Something stolen…

It’s been an interesting year so far. More lows than ups. Or maybe, to be fair, more lows than previous years. The ups have been there alright. The last few months especially have exposed me to a new kind of experience, of stuff being stolen. Not exactly new, have been used to it in school and college, but those were different. Probably didn’t rankle as much.

It started a couple of months back. Lazy September afternoon. After laundry, parents had taken over and put it out to dry in the ground floor clothesline. Around afternoon it was put back after a brief fear of rains. After my parents had their nap, around 4 PM, we looked out and a sweater and pair of jeans were gone. I looked around for it having fallen off, but it was clearly stolen. Living in a silent residential area means that around noon there is hardly any people movement around. A good time to perch yourself on a one inch projection where compound wall meets foundation, squeeze your hand through the grill and squeeze a couple of clothes out. The gap between the all-round grill is barely 4″ X 4″.

The sweater was a normal diamond patterned one. Not something I wore much and had put out to wash only so that I could show it more favour. The jeans hurt. I barely have 4-5 pairs of jeans and am extremely choosy about jeans. I don’t have any other trousers, working in a product company. Have never had more than that, and believe in an out-flow in-flow approach. You stop using or lose a pair to age or girth, you buy a new one. This one was a Levi’s 501 I had picked up in the US on a sale. Even there the sale was barely 4$ out of 48$, costing around Rs. 2.5K. They cost well above 3K in India and never come on any sale here. It hurt. The effort to choose it and having come on sale, all that. I still haven’t been able to replace it and probably won’t for a while.

The next one happened a day back. Evening commute. 500K Volvo. Crowded bus. I get in as there are no other options. Colleague with me, so didn’t wear earphones, talking to him. Someone gets in at Agara and stands close to me. Apparently been running, so stinking of sweat. Me and colleague both turn our heads away from him. Next stop, HSR layout, he gets down. Next stop, Silk board, I realize my phone is gone. Just like that, it was gone! That was all there was to it – one moment yours, next moment someone else’s.

Had to spend the rest of the day asking people to keep an eye on whatsapp if he manages to get in etc. I did the usual – blocked outgoing calls, set it up to be wiped if he went online. I had a passcode so he wouldn’t have got in. But then, you don’t steal a Rs 35K phone just to look at someone’s personal data. Thankfully my contacts info etc had been backed up. All I need to do on buying a new phone is to restore from there and go back to where I was.

Now am limping back to some degree of normalcy. A duplicate sim has been got, the old dumb-phone dusted out and recharged. But it still hurts. Getting used to living without a smartphone again is not easy. Every time I see the charger cable or reach out for the phone subconsciously to check mail, twitter or whatsapp, it hurts. So much taken for granted, gone poof. Just like that. Stolen.

It’s not a pleasant feeling. Something that you had, something that you got after much coveting, all of a sudden taken away by someone. It’s plain unfair! A less mature time and I would have cursed “May it bring him bad luck and destroy him completely – Naashama pogattum!”. What do you do now? Suck it up and move on I guess. Guess I have also been helped by friends who have given a saner perspective. “Sorry about that. But what’s the next phone? :)” they ask. In the end that’s all there is to it. Yes, it cost a lot of money. But monetary losses are stuff which you go through all the time, along with sudden windfalls which balance them out. As certain as death and taxes.

But I will have to get another smartphone – I need it for the long commute. There’s a lot of reading that I get done during that time, makes the long commute productive. Plus the music. Might just have to be more careful in future. Plug in the music all the time inside the bus. If with colleagues or friends, still keep the earphones on. Phones being stolen on BMTC buses is not an uncommon occurrence. They get stolen all the time. Just need to keep an eye out.

My colleague told me about his manager’s story. He caught a thief trying to flick his phone in a crowded BMTC bus and slapped him around. The rest looked on curiously. Thief got down at next stop and walked away, to try his luck in another bus. The rewards clearly outweigh the risks. All you can do is be more careful, to the point of being paranoid, especially when standing in crowded buses. Especially Volvos.

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