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The Theft

About Aparna Mondal

Aparna Mondal was born and brought up in Kolkata. Presently she lives in Mumbai with her family. She always loved nature and that prompted her to study Biological Sciences. She loves to paint landscape and nature. Her other hobbies are reading, photography, travelling, making costume jewellery, acting, swimming. She has recently developed a special interest in putting her thoughts into writing. Making new friends and interacting with them make her feel loved.

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Prologue :

 

When I was a small child my father built a house at Behala in Kolkata. Those were the days when Behala was not very crowded. There were open spaces and meadows with mango and coconut trees. There used to be thickets of shrubs and bamboo trees with holes of foxes and at night we could hear their calls.

 

Part 1

My father always loved gardening and there was a beautiful garden with seasonal and perennial flowering plants in his garden which surrounded the house on three sides. Our house was the only house in the middle of open meadows with a few more houses scattered afar. It was thus like a haven of peace for us. We never heard of robberies or thefts during those days. But with urbanisation comes unwanted side effects. With the passage of time we get to acquire different experiences and the story today is about one such incident which gave us a jolt.

It was on a Saturday evening that my parents took me to watch a movie called “Sonar Kella”. This was a detective movie by none other than Satyajit Ray. The movie theatre was not far off. We enjoyed the movie, ate out after that, did some shopping and then headed home.
“Arunda! Rush home at once, your home has been ransacked by robbers!” We heard somebody yelling at us as we took the lane leading to our home from Natunpara Bus stop. We turned around to realise that it was Sen uncle, our neighbour, who excitedly informed us about the misfortune that was awaiting us. He also added that the thieves had looted and escaped with the booty, keeping the front door ajar and many outsiders had entered the house.
“Arunda, don’t worry. I have kept my brother posted there to prevent random people from picking up the remaining belongings of yours. I have also informed the police and they are expected anytime now,” were the next words that Sen uncle said to my father.

We never expected that after watching a detective movie, a real life incident of theft would be awaiting us. With apprehensive minds we arrived home to find that our peaceful abode was occupied by people we had never seen before. We felt like strangers in our own house. Wading through the crowd, we ultimately managed to get inside the house. People from all over the neighbourhood had poured in to get a glimpse of something, which was then considered to be the talk of the town.

Indeed, this incident remained the talk of the town for a long time. Many people identified us from the day of that theft as “the owners of the burgled house”.

The police arrived within a few minutes of our reaching home. Seeing the police and the crowd, the innocent child in me got overjoyed and I asked my father, “Baba! Don’t you think the newspaper people will publish our names tomorrow in the paper and report the theft in our house?” At that point of time, when were not even sure about the extent of loss and damage caused by the burglary, my innocent mind was happily dreaming about the limelight we were likely to be thrown into. Baba and Police uncle could not hold back their laughter and everybody around burst into laughter as well.

 

Part 2

The policeman took stock of the situation and made a long list of articles which were stolen, for registering an FIR. We then realized the loss was considerable. The robbers had broken open all the cupboards and locked drawers. They had also pulled out all the clothes from our closets and scattered them on the floor. They had checked every nook and corner of our cupboards in search of valuables. Gold jewellery of daily use were all stolen. They stole all the heavy brass and copper puja utensils, transistor radio, clock, watches and money for running the household. They had torn the pillows and cotton wool was strewn all over the floor. They probably thought that we had kept jewels and money hidden in the pillows. Some simple articles of daily use like a pair of scissors, a knife, a nail cutter, a chromium plated ashtray and some artefacts were also found to be missing.

The thieves were also foodies! It was evident that not only did they invade the house, but they also took out the mutton curry and rice kept in the refrigerator for dinner, made themselves at home and had a feast at our place. They used our dinner plates and left them on the dining table for us to wash. They were indeed a daring bunch and the police suspected that they might have kept a watch of our moves for some time and struck at an opportune moment when they knew we would be away from home for three to four hours. My mother too recalled seeing the shadow of a person on one side of our low boundary wall on many occasions. She probably did not pay heed to that notion and dismissed those thoughts as wild imagination.

It was surprising to know how skilfully they entered through the front door by breaking the lock, looted, ate our dinner and then escaped without anybody noticing. It was a lonely locality and the other neighbouring houses were all located a fair distance away which probably helped the robbers to escape.

Those thieves were also smart in adapting a modus operandi which was unusual during those days. They chose to break in during the evening and after entering the house they put on all the lights to give an impression that the owners of the house were at home. They then melted the locks inside the house using acid, as a result of which they could work silently without attracting any attention. Nobody could hence sense anything wrong until it was too late.

After the thieves had left with the booty, Sen Uncle happened to notice that the main door was ajar with all the lights burning for a long time and suspected that something was amiss. He then called for help to inspect the house and discovered the theft. He promptly informed the police and made his brother sit in the house lest other articles at our house were pocketed by random people who had started congregating there.

The theft in our house was an eye opener that robbers could also break into a house in this manner during the early evening hours while avoiding being noticed – hence contradicting the usual notion during those days that robbers prowl only in the dead of night.

We became extra cautious from that day onwards and my father installed double doors and collapsible gates at all the entry doors of our house. We also brought a watch dog to guard our house. From then onwards we started the practice of keeping our neighbours informed when we had plans to go on vacation or while going out for longer duration. This incident of theft shook everyone in the neighbourhood which eventually resulted in the initiation of a closer bonding between all neighbours in that locality.

When I was a small child my father built a house at Behala in Kolkata. Those were the days when Behala was not very crowded. There were open spaces and meadows with mango and coconut trees. There used to be thickets of shrubs and bamboo trees with holes of foxes and at night we could hear their calls.

My father always loved gardening and there was a beautiful garden with seasonal and perennial flowering plants in his garden which surrounded the house on three sides. Our house was the only house in the middle of open meadows with a few more houses scattered afar. It was thus like a haven of peace for us. We never heard of robberies or thefts during those days. But with urbanisation comes unwanted side effects. With the passage of time we get to acquire different experiences and the story today is about one such incident which gave us a jolt.

It was on a Saturday evening that my parents took me to watch a movie called “Sonar Kella”. This was a detective movie by none other than Satyajit Ray. The movie theatre was not far off. We enjoyed the movie, ate out after that, did some shopping and then headed home.
“Arunda! Rush home at once, your home has been ransacked by robbers!” We heard somebody yelling at us as we took the lane leading to our home from Natunpara Bus stop. We turned around to realise that it was Sen uncle, our neighbour, who excitedly informed us about the misfortune that was awaiting us. He also added that the thieves had looted and escaped with the booty, keeping the front door ajar and many outsiders had entered the house.
“Arunda, don’t worry. I have kept my brother posted there to prevent random people from picking up the remaining belongings of yours. I have also informed the police and they are expected anytime now,” were the next words that Sen uncle said to my father.

We never expected that after watching a detective movie, a real life incident of theft would be awaiting us. With apprehensive minds we arrived home to find that our peaceful abode was occupied by people we had never seen before. We felt like strangers in our own house. Wading through the crowd, we ultimately managed to get inside the house. People from all over the neighbourhood had poured in to get a glimpse of something, which was then considered to be the talk of the town.

Indeed, this incident remained the talk of the town for a long time. Many people identified us from the day of that theft as “the owners of the burgled house”.

The police arrived within a few minutes of our reaching home. Seeing the police and the crowd, the innocent child in me got overjoyed and I asked my father, “Baba! Don’t you think the newspaper people will publish our names tomorrow in the paper and report the theft in our house?” At that point of time, when were not even sure about the extent of loss and damage caused by the burglary, my innocent mind was happily dreaming about the limelight we were likely to be thrown into. Baba and Police uncle could not hold back their laughter and everybody around burst into laughter as well.

To Be Continued in Part 2…

The policeman took stock of the situation and made a long list of articles which were stolen, for registering an FIR. We then realized the loss was considerable. The robbers had broken open all the cupboards and locked drawers. They had also pulled out all the clothes from our closets and scattered them on the floor. They had checked every nook and corner of our cupboards in search of valuables. Gold jewellery of daily use were all stolen. They stole all the heavy brass and copper puja utensils, transistor radio, clock, watches and money for running the household. They had torn the pillows and cotton wool was strewn all over the floor. They probably thought that we had kept jewels and money hidden in the pillows. Some simple articles of daily use like a pair of scissors, a knife, a nail cutter, a chromium plated ashtray and some artefacts were also found to be missing.

The thieves were also foodies! It was evident that not only did they invade the house, but they also took out the mutton curry and rice kept in the refrigerator for dinner, made themselves at home and had a feast at our place. They used our dinner plates and left them on the dining table for us to wash. They were indeed a daring bunch and the police suspected that they might have kept a watch of our moves for some time and struck at an opportune moment when they knew we would be away from home for three to four hours. My mother too recalled seeing the shadow of a person on one side of our low boundary wall on many occasions. She probably did not pay heed to that notion and dismissed those thoughts as wild imagination.

It was surprising to know how skilfully they entered through the front door by breaking the lock, looted, ate our dinner and then escaped without anybody noticing. It was a lonely locality and the other neighbouring houses were all located a fair distance away which probably helped the robbers to escape.

Those thieves were also smart in adapting a modus operandi which was unusual during those days. They chose to break in during the evening and after entering the house they put on all the lights to give an impression that the owners of the house were at home. They then melted the locks inside the house using acid, as a result of which they could work silently without attracting any attention. Nobody could hence sense anything wrong until it was too late.

After the thieves had left with the booty, Sen Uncle happened to notice that the main door was ajar with all the lights burning for a long time and suspected that something was amiss. He then called for help to inspect the house and discovered the theft. He promptly informed the police and made his brother sit in the house lest other articles at our house were pocketed by random people who had started congregating there.

The theft in our house was an eye opener that robbers could also break into a house in this manner during the early evening hours while avoiding being noticed – hence contradicting the usual notion during those days that robbers prowl only in the dead of night.

We became extra cautious from that day onwards and my father installed double doors and collapsible gates at all the entry doors of our house. We also brought a watch dog to guard our house. From then onwards we started the practice of keeping our neighbours informed when we had plans to go on vacation or while going out for longer duration. This incident of theft shook everyone in the neighbourhood which eventually resulted in the initiation of a closer bonding between all neighbours in that locality.

The cover image is a painting by Aparna Mondal

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6 Response Comments

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA30/06/2019 at 10:55 PM

    Amidst all the stealing, the imagination of becoming famous as the newspaper would publish the news of theft, acted as a streak of sunshine in the gloomy atmosphere! You have beautifully woven the entire story, it might not be a happy incident to remember but i guess you managed to live up a true detective story! Good work, best wishes.

    • Aparna Mondal03/07/2019 at 9:53 AM

      Firstly I must thank you for regularly reading my stories. I feel extremely happy for that. It gave me immense pleasure to know that this time too you liked my story. Thanks for reading my stories and expressing your thoughts and penning the feedbacks regularly.

  • Swetha Amit12/07/2019 at 5:18 AM

    Beautifully narrated. Couldn’t help smiling at your thought of that newspaper report and being famous. It must have also been scary coming and seeing your home looted.

  • Aparna Mondal15/07/2019 at 7:57 AM

    Thank you! I am glad that you liked the story!! Yes it was scary to see our house in that condition but still young innocent mind thinks so differently and me too felt so happy hoping about the chances of the incident getting published 😊!!

  • Bishakha Moitra22/07/2019 at 10:06 AM

    So well narrated. Your thought of getting famous in that condition and also the hungry thieves brings a smile to my face. As usual a lovely story. Always look forward to read your stories.

  • Aparna Mondal22/07/2019 at 9:48 PM

    Thank you Bishakha for regularly reading my stories. The happiness of narrating increases manifold when somebody likes the story.
    I am glad that you enjoyed and laughed while reading this, Yes, young mind thinks so much differently and during that time of crisis I was thinking of becoming famous! It seems so funny now ! Thanks for your generous words my dear friend !

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