The Foiled Robbery

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“He was hard to miss, with his neon hoody.”

“I will be back before you know it, Maxie,” I said cajolingly to Maxwell. Maxwell was my dog, and sole companion in my apartment. I could not close the door to leave for the bank because his head stuck out. After a few shoves from my side and a few grunts from his, I managed to shut the door.

I did my routine check of the mailbox and patted a boy who seemed to perpetually be playing in the lobby, every time I passed it. I needed to draw a few thousand rupees from the bank as I was low on cash. I fished around in my pockets for my credit card and found it in my left shirt pocket. Another perpetuity in my life was that the nearest ATM was always out of order and I had to go to the bank to draw cash.

Naturally, there was a long line at the counter. I stood in line behind a tall woman, in and office outfit. She was presumably very well-to-do. She wore a white skirt, a pink shirt and a white jacket over it. She had a light complexion, brown eyes and brown hair to go with them. A beige coloured purse was slung over her right shoulder and she held a large mobile phone in her left hand.

My attention went to a man behind me in the line. He kept taunting the fish in a huge fish-tank that was apparently a new addition to the bank’s interiors. The woman ahead of me drew one lakh rupees and I cursed myself for listening but there was only so much you could do for privacy when the ATM was out of order. I drew five thousand rupees and sat beside the woman, recounting my money.

The woman left before me and I saw her in the distance, walking swiftly. What caught my attention was an incongruous figure walking behind her. He was hard to miss, with his neon hoody. Co – incidentally, the three of us took the same turn on Main Street. He followed her everywhere. I managed to get closer to the man and saw the figure of a gun in his pant pocket pressed against his body. He moved up beside the woman, caught her left arm, and moved her into an alley.

Continue reading “The Foiled Robbery”

Commotion at the Railway Station

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“I sat on a stray bench…”

It was a hot summer day at Nagpur Railway Station. I sat on a stray bench, on a stray platform, beside a stray dog, as I watched the railway tracks glisten in the sun. I was waiting for the Mumbai – bound train to arrive. A thick bead of sweat ran down my cheek, neck and down my shirt. The gradual increase in the rattle of the tracks told me of the arrival of a train. It passed through without stopping and evidently wasn’t the train I was here for. Just as I had seen the last bogey disappear from the station, I thought I heard the shrill cry of a man.

I dismissed the thought as a random mixup of various noises of the train. A few minutes later, however, I saw a crowd gathering at the far end of the station, their murmurs growing louder with each passing minute, till it was no longer ignorable. As I figured I had at least a few more minutes before my train arrived, I decided to head over and see the cause of the commotion.

What I saw, eliminated the thought from my head, that the cry I had heard, earlier was just my imagination. It appeared a man had indeed emitted the cry. He now lay at the centre of the huddle of people that I had seen when I sat on the stray bench, beside the stray dog.

He was very young, probably in his mid – twenties. His entire left side was covered in blood – unfortunately his own – and his hand looked like it had been fastened by the uncoordinated hands of a four – year old. The left side of his face was devoid of most natural features and his sinew and blood vessels were clearly visible. His legs ‘looked’ fine, but an elderly man’s attempt at making him stand up, ruled out that fact very gruesomely, for we heard a loud crack from the man’s knees. His entire appearance gave a very vivid feeling and I began feeling sick in the stomach, the more I looked at the man.

For some time, I stood there watching, in complete disbelief. After a while, the people wanted to move the man to a safer place, probably the ticket – booth, where first aid could be administered. Some people had already rung up the boy’s brother, whose telephone number he had produced. It seemed as if he did not want to disclose his carelessness’s consequences to his parent(s). I helped the younger lot of the crowd to carry the man to the ticket – booth and just as I had finished doing so I saw the train, my train, rumble and grumble into the station. It let out a satisfying hissing sound as it did so.

I sprinted back to the stray bench to find the stray dog circling my bag and baggage as if loyally guarding it. I always kept some dry fruits in my shirt pocket. Smiling, I tossed a few groundnuts at the dog, despite knowing his taste, patted him on the head, picked up my bags and walked to the train door. I looked back at the stray platform, stray bench and the stray dog sniffing the groundnuts, said a small prayer for the injured man and boarded the train.