- A Daring Bank Robbery
It was the 17th of June 20__ when my mother had to go to the bank because she had to encash one of her fixed deposits which had matured on that date. She decided to take me along as my school was closed for summer vacation.
It took us about half an hour to reach the bank. My mother instructed me to be seated on a sofa lying near the door and herself proceeded to the ‘FIXED DEPOSIT counter.
People in the bank were busy depositing and withdrawing money. Suddenly a Maruti van came and stopped near the entrance of the bank. In a flick of a second, five masked young men with sophisticated weapons in their hands entered the bank. They overpowered the security guard and after taking positions warned the people of dire consequences if they tried to move. They told all the customers and the bank employees to stand up, raise their hands and turn their faces towards the wall. Filled with fear and terror everybody did as directed.
Two robbers then entered the Manager’s office and demanded the keys to the strong room. Help from outside was impossible as all telephone connections had been snapped. The robbers entered the strong room and instructed the cashier to open the cash box. They removed all the cash and filled it in the bag they were carrying. Even the “Payments” counter was not spared. Then the robbers hurriedly left the bank, but before departing they warned us that if anyone tried to follow, they would kill him. After this they made good their escape. The whole operation took not more than ten minutes.
Everybody in the bank was stunned and perspiring. The Bank Manager sounded the siren and within minutes the whole bank was crowded with police officials and public.
- An Unwelcome Guest
Indians are known for their hospitality. They welcome their guests with open arms, for they feel that a guest is a person to be honoured and respected and to serve him is a sacred duty. But there are certain guests who are unwelcome and people really dread their visit.
Mr S.M. Narayan, one of my father’s friends, is a person whose visits we dread, as he disturbs our entire routine. He visits us frequently and comes without prior information. Whenever he comes from Bengaluru, my mother has to take leave because he takes his own sweet time to get up in the morning and is very particular to have proper breakfast and lunch. Not only this, he is very fussy about the food we eat and keeps complaining that the food is not properly cooked.
My mother is very particular about keeping things in their proper place, but the moment Mr Narayan arrives, our guest room as well as our drawing room is in total mess. He is not systematic at all and throws things here and there. He knows that there is no servant in the house, yet he expects my mother to wash and iron his clothes.
Mr Narayan is very inconsiderate and wants everything his way. He refuses to bring his own things and very freely uses the shaving kit of my father. He misuses the telephone by making not only local calls but also STD calls. He feels as if we don’t have to pay the telephone bill. Not only this, he invites his local guests and expects us to really look after them. He wants my father to provide him the car for his exclusive use. We are all forced to run errands for him. And yet he is never satisfied with our hospitality. As long as Mr Narayan is in the house, our whole routine remains upset and we all get tense. The moment Father goes to drop him at the station, we all heave a sigh of relief.
- An Incident I Can Never Forget
During the summer vacation, I decided to visit my uncle, who was posted at Srinagar. I booked a ticket on a flight from Delhi to Srinagar via Amritsar. On May 26, I boarded an Air India airbus at 9 a.m. I got a comfortable seat and soon the plane took off. I was enjoying the flight and did not even come to know when the plane had landed at Amritsar.
At Amritsar, six passengers boarded the plane. Minutes after the plane took off, we were served breakfast. We were all enjoying ourselves when two passengers got up and took positions. One of them was holding a hand grenade. Soon there was an announcement by the crew that the plane had been hijacked and that the passengers should not panic but remain calm. The two hijackers were terrorists and wanted to take the airbus to Lahore and seek political asylum there. The pilot tried to persuade them but it was all in vain. They were determined to have their way. All the passengers were in a fix, for nobody knew what fate had in store for them.
Having no alternative, the airbus flew towards Lahore but at Lahore airport the Pakistani authorities refused permission for landing. We hovered over the airport for about ten minutes but our pilots could not convince the airport personnel. At this the hijackers ordered the plane to be taken back to Amritsar.
When we landed at Amritsar, the police had cordoned off the area and the Director General of Police was trying to persuade the hijackers to surrender. He was putting psychological and emotional pressure on them to surrender. At times the situation became so tense and explosive that we all became desperate. This drama continued for three hours. Then suddenly the plane was overpowered by Black Cat Commandos. Within seconds both the hijackers were arrested and the passengers freed. Some of the passengers broke down and started crying. I just cannot express how I felt at that moment, but till today whenever I remember this incident, I feel a chill down my spine.
An Autobiography of a Shoe
One fine morning about three years ago, I was given finishing touches by the workmen in the Bata Shoe Company and packed in a box ready to be transported to a Bata showroom in Mumbai.
We were loaded in a truck by the workers and we soon left for our new destination. I enjoyed the lovely scenic beauty and I do not know when I fell asleep. When I woke up, I found that the truck was passing by the Gateway of India. After about two hours we reached the showroom. We were unloaded, and after dusting me, the salesman placed me in the window of the showroom. I was so attractive that within hours of my reaching Mumbai, I was sold to a rich industrialist. From the showroom, I travelled to his house in a Mercedes. There was a world of difference between the journey in the bone-breaking truck and the luxurious Mercedes. I made friends in the palatial house of the industrialist. I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, when I went on business trips abroad with my master.
My days were passing comfortably and I considered myself to be one of the happiest shoes of the world, when one night someone quietly entered my master’s bedroom. It took me no time to recognise that the person was none but his nephew. He took out a revolver and aimed it at him. I frantically cried for help and wanted to wake him, but nobody could understand my language. A shot rang and there were bloodstains all over my face-the blood of my beloved master. The wicked nephew escaped under the cover of darkness.
Next morning in the group of mourners I could spot the murderer but was helpless because of lack of communication. I was the mute eyewitness to that gory crime.
Till today with bloodstains on my face, I am lying on the shoe rack. I feel lonely since nobody visits this room after my master’s death.