was rather bemused, wondering how his friend Vishal could gather such a
piece of information. It was a secret, and he did not remember to have
shared it with anybody, known or unknown. But the way Vishal solved the
issue today proved he was no less than a real thief. After all, one must
think like a thief in order to be able to track a thief down.
lost his purse Badri had a presentiment that something worse was going
to happen to him, for he had also lost his talisman which was inside it.
A saint had given him the talisman which had saved him from every
danger that threatened him ever since he came to posses it. He would not
remember how many occasions he averted an accident just in the nick of
time, how many quarrels he could avoid for the past ten years.
Everything he attributed to the protective power of his talisman. It was
like a shield of blessings working to save him from harm, day in and
day out. He knew what it meant losing his talisman: now he should expect
only bad things to happen to him. They seemed just so much imminent!
God only knew what all were in his fate to endure...
could not explain how he lost his purse. He was sure he did not visit
any crowded marketplace. Oh yes, he had been to the temple and yesterday
there were a good crop of temple-goers. But then again, there was
nothing unusual in it. On top of it, it would be too unfair to blame the
theft on devotees. A temple was a temple, a place of devotion and
goodness. Sometimes, there could be instances of theft of shoes and
sleepers in temple precincts and that was few and far between. Nobody
going to temple could think of actual stealing. Then, how did he lose
Vishal was home in the evening, Badri related the episode of his
missing purse to him. Listening to this, the former went mum for a
minute. It appeared as though he were reminding himself something
serious. Then he said, ‘Well, one should adopt alertness on matters of
one’s purse, even though he is himself a thief.’
had been ten long years the duo were friends. When Badri met Vishal at
the railway station of Tatanagar for the first time, he was working as a
salesman in a motor parts shop. He had been to the station to receive
somebody but the blessed train was inordinately late and he was bored to
death just by waiting endlessly. At that hour of need, Vishal came and
stood on the same bench Badri was sitting. A few moments gone, they
started talking between them. Talk led to talk and before they could
even know it, three short hours had elapsed just like that.
was an unemployed fellow then and it was in search of employment that
he had landed there. It was a common belief among people that Tatanagar
was the place one should go in search of employment. But Vishal had no
technical qualification that could have helped him in getting an
employment with ease. Hence he had to remain content with the job of a
salesman in a small textile shop in the town. Ten years had passed in
the meanwhile, and there was no count of the jobs he had taken up and
left. But at the end of the day one thing remained permanent: it was his
friendship with his buddy Badri.
used to share a room. As for their food, they used to prepare the same
in turn—one day it was in the share of Badri and the other day was the
turn of Vishal. There was an exceptional degree of understanding between
them. When one fell ill, the other would nurse him to health. Give and
take; mutual help and acceptance of each other’s excesses were behind
to everything his friend narrated before him Vishal said, ‘Stop
regretting, my friend, and take a lesson from this. Theft takes place,
even in temples.’
fact, Badri was yet to tell his friend that he had visited the temple
the previous day. He was surprised, ‘Oh yes, I had been to the temple
yesterday, but then how did you come to know about that? Maybe, theft
had taken place there.’ Badri was not particularly interested in getting
a reply to the query he posed. With a sigh he continued, ‘I’m not so
unhappy because my purse has gone with the amount of two hundred rupees
in it. Rather I’m unhappy because....’
knew his friend had an unreasonable degree of faith in things like
luck, bad omen. Blind belief in him was so much entrenched that a mere
loss of purse had sent him to a state of utter restlessness. In fact
Badri was apprehending that something catastrophic was going to befall
him. He might meet with an accident or maybe he would lose his job the
next day. Even if nothing of this sort happened to him, he might even
lose his parents. The saint that gave him the talisman had warned him
‘Why are you such a superstitious fellow, Badri? Ok, let me do something for you,’ offered Vishal.
‘What can you do now? Can anybody get back one’s purse from a pickpocket?’ Badri gave out a sigh of frustration.
‘Certainly. Something can be done even now...and I know what should be done,’ uttered Vishal with confidence of a know-all.
the duo went to the post office situated near the temple of Lord
Hanuman. They were interested in the information if a red purse was
found in the letter box. The staff from the post office replied in a
matter-of-fact tone, ‘It’s true we sometimes get stuffs like key bunch,
purse, I-card, driving licence, but as for today, no such thing has been
accompanied by his friend Badri went inside the post office. At the far
corner of the hall lay the materials retrieved from the letter boxes.
Both the friends inspected the stuffs one by one but of no avail.
Really, there was no purse among them. So, quietly they left for another
post office in the neighbourhood.
this manner, after doing the rounds of three post offices in the
locality, Badri was able to trace it. But the postmaster would not so
easily part with it, at least not before the owner presented an
unassailable proof of the ownership of the object. And what could Badri
say in support of his ownership? He just stated that there was a
talisman inside the purse. On hearing this, the postmaster opened the
purse and was satisfied about the evidence. Along with the talisman he
found a currency note of one hundred rupees too.
What sort of a thief he was, who left money in the purse he abandoned!’
the postmaster guffawed as he inspected the purse a little minutely.
Sir, the note in your hand is torn a bit and the same has been there in
my purse for two months or so,’ Badri added as if to rationalise the
conduct of the pickpocket.
I know what this pickpocket is up to! He knows what to take and what
not to...and on top of everything else, he knows the difference between a
real note and a fake one,’ blabbed Vishal. An I-know-it-all smile
played across his face.
fact Badri had not revealed to anybody that the note in his purse was a
fake one. He would not know how he came to possess that, but now more
baffling development had taken place before him. How the hell his friend
came to know about the note in his purse?
Badri looked on his friend with a mysterious stare. And simultaneously
he kept wondering, ‘Isn’t a period of ten long years enough to know a
A. N. Nanda