The Theft (Churi)

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is 11th April. Three days more and there will be "Nababarsha", the bengali New Year. Every shop has been offering "SALE". Every shop has been overcrowded all over the city of Kolkata, especially those places where there are numerous stall of different commodities on the footpath. On these footpath one will find everything they need, though mainly garments, one can find utensils, toys, sunglasses, glass made materials, CD & DVDs, magazines, handicrafts, photos, and more, and more. As it is a custom to wear new garments on the eve of the bengali new year, the "SALE" is on for garments mostly, and therefore most of the people are attracted into the garment shops. The crowd is mostly of the middle class and lower middle class of people who want to buy something special for their near and dear ones but do not have the financial ease to visit the nearby shopping malls. Those people who can buy something from the branded showroom in this occasion for a reduction of price up to 70% - 80%.

It is a summer evening and the clock at the head of one of the renowned theater at the "HatiBagan" is nearing to 45 minutes past 9 PM. This market is located at the famous five point crossing of "Shyam Bazar", north kolkata. This place is as overcrowded as can be. The five point crossing is always high in traffic and due to the crowd of people roaming and shopping and coming out from the four nearby movie theaters, the traffic is pretty slow.

Shamit was happy today. He is traveling with his family. Though it is around 10 PM and they need to hurry to home, he stopped on a nearby pan thela, a small shop selling pan,cigarettes, cold drinks, etc. He asked the shopkeeper to serve them some Coca-Cola, Sprite and Maaza. His wife Monali likes Sprite as it is color less and their 6 year old daughter likes Mazaa for the test of mango. Shamit and his wife Monali was carrying a couple of carry bags in each hands. They bought the gifts and garments for themselves as well as their relatives.

"The saris we have bought for your mother and my mother are really great. They are of great value for money and also looks gorgeous" said Monali. "And the two jeans you bought from Koutons showroom are really good". Shamit felt happy with these comments from his wife. He visited the nearby ATM to withdraw 4500 INR from his account, the most he could at this month at this time. He thought that the money will not be sufficient to purchase the garments they have planned, he was a bit tensed. Actually keeping one's wife content with the purchases you make is always very difficult. Specially if the wife is a "demanding" kind. But, Monali is a real exception to this. She is always happy from the small purchases made for her husband and daughter than for her own. Shamit nowadays tries to learn the secret of happiness from Monali. Even after a long married life of 8 years for now, Monali is still a wonder to his life. His happy family secret is Monali herself and from his hearts core he loves her very much. After all the purchases they made, Shamit had around 700 INR remaining in his pocket and was in a plan to take a taxi home.

"Dhur sala... life ta hell hoye gelo", Damn it, life has become hell, thought Manas as known as Bete (Short). Though he is nicknamed as "Short", he is 175 cm tall, strong built and very black complexioned guy. Hanging on the rod of the bus he works for and shouting a thousand times the next destinations of the bus he works for, he was really felt thirsty. The "SAIL" is going to be over, but the "malik", - owner of the bus has not offered them the bonus he promised to his staff for the "Nababarsha" occasion. "You people are thieves. You regularly steal the money from the actual sale of the bus and load extra passengers. So, I am not going to pay you any bonus this time. Of course, I shall pay the 'Durga Pujo' - bonus, when its time." He declared the other day. "Why? The other rout staff are getting as much as 300INR from their owners end, why not us? At least pay us the 250INR you promised the other day." argued Bete. "Don't talk mauch Bete, or I shall fire you", the owners last declaration in front of the ten other staff of different bus of the owner was a shock to the ears of Bete. It's not that he is always well treated by the owner. They are all habituated to hear the slangs everyday, but the way BiswajitDa, the bus owner said him about firing him if required, really scared him a bit. Yes, it's fact that they travel with some extra passengers for extra money which they never show to the owner and divide between themselves. It's also true that these days, as there are more passengers, the money is more and they get a better share, but that is a different ball game. If somebody has promised something and is not paying that in time, that is very unethical and a kind of theft.And if he is trying to protest the same, he is not doing anything wrong.

Bete's wife Mini was pressing hard for the last few days to buy some new frocks for their daughter and a sari for her own. With the 2800 INR, Bete gets as his salary from this bus and around 700 INR of extra income is not really enough for these purchases at this time of the month. He got this job only for six months and he had to pay the left out rents for their room to the landlord. Though he can do the purchase on any day, the rest of the month may become very hard for them. Mini works for some houses as house maid and she earns around 2200 INR every month and she has also received some bonus money from her bosses. So, she wants to go out one day to buy the things herself, but Bete didn't agree. "If I cannot buy the things myself, keep your money, I am not going to buy them with your money." that was his viewpoint. He was also against Mini's decission to start working as house maid once again, but finally had to allow her to work thinking of their financial condition. He knew and everybody residing nearby knew that he loves his wife very much.

"Let's hire a taxi." Shamit suggested. "Why waste money the buses are no more that crowded, let's go by bus. Hey, one is coming..." Monali hurried. The helper boy of the bus helped Monali in, he also took their daughter in and asked Shamit to get in. "Dada uthe parun taratari..." get up quickly brother, the bus will not stop. Shamit, with the handful of packets in his left hand, struggled to catch the rod of the bus with his right hand. He was running slowly as the bus started speeding slowly and taking a turn at the five point crossing of "Shyam Bazar". He kept his legs on the last pedestal of the rear door of the bus the helper boy is hanging behind him, and suddenly he felt he is being pick pocketed. He was totally helpless, only thing he could do is shout, "chor chor - the thief the thief".

Bete helped the man in and found the same guy shouting for the pick pocket. Instantly he tracked the right person with his previous experiences. The middle aged man in brown colored shirt, getting off from the bus started walking in high speed towards the five point crossing. His target is to ride another speeding bus and get away from the place. Bete started running after that man shouting "Dharun Dharun ... pocketmar" - catch the man please the pick pocket. Some shopkeepers after their tiring schedule of selling on the foot path were having a chat in front of a closed showroom. They also rightly tracked the man in brown shirt and started following. Finally the aged man ran into the traffic police camp to save himself from the mob. He was instantly pulled out from the angry mob and Bete started hitting him right away. "You bastard. Stealing money." he shouted. With all his anger and might he hit the thief on his face. The thief's face was bleeding from the blow and he threw away the purse of Shamit. Police intervened and the thief was saved from mob violence.

Shamit was totally dumbstruck for a few minutes. He, not only lost his money, but also the ATM cards, some non-reimbursed medical bills, some address cards. He could not decide what to do. Then he heard from the other passengers that some people started chasing the thief and then he realized that the bus has been stopped. "Hey man. This must be yours." the black complexioned guy handed him his lost purse. The man is carrying the bag of money as the bus conductors. Oh, that is the bus helper guy. Shamit started coming out of the shock. "Please check if everything is OK", the man said. "Yes, yes... ", Shamit hurried to find the ATM cards and the money. Monali came beside him.

"Wait", Shamit said to Bete. "You deserve a reward," he offered 350INR to Bete. "This is half of the amount I had in my purse, this is for you." "No, thanks", Bete replied, "Hater sukh to peyechi - I had a hand on the thief. That's enough for me to be happy with." "No, that is from your end and this is from mine, if you don't take this, I shall be very unhappy. Please buy something for your family with this." said Shamit. The other passengers also agreed with Shamit and insisted Bete to receive the money. Finally Bete could not avoid and had to receive the money from Shamit, and though it was not an end of a theater show,everybody around in the bus started clapping for Bete.The bus started to move again. Hopefully, it will be a real happy bengali new year for everybody.


Anonymous April 29, 2009 at 8:55 PM  

Hi, you have a very usefull blog!
Great job!
Keep going!

By Arcadia

Shankha April 29, 2009 at 9:30 PM  

Thanks Arcadia, will try to do my best all the time.

Poulomi April 30, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

this is a tiny glimpse of our eventful beutiful life.....

dhimas130184 May 1, 2009 at 8:31 PM  

great blog, it very nice, keep going i will be back
comment back please

Shankha May 1, 2009 at 8:42 PM  

Thanks ... I am trying hard to write real good stories.

abhijit bera May 2, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

good,this was a better effort comparing with the earlier twos,just add some spices so that'll stay in your mind even after....

Shankha May 2, 2009 at 10:01 PM  

Thanks Avijit, but I liked the older two than this one myself. Thanks for your comments. :)

Amitava May 4, 2009 at 5:39 PM  

The idea and skeleton of the stories are extremely good. But may be, paying a little attention to spelling and proper usage of words, would add more value to your blogs. Most importantly, the abrupt endings have a very subtle yet long lasting impact on the mind. Hoping to read more such stories in the near future.

Shankha May 6, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

You are right Amitava, sometimes I am in a difficulty to find the appropriate word. I am trying my best to publish more stories as soon as possible. Thanks for the comment. Please carry on reading. :)

Anonymous May 13, 2009 at 4:05 PM  

The simple most incident of life how beautifully becomes a story. Good work! Carry on!


HANNAH May 19, 2009 at 4:16 PM  

You have such a gift in writing stories....

agnitrisha October 5, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

you have captured the taste of bengal expertly..

Jodhpuri suit August 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM  

i do pretty much the exact same thing, local vhosts and all. taking nightly backups of /home is easy with rsync, so when anything goes awry, i just pull down the folder from my vps. since the cronjob itself is in the folder, even my backup script gets backed up. what ide do you use?

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