It was December 2006, I was returning home from job after a visit to the bank on the way . Just a few yards before my home, the rickshaw slowed down and I opened my purse to take out the fare. Suddenly someone patted me on the shoulder and I turned around with a smile expecting it to be a neighbour. A huge strange face of a middle aged man on motorbike grinned at me, snatched the open purse in my lap and sped away! All in a few seconds!
Since the police station was just 5 minutes away, I immediately went there to lodge a FIR. Some officer was there and he very assuringly told me not to worry as they would give the snatcher a chase. I was told to lead them to the spot where the snatching took place. So I did but no report was written. Next day on inquiring from the station, we were told that the culprit was not caught. Still the report was not written. When I involved an ex student of mine, a policeman himself, he hinted at offering bribe to get the report written! Then I was informed by a reputed person that I should not insist on the FIR as it would not be lodged. The said police station was already being pulled up by the IG for not being able to check the unabated crime in the area and they avoided putting any new case on record. I was also warned to ward off! When I insisted the SHO offered a haul of stolen phones and asked me to take my pick! Shocked I approached higher authorities in being pulled up the SHO arrived drunken at my door late one night hurling threats! I dropped the idea of FIR!
When I narrated the entire story to my aged father, he lapsed into shocked silence. After a few days he shared a very different story with me. Here it is in his own words:
“When I was only 10 years of age, My father was a draftsmen’s in chief Engineer canals office at Montgomery, (Now in Pakistan). I often got fever and was diagnosed to be suffering from Tonsil trouble and a fit case for operation. My father consulted my maternal uncle, Dr. K.C. Khanna who was serving then as a professor in History at Govt. College, Lahore, (Now in Pakistan). Consequensent with my mother to Lahore, near Montgomery. Dr. K.C. Khanna, my uncle took me to colonel Dr. Kaul, a specialist, who after proper Examination got me admitted in the Hospital and fixed a date for the required operation after two days. On my recovery I was discharged from the Hospital and stayed at my uncle’s residence for a few days more. It was then that incident occurred. The other day, my uncle brought 3 pass – tickets of the Drama being played at the club-theatre. It was decided that my Aunt would accompany my mother and me to the theatre. We saw the Drama and enjoyed it. On return, we hired a tonga (House driven-cart) which then used to be the common mode ofconveyance. There was a nip in the air, it being a winter night. I was sitting on the front seat of the tonga. My mother thus made me wear her own costly shawl (wrap around). Reaching home, we all got down and went upstairs. A little while later, my mother enquired about her shawl that I was made to wear in the tonga. I replied that while getting down from the tonga, I had placed it in a corner of the front seat occupied by me. It had been left in the tonga! Hearing this my mother became very sad, because not only that the shawl was very costly, it had been brought by my uncle from abroad and gifted to his sister (my mother) on her birthday. On hearing the whole incident my uncle got upset and worried. He at once occupied the chair near the telephone table. He did not have any sleep that night night and kept on calling different people known and friendly to him, for help and consultation, to find the shawl left in the tonga through my stupid mistake. He found a colleague f who was very intimately known to the S.H.O., incharge thana (police Station ) situated near the club. Theatre, from where the tonga was hired by us. Thorough proper intensive enquiries made by the said SHO and his employees from the incharge tonga station the identity of the tonga man was revealed. He had deposited the shawl in the tonga station shelf to be returned to us the next morning. By sheer courtesy the S.H.O. concerned sent the said shawl to us, through one of his employers, who as far as I remember was of an A.S.I. Rank. My uncle thanked the gentleman and served him tea. Courtesy and honesty were not extinct then. Those were the days!”