Dwaipayan Bose’s short story with its bizarre ending makes for an intriguing read that includes some unforgettable characters and a ‘Madam’ who promises to haunt you long after the story is over.
It looked like a one-eyed ghoul. The white round head moved up, down, sideways – sizing up and disrobing all those who stood before it. Mounted on an AI-operated pod and connected to Wi-Fi, this intruder could send live images across continents to any voyeur armed with a phone and a fetish.
“Amazon listing says this can rotate 360 degrees and leaves no blind spot,” Manohar Singh, the supervisor, told his junior Sandeep while inspecting the Kubo Smart Cam 360, the latest addition to Tattletale, the coffee lounge at a flashy business park in Faridabad, a busy industrial town in the northern Indian state of Haryana.
Spread over 800 square feet on the ground floor lobby of a 31-story tower housing professional services companies, Tattletale could well have been a set from ‘The Great Gatsby’. Colourful sofas are strewn (but with care), designer poufs in the shape of coffee beans, and tables with bottle green marble tops led to a yellow ochre L-shaped counter bearing coffee machines, grinders, two cold brew towers, and an Italian roaster. Below the counter was a display chiller groaning under scores of croissants, vol-au-vents, tramezzini, brownies, and pastries. At Tattletale, one could be working or whispering in the ears of a lover, or just daydreaming.