The incessant alarm got the better of my drooping eyelids, and I willed them to open, before half-heartedly leaving the cozy coves of my bed in the middle of the night. As it turns out, somebody’s car alarm had gone off, and would not stop. Evidently, this was not the owner. But how do we decide what to do?
In the safe confines of our home, the course of action was unanimous: Go out and see who it is. I hold the supreme glory of casting doubts over everybody’s aura of confidence by suggesting that the thief may be armed, could even have a gun, since guns are so easy to procure in the country. The story was now different – I watched the cloud of doubt waver and hang thickly over our heads. From brave strides, I watched the strides diminish to stealthy tiptoes, and “see who it is” deteriorated to “sneak a peak“!
The security agency was summoned, and I went to bed, musing about another episode, that had an entire street out in the early morning cold when a thief frequented our home in Chennai.
Belonging to the water-starved population of Chennai, my mother-in-law was extremely sensitive to the sound of gushing water. This unfortunate thief stumbled upon a pot of water, and set off that exact alarm. It was around 5 a.m., and soon the household was abuzz with trepidation.
“AHOI! AHOI!“, screamed the menfolk into the darkness of the night, obviously in a bid to frighten the thief away.
The men conducted a meeting downstairs to gauge the movement and whereabouts of this fellow, while I was a silent observer of the goings-on from the balcony above. I observed that the men who proclaimed the loudest, that the best option was to storm into the backyard, were the ones farthest away from the backyard. Furthermore, they showed no signs of budging from their positions of command. The self-proclaimed early riser was busy defending his stance that he was up at usual at 4:30 a.m., and did not hear anything.
After a while, I heard a faint rumble. It grew louder and louder: I was alone upstairs, and had not much choice. I made up my mind on the next course of action, and briskly walked towards the dimly lit kitchen.
My stomach could stand the rumblings no longer, and I treated myself to a couple of hot dosas while the commotion slowly died down.
With the dosas in my tummy, I mused about the unfortunate plight and high stress levels of the career paths of thieves. They also share a queer relationship with society: Society fears them, and they fear Society.