Saturday, August 11, 2007

S-H-O-C-K!!!


S-H-O-C-K. Was the expression on my face as I stood outside the entrance of Padma Condiments and stared foolishly at the now empty spot where 5 minutes ago I had parked my brand new sparkling Crimson Red Pulsar 180 DTSi, The Back seat still had a fresh chalk mark from the showroom that exclaimed ‘SOLD R/-’. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Could this be? I asked myself…is this really true?? She was gone. - Vanished into thin air in the middle of the night like Cinderella.

I kicked myself mentally in the butt for leaving someone as beautiful as her unprotected to the night – even if it was only just for a couple of minutes; I had left her unlocked and vulnerable… My complacent ignorance to the conniving night and its methods had brought me and thrown me hard into reality to painfully swallow the situation. As I swallowed (the situation, some spit) I warped from shock to disbelief to despair till I reached a cold but somehow comfortable silent mental numbness…I decided she couldn’t have gone too far After all I still had the key, she wasn’t exactly light to push with her belly FULL of delicious petrol which I had but proudly and now I felt, quite stupidly filled into the spoilt brat’s tank with almost half my month’s allowance.

Padma Condiments is a small but efficient departmental store on the corner of the 1st Cross off the Medical Hostel Road in Davangere, the only store which gives you ice cold Mountain Dew at 11.50 pm. They pay the cops to stay open after 11 (shhh). The store was very close to my batchmate and friend’s apartment building…

I had just met Pygmy Puff and our mentor Dr. Aditya Chowti (Chow) who is a House Surgeon (we call them Howzies) in Puff’s 3rd floor apartment…Chow had brought along with him a friend Dr.Hardik Choudhry, a PG in Ophthalmology … We were discussing random stuff at Puff’s place till we decided that it was getting rather late and we should leave poor Puff to his pillow, Puff is a traditional early bird…

I went down to the apartment parking lot, got onto her - my new lovely, my dad’s gift for being Nineteen and good, I started her up…I loved her sound in the parking lot, the closed space magnified and reverberated her 1-week old thunder…Happily I rode out of the gate on her back and got off her three buildings away at Padma’s to quench after laughing and babbling myself dry upstairs, not realizing that as I drank the cool sparkling Mountain Dew, I was being robbed…

I paid the old man sitting behind the cash counter in his lungi, thanked him and stepped out of the shop to my emotional bereavement… Shocked,I first traced my way back along 1st cross searching, and then along medical hostel road…no avail… I notice a shady looking boy, about 14 year old scrutinizing me from behind a grilled gate in a dark corridor housing a staircase right next to the shop.I ask him if he saw my bike… First he says he hasn’t. Then he says he saw a youth in a black t-shirt sit on it and push it downhill towards the boys hostel.It is quite possible... Someone possibly one of my friend’s idea of a practical joke.But something in me cant half believe him. It looks really suspicious doesn’t it? What is this 14 year old doing up past midnight watching from behind this dark grill gate?


I call Puff…RING RING RING RING RING RING RING “The Airtel number you have called has not replied, please try again… later”

Again…

RING RING RING RING RING RING RING RING RING

Puff: “Ay wat the hell… its past 12”
Me: “Hey my bike's been stolen”
Puff: "Huh??!?”
Me: “Its gone!"
Puff: ..............
Me: "Hello???"
Puff: “What?”
Me: “Bike's been flicked”
Puff: "Haha Yeah right!!”
Me: "COMMON! TRY AND BE SERIOUS”….”
Puff: !........
Puff: “Ok then. Hold on I'll be down in a minute”

Minutes later Dr. Chow and Puff on Chow’s Aquamarine Blue Karizma and Dr.Hardik on his Black Splendor emerge from the apartment gate and stop in front of me…Puff’s eyes look puffy…Chow’s eyes look chewy… Dr.Hardik’s eyes look hard into mine “where did you park it?”…”There” I point, ”Where is it?”…”Gone” I say…”you left the key in it?”….”No.i just left the handle unlocked” I cant hide the guilt in my voice…we notice three middle aged men standing at the grilled gate with the boy now…Chow decides to question them

Dr.Hardik and I follow the shady boy’s instruction and go downhill Medical Hostel Road to first check the UG boys hostel parking lot….Hundreds of bikes…Yet none of them a spanking new Crimson Red Pulsar 180 DTSi…
We check and recheck and re-recheck all the bikes…nope….
We check the PG men’s hostel parking lot…..nope….
We comb each and every one of the 12 crosses of MCC ‘B’ Block adjoining the medical hostel road slowly…there are so many places a bike can be hidden…..nope again…
We try continuing further downhill on medical hostel road till the end where we see 2 autos…I approach the 1st auto driver and ask him if he saw someone pushing a red bike…he says he saw someone pushing it uphill!!! His breath smells of alcohol…

Dr.Hardik is finally at his wits end….its well past 1.30 am . “Lets go to the police” he says…SUICIDE!! Everyone knows the Davangere Police especially at odd hours are as crooked as the thieves who stole whatever they stole in the first place…. First they’ll extract cash from you, then information about you, then SOME MORE cash from you…Then only if they feel there is enough cash at the end of all that they may actually move and do something, and if they actually do something right and find it ,they will want EVEN MORE cash before they show it to you. Even if what they show BELONGS TO YOU they will want SOME MORE cash to give it to you…Some of my hostel mates have had bad experiences.

I explain this to Dr.Hardik…He reasons that it would be cheaper paying the cops 500 rupees 4 times, than paying auto everyday for the next four-and-a-half years…I slowly agree,…we see Chow and Puff approaching…we all head back up the hostel road towards the police station…
“Do you have the registration papers” Dr.H asks, I don’t reply…I just realized to my horror that I haven’t even learnt the registration number of my one week old bike yet and it is gone….

We cross the boys hostel at a good speed and approach the Padma Condiment cross, following Chow’s lead we cross Padma condiments, the 3 men are still there at the grilled gate…We cross them and approach the Main Road where we should turn left to head towards the police station…All of a sudden Dr.Hardik swerves to the right to avoid Chow…Chow had suddenly stopped in front of us before the main road and turned back…Dr.H is mouthing curse words…We turn back and ride to a halt next to Chow’s bike which has stopped diagonally on the wrong side of the road facing into a gap between the wall of the building with the grilled gate and the wall of the next building – an under-construction Bungalow . I can feel the three shady men at the grill gate gaze at us like hawks. Deep in the gap between the walls of these two adjacent buildings is a Bike!!!

Its Crimson Red…. It’s a Pulsar 180 DTSi…Phew!!!

Time to learn the registration number

And yeah… I got kicked nicely by the guys in the hostel later on for being so careless and irresponsible…Its still hurting…Had I not been lucky enough for Chow to gaze into that gap between the two buildings at that moment and spot something…the bike, by the next morning would have been untraceable with new number plates, new ignition. new locks, and a new owner with a free tank full of petrol (19 litres)…The chassis number would have been scratched out or modified to fit new papers…I would have meanwhile spent the rest half of my monthly allowance on the police and would have had to live on air for the remaining part of the month and will have most certainly died of starvation and self-pity.

8 comments:

Golden Glaciers said...

Exquisite detail...gripping till the very end...excellent split narrative...
MASTERPIECE!!

vaccinatedtarantula-II said...

Oi thanks Bharath!! i love the way you watch the tarantula even when it appears to be showing no signs of activity...thangu maams...

MM said...

Phew... WHAT a story! And so very well told!
Chow's eyes looked chewy? Hahahaha!
Thank the lord you found it in the end!

Vaccinated Tarantula who owes Chow big time said...

Chow's eyes certainly looked CHEWY at 12:25 a.m that night, he had clinics the next morning but since he is one of the sweetest seniors our college has seen, he went out of his way to save the situation. I owe him a big time treat for what he did. Unfortunately Chow finished the course and left for bangalore shortly after this happened and is currently busy preparing for his PG entrance exams... The treat is still pending.Hope to catch him sometime soon.

Gajendra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gajendra said...

imagine how your dad would have felt,.......and reacted..!!
tehehee

vaccinatedtarantula-II said...

sriously cant imagine dude.. :-)

Gajendra said...

:)