Millennium Post

Snooping divas

While men and women were created equal, equality between men and women is still miles away from being accepted as a way of life. Throughout history, men have prevailed over the society whereas it’s counterpart’s efforts at climbing the slippery ladder of success, have largely, gone awry. 

But now, breaking all barriers, women have confronted and risen above the stereotypes of their gender and have carved a niche for themselves everywhere. 

From Edward Stratemeyer’s Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple to Charlie’s Angels, we have witnessed an increasing number of mysteries featuring a slew of female detectives who have taken the world of fiction by a storm. As is true in the fictional world, woman sleuths in the real world too, are doing their fair share of investigation and busting the bad guys!

In the bustling capital of the world’s second most populous country, female detectives, have found a place for themselves. Like the continually and ever growing Delhi, its inhabitants and their lifestyles are also rapidly evolving.  

At a time when the ideas of love, relationship and marriage are undergoing changes, detectives, especially female detectives have adopted the latest innovations in the tools such as spy cameras for investigation and are willing to experiment more with the investigation methods.

Known for their impeccable investigation methods, Delhi’s own Nancy Drew’s gang can be found at Tejas Detective Agency. This group of female detectives is known to easily gel with the crowd. 

Talking about what makes them different from other detectives, Bhawna Paliwal, owner of Tejas Detective Agency Ltd said, “There are cases where only a woman can carry out investigation because it is only she who can ask the most intimate questions without raising the slightest suspicion in the people.”

Shedding the traditional image of a detective carrying binoculars and a hat, the modern day female detectives are equipped with the latest techniques and tools. Their investigation methods include laying honey traps, using disguise to gain entry at a place, and role playing.

Yet on a couple of occasions, there have instances where people have gathered in large numbers to question why the lady detective is standing at a place for more than 30 minutes. “Well this is the only drawback but apart from that, spying is much easier for women.” said Paliwal.

Talking about one of the cases she had worked on, Paliwal, who has been in this profession for the past 16 years, said, “Back in the 1990s, when I started as a detective, we had limited access to technology.

Back then, we relied a lot on the information that we gathered from the acquaintances and people who knew about the subject of our investigation, as well as the sources discovered by us in the neighbourhood of subject. 

Over the past 15 years, there has been a change in the trend.” 

“Although we still lay a lot of emphasis on doing our groundwork by getting to know the area where the suspected person resides yet with the emergence of social networking sites and latest gadgets such as a pen cameras, spectacle cameras, key chain cameras available easily, we are able to quickly gather audio visual evidence which are considered much more reliable. 

You name any tiny looking object and a camera can be fixed on it.  The introduction of the modified investigation tools has reduced many hassles for us and the amount of effort put by us in solving a case has also changed.” 

The 40-year old journalism graduate from Bharaiya Vidya Bhawan shared what piqued her interest to become a detective. 

Talking about why she decided to become a detective in the first place, the bubbly Paliwal smiled, recollecting how she was bored of working for a newspaper within a month and said, “It was monotonous. 

I did my graduation in Journalism from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan. However, one month into joining a newspaper, I got bored. One day I saw an advertisement which read that they are looking for a woman detective in Delhi-NCR. Intrigued, I jumped at the prospect and took up a four- month training under them.”

Located on the sixth floor of one the corporate buildings in the Netaji Subhash Place area of North Delhi, Paliwal’s office is like any other office. Sitting across the table, Paliwal appears chilled out in her trousers and checked shirt. 

Talking about the kinds of tools and equipment used in solving a case, Paliwal said that the tools used vary from case to case. In cases like pre-marital investigations and background checks on the would-be bride and groom, one would use spectacle cameras or key chain cameras attached to the handbag. These she explained, are commonly used to avoid suspicion.

Taralika Lahiri, another lady detective at the National Detectives and Corporate Consultants, shared that the tools and investigation methods used in working out cases depends entirely on the kind of case. 

Sitting in her posh office in South Delhi’s Khirki Extension, Lahiri said, “Investigation methods taken up to solve a case vary from one case to the other. 

Although a background research is common in all cases, in corporate investigations, where a particular financial consultancy or a corporate firm wants to know the background of the client company they are striking a deal with, private detectives are hired to bring to the fore the company’s reputation. 

The detectives find out whether the client company has a good reputation in the market, or if they are in the list of defaulters of a particular bank. In these cases, to collect evidence, we resort to using the conventional method of making contacts or sources in the concerned organisation.”
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