Part I can be read here
5 a.m. The early morning wake-up call wasn’t helping. Neither was the filter coffee, made out of Kenyan Arabica beans (procured at a idiotically premium amount from the Starbucks outlet at my office) that tasted as similar as the local Matunga based coffee powder. I wisely turn down the thought to go down and check if by any divine luck, the auto driver would have had a change of heart and returned the purse. Nada – that’s not happening for sure.
7:15 a.m. The maid comes in, with a bit of gleam in her eyes, certainly more than any other day; after all it was the end of the month; it’s pay-day. And just the day earlier she had requested this month’s payment in cash (now you understand why a purse that generally has peanuts in cash was holding thousands of rupees; ah the sweet irony of it). I update her about the situation; more important – the lack of a working card meant I really couldn’t give her money in cash. Her face falls. Then for the first time, in her 6+ years of working at my place, she makes a valuable comment
“Bhaiya, aap ne CCTV check kiya?“
“Haan bhaiya, woh hain na gate pae camera... Usme pata chalega auto ka number“
BRILLIANT! Honestly, I could have kissed her for that piece of information (Disclaimer: no way that was going to happen). I get up to go down when she makes shares another piece of valuable information (seriously, this lady is on fire! How does she know all this?)
“Woh society office abhi nahi khula hoga. 10 baje khulta hai“
I still run down to check the angle of the cameras. Yup, she was right. Infact there were two cameras at different angles. No way am I going to miss the auto. Our bengali babu who just arrives looks at me with a weird look (seriously he needs to relook his profession; all that time spent, and he couldn’t figure out to bring up the cameras even once?) I ask him if these cameras are active to which he stutters and stammers that he’s not sure. Of course. Not that I expected him to know.
I drop a chat to the office team on the new findings. I literally hear a groan from my boss (he understands I ain’t going to be in office till af’noon without me saying it). Well, waddyaknow, maybe today might turn out to be a good day, for multiple reasons.
10 A.M. Dheeraj, the security admin is at his seat with all the camera up and running. I inform him on the situation. He whips up the keyboard, punches in a few keys and voila, we are looking at yesterday’s video recording – I’m making the payment and I walk inside. Like a formula 1 car, the auto makes a 180 degree turn and heads out. And right there, right at the 133rd angle of turn, a brown colored object falls out. As if on cue, a security guard walks up and picks up the object and quickly turns back disappearing out of the camera’s view. Incredibly, I’m still in the camera’s view in the bottom corner, doing the walk towards my block; all while this has happened.
Dheeraj switches off the application, with a wide grin on his face. I just made his day, probably his week or even the month. Events like these are rare for him – where his job description responsibilities are actually realized. He gets to be the hero – the Sherlock who just solved the nation’s biggest mystery. I stammer – asking him if we can zoom in; look at the security guy’s face, any more details that we can use…
“Nahi sir, muje pata hai woh kaun hai. Aap chaliye, abhi purse dilata hu“
We walk out towards the gate, and then move ahead to the building opposite to us. The security guard looks up to Dheeraj and comes to the gate. Pat comes his tort
“Arre woh purse dena, jo tune kal shyaam ko paanch baje uthaya“
The guard looks as if he’s just been asked to handover his kidneys “Sir, kaunsa purse….“
“Arre hamne dekha camera pae, tumhara chehra pura dikh raha hai. Ab time waste mat karo”
Boy, was he in his element or what! Our hero’s been watching too many detective shows, methinks.
And the guard gives up. All pretense. Tells the purse has been handed over to the office “as-it-is” and the admin is out. Says he’ll personally come and hand it over by lunch.
Dheeraj looks at me with a look that ACP Pradyuman would have had trouble beating, that was literally shouting out to whoever was listening I’m da man, yea am I da man or what! I tell both of them that were 3 credit cards, 2 debit cards, 2 DLs and about nearly ~5k cash. Dheeraj reaffirms this point to the guard again and we walk away.
Elementary, my dear Watson.
Note: The purse was returned later in the afternoon. The cards and IDs were all there, so was present the other useless stuff. The cash? Only 700 Rs left. Apparently that’s all that was in the purse. No amount of threats
(complaints to society chairman, police station complaints, etc) could improve the situation. Ah well, you can’t win them all. Atleast I got to avoid office for most of the day. Yay, for the small things in life.