Back in 2002, I had come to Panchkula from Mumbai on a vacation right after the close of my MBA semester exams. I was lazing-off in the winter sun wishing why the sun shouldn’t be like this all year and in Mumbai too, when my mom called from inside and asked me to get some grocery from the local market. Cribbing and grumbling about getting up and going out, I wore a jacket, straightened my hair with fingers, took the car keys and drove to the market. After the shopping, as I moved towards the car, I was bumped into by a couple of guys and I was like… watch your step boys and moved on dreaming about lying face down in the sun again in about 5 mins time.
So, in about 5 mins, I was back to my original routine of lazing in the sun, when there was another distraction. The newspaper boy wanted to get paid and I reached for my jacket to fetch my wallet out. Not there. I checked the inside pockets, jammies, boxers, my bed-side, car’s dash-board, under the car seat… nowhere… I went back to the shop to check but no luck and I knew why 2 guys bumped into me out of nowhere. I was robbed!!!
Next what? What all did I have in there??? About 1000-1200 in cash, a debit card, credit card, College ID, PAN card, driver’s license, a few important visiting cards, my return ticket to Mumbai, a dry-cleaning bill, Hanuman Chalisa, soap strips, and a little loose change. All panicked and not knowing where to start with, I called the bank to hold the cards and went to the dry-cleaners shop to identify my clothes so that he doesn’t hand them over to the thieves.
I came home, had my lunch and was then going to the Police Station to get an FIR registered for the PAN card and the driver’s license. As I drove the car out of the drive-way, I noticed a small brown duct-taped parcel lying in the garden between the marigolds and the dog-flowers. I picked the parcel and as I removed the duct-tape, I realized that it was my wallet all ruined now because of the tape and inside was everything that was there in my wallet without the money and with a small piece of paper saying, “I just needed the money”
It must’ve been a 2 hours since the theft took place and I had everything back except the money and a usable wallet, but the thief was considerable enough to check my address from the Driver’s License and save me from the effort of running around getting new documents made and in turn saved me about 3-4 days of effort running around govt. offices and + Rs. 2-3K. In short, he saved my vacation.
And I was confused, very confused… My dilemma was whether to be angry with him for robbing me or being grateful to him for saving my vacation. In the end, I thought that he did bad, but he saved it for becoming very bad. I wanted to refer him with mixed feelings, angry while being grateful. So, I called him “The Honest Thief”