Rajani Pandit is a highly sought after private detective with a very particular area of expertise: many of her clients are spouses who are worried that their partners are being unfaithful, or parents concerned that their child may be making poor choices when it comes to love.
Here she explains how she ended up being India's love detective and just what the job entails:
Mumbai, India - I have been called a god, Lady Durga, even Lady James Bond, but I like to call myself India's first lady detective.
When I started out, there was no such thing as a lady detective in India. Detectives were mainly gents, ex-military men who started their own security agencies. So people always asked, "How could a woman be a private eye?"
But a woman's weakness is also her strength, and in this job it pays to be underestimated. I can go undercover, talk to neighbours and enter homes because people are less suspicious of a woman and share their information easily.
I slowly got drawn into this job while at university. A friend of mine was up to no good in college and her parents were distressed, worrying about what she was doing. I saw how she would mislead them and the harm she was causing herself.
So I gathered evidence of what she was up to and showed them. They were so thankful to me and told me I could be a spy. That was 1983. Since then, I've never looked back.
People have a lot of problems in India's big cities. In 30 years I've uncovered many secrets, anything from a murder mystery to the affairs of celebrities or drug-addicted kids in affluent families.
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More and more I deal in pre and post-marital investigations. The internet is changing life a lot. On Facebook and dating sites, it's difficult to know the truth and so many get trapped by this.
Every client thinks the problem is unique to them. They don't realise how it's happening to thousands of others.
Nothing surprises me any more. As a love detective, I see human nature, warts and all. I have so many different stories, some strange, some humorous.
Clients will come to me and say: "My staff and I are all confused. My husband left home wearing a blue shirt and suddenly he changes his mind to wear a white shirt. We don't understand."
There was once a woman who could not afford my services. So I gave her the idea that she should wear a burqa and then tail her husband.
She did it and followed her husband to the beach where he met someone else. She walked right up to him and lifted her veil and slapped him twice. She came back to me and said: "You are the one who gave me the strength to do it."
To others these may seem funny, but I am trained as a professional so I always handle these cases with respect and care.
I would never call a case funny, because these are situations born of my clients' sorrows. They are creating havoc and trouble in a client's life and I never forget this.
People ask me if I still believe in love. I can't say there's no such thing as love. Love is there in this world. But the love of a mother to a child is different from that of a girl and boy or husband and wife.
|'It's empowering to work as a lady detective. So to any young girl out there, whoever is reading this, be focused, be like an eagle and be a love detective,' Rajana Pandit writes [101 East/Al Jazeera]
These days, there is less love and a lot of attraction to other things. I have seen so many cases of broken marriages that sometimes I wonder if an affair is all a person wants. Why did they marry?
Of course, not everyone is like this, but it appears that after a certain period, love fades away in marital life. Trust me, I've solved and handled thousands of cases. At the end of the day, what I've learned is not to trust someone too much, or to be blindfolded so that you suffer in the future.
The most difficult case I've solved was a murder case. I was working undercover as a servant in the house of the murderer for weeks to get the evidence I needed. It was dangerous work but eventually I solved it.
To be a detective, the brain must be quick and alert. You must sense if a problem is brewing and know you can troubleshoot it. But more than anything else, you must have courage and remain determined. If you have faith in your work and can prove your devotion, only then will you be successful.
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Detectives are an important part of society - not just in India, but Australia to England and any country in between. Infidelity exists - it's not 100 percent everywhere, but it's human, it's part of marriage, love and relationships. You need love detectives to help find what's real.
It's incredibly humbling to wipe your client's tears and return their right to reality, to truth. Some of my clients keep in touch with me for years after their case is over.
Today, many still come over, bringing sweets and gifts or simply just to meet, because somewhere down the line I have touched their heart.
Often, I am the only one standing strong behind them when all of their friends have left them alone in their heaviest times.
It's empowering to work as a lady detective. So to any young girl out there, whoever is reading this, be focused, be like an eagle and be a love detective.
From the 101 East documentary India's Love Detectives. Watch the full film here.
Source: Al Jazeera