Amar by the arm, as he looked into the front room and said “the girls are bound and gagged, but safe. I will see you all later.”


“Stay safe,” Tashi said, Amar nodding as he looked at all three of them, and then was dragged out of the house.  They heard the car drive away, as Srimati came back in.


“Come with me,” she said as she looked at Sataya.


“I want to see my grandchildren,” she said as she stood slowly up.


“Of course – but some with me please,” Srimati said in a firm voice.


“Go – I will see them later,” Tashi said as she held Nisha’s hand, Sataya nodding as she went with Srimata to the upper floor.  She looked in on the girls, their eyes already closing as the cloths kept their lips apart, and nodded before she headed to her bedroom, Srimati following her in.


When she came back into the front room, she was wearing a floor length grey and white patterned night dress – but her hands were behind her back, and her daughter saw the bands of rope that sat above and below her chest, as well as to the sides, holding her arms against her sides.




“It is – necessary,” their mother said as she sat down, Srimati taking Nisha by the arm and taking her out of the room.


“The girls?”


“Asleep,” Sataya said as she tried to move her arms.  “I think they are exhausted – this feels so different.”


“Can you move?”


“Not really and yet it feels – comfortable, nice almost,” Sataya said as she looked at her daughter.  “Does that sound wrong?”


“Strangely, no,” Tashi said quietly as she blushed.  “I have also found it – different today.  Perhaps that is the secret – we can do nothing, so do nothing.”


Sataya nodded as Je came in, looking at the man as he said, “check the girls – your husband is a sensible man, Tashi.”


“He loves us.”


“So, he is being sensible,” he said as Nisha came back in.  She was wearing a pale pink floor length gown with capped sleeves but the bands of rope round her arms were tight and held them firmly in place.


“Come,” Srimata said to Tashi, and as she stood Je said, “make sure she stays in her room – the other two will come up in a moment.”


“Of course,” the masked woman said as she led Tashi to the master bedroom and said “change – it is time to secure you.”


“Of course,” the woman said as she stripped, and then put on a floor length nightgown made from yellow linen with an orange design printed on the material.  It had mid-length sleeves, but she felt the rope on her bare wrists as Srimata took her hands behind her back and began to secure them.




Tashi nodded as she then felt the rope around her body, and then gasped as it was pulled tight, going round her stomach and her upper arms as the two bands framed her chest.  It was then taken under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under her other arm before Srimata secured the ends at her back.


“Sit down please.”


Tashi sat on the edge of the bed, watching as Srimata knelt and bound her ankles tightly together, and then secured her legs together below her knees, the band of rope gathering the skirt of her nightdress round her legs as she did so.


“I am going nowhere,” Tashi said as she stood up.


“Exactly – and you won’t be able to talk either,” Srimata said as she held a yellow sponge ball in her hand, “open wide.”  Tashi felt the sponge expand in her mouth as she closed her lips over it, before Srimata tore the backing paper off a long strip of white tape and smoothed it down over her mouth, the tape forming to the contours of her chin as she did so.


“Lie down.”


Tashi nodded as she lay on her side, and saw her mother and sister walk past, white tape now covering their mouths as well.  They nodded to each other as she felt her ankles being pulled back, and then the tension as they were secured to her chest rope.


“Check her every fifteen minutes,” she said to the masked man as she left, Tashi settling down as she listened to the sound of the insects outside, wondering how long she would stay awake…







Tashi opened her eyes wide as she saw the early morning sunlight come through the curtains – and realized she was not on her bed.  She was still hogtied – but she could see Zunaira looking at her from the bed, and she realized she was in the same room as the girls.


And her sister and mother – she looked across to see Nisha and Sataya both lying on the floor, their eyes closed as they slept in their own hogties.


“Hrruhhllrht,” she mumbled – and then she heard the crash of a door open, footsteps running up the stairs – and a Police Captain come in, his cap on and his swagger stick in his hand as he pushed the cap back.


“Get people up here,” he said as he knelt and peeled the tape away from Tashi’s mouth, and then pulled the soaked sponge ball out.


“Water – and help us,” she croaked as more police officers rushed in…







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