As a 10 year old, I used to enjoy watching Swat Kats. Two vigilante cats protecting their city with gadgetry one could only dream of made them two of my childhood heroes. A couple of years later I started watching ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ and since then I’ve been a very big fan of Batman. It’s definitely the best adaptation of the comics. When I started reading Harry Potter, I instantly became an admirer of Dumbledore. His calm demeanour, eccentricity and his magical prowess made him my favourite character in the series. Michael Schumacher and Sachin Tendulkar were other childhood heroes of mine and they still are the people I admire the most in F1 and cricket. However, my admiration toward all these people does not even come close to the respect and admiration I have for one the most eccentric and singular characters in fiction, Sherlock Holmes.

The first story of Holmes I read was an abridged version of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. The 3 other novels and the 56 short stories followed. His methods of deduction by just observing things carefully never failed to surprise me in any of the stories. In ‘A study in Scarlet’, he deduced the height of a man by just looking at the hand prints left behind on a wall! In ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, he was visited by a masked person introducing himself as Count von Kramm, an agent of a wealthy client who wished to be anonymous, but Holmes swiftly deduced that he in fact was the King of Bohemia himself. “Simplicity itself” was what he called his methods of deduction. He is also an expert in disguises, as shown in ‘The Adventure of the Dying Detective’, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, ‘The man with the Twisted Lip’ and many other stories. In ‘The Adventure of the Dying Detective’ he succeeded in making even Watson believe that he was dying. Holmes’ ingenuity in solving crimes, albeit by breaking a few laws at times, is something I’ve always found exciting, even on the 5th or 6th read. As with every book or story, there are certain parts in Holmes’ stories that stand out. For instance, there is a scene in the story ‘The Speckled Band’ in which the character Dr. Roylott, while threatening Holmes, bends an iron poker to try and intimidate him as Holmes maintains a calm demeanour all the while. After Dr. Roylott leaves the place, Holmes picks up the poker and straightens it out. Simply awe inspiring!

This Londoner residing at 221B Baker Street is one the most adored characters ever penned. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created such an iconic detective in Holmes that his legacy continues even to this day. Many of the methods Holmes used to use seem very trivial when read in today’s context. It should be borne in mind that all these stories were written in the late 19th and early 20th century. The technology used to solve crimes these days didn’t exist then. However, it should be noted that Holmesian deduction is a science studied by the Scotland Yard even today.

Every fictional detective is at least partly inspired from Sherlock Holmes. Adrian Monk, the protagonist of the TV show “Monk”, is almost completely inspired from Holmes. Even Dr. Gregory House from “House M.D” is based on Holmes. The building number of House’s home is 221B. He is a Vicodin addict, Holmes was a cocaine addict. House plays the guitar and the piano, Holmes played the violin. House’s only friend and confidante is Wilson, Holmes’ only friend and confidante was Watson.

Conan Doyle had grown sick of writing Holmes’ stories. So sick, that he in fact had killed Holmes and his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty in the story “The Final Problem”. This infuriated the fans so much that because of the pressure, Doyle had to bring back Holmes with the excuse that his death was faked to avoid the wrath of Moriarty’s henchmen. Doyle had created such a legend. Baker Street had no building numbered 221B but on the 27th of March 1990, the Leader of Westminster City Council assigned the address 221B Baker Street to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street. It is not surprising that even now this legacy of Sherlock Holmes lives on and that the childhood hero of many thousands across the world is this violin-playing, pipe-smoking and cocaine-using detective.