The Curious Case of The Missing Handbag!

My purse wasn’t stolen after all.  After 30 harrowing hours of running around, frantic phone calls and crusading online, a gentleman called up from Bangalore to say that my purse was in his possession.  He was apologizing profusely on behalf of his 70 year old father, who had walked off with my purse in a zealous fit.  I didn’t have the heart to haul him up for the trauma, the money spent on new locks and a new mobile. He came across as earnest.  Sounding from a humble background he could have easily walked off with the cash and mobile and thrown my purse in a nearby dump yard.  He didn’t.  

I am relieved that my handbag didn’t fall in wrong hands. The thought that my most personal belongings, details and contacts could be in a slimeball’s possession was far from edifying. 

On a lighter side my bag is a celebrity now.  But I do have to sort out a few things with her, when she finally gets back.  Walking away with a random stranger is simply unacceptable.  

The Times of India covered her mistress’s travails in its city section.  And her mistress just got a new name- Bagwati. Doesn’t she love it!

Bagwati is just like the average woman next door.  She lives for her family, survives on love and worries about the trivialiest thing.  But God forbid, if someone messes with her, she raises hell; the policeman who leered at her and refused to take her seriously, the CISF personnel at the Metro station who insisted that she didn’t walk in with a bag in the first place.  Her integrity was doubted and she fought back like a wounded tigress.  She tweeted about her travails and blogged about her disenchantment with the system that treats the victim like an accused. The response she got was overwhelming.  An ordinary citizen’s fight for her dignity struck a chord somewhere.

Now that my story might have a happy ending, does it diminish the ugly side of Gurgaon? No it doesn’t.  

The Ugly Side of Gurgaon

Today, somebody sauntered off with my handbag from the Huda City Centre Metro Station in Gurgaon. Emerging from the security booth I discovered, much to my horror, that it was missing from the X-ray conveyor belt. My first reaction was of incredulity. Such things never happen to you: it happens to strangers! You read about it in the papers, cluck and shake your head in sympathy and proceed to finish your cup of tea. You are bewildered as to how a person can simply walk off with a huge handbag right under the nose of numerous security personnel and closed-circuit cameras. For Chrissake, there’s a man looking intently at the X-ray screen and two men guarding the gate! Surely, you are meant to feel safe!

By the time I ran up the stairs with one of the security guards, it was too late. It could have been anybody and that anybody could have headed anywhere. A woman alone, apparently well-off, with a large handbag is an easy target. While I waited inside the Metro office, convinced that they will have the footage, so that we can look at the recordings and nab the culprit – I realized I was being naive. It’s never that simple. Madam, the tape is with Chattarpur station and you’ll have to wait till the evening. Why don’t you go to the Metro Police station instead and lodge an FIR in triplicate?

It’s never that simple, silly!

I was worried sick. I had just lost a whole lot of cash, a bunch of credit cards, my ATM card, my mobile. And what’s worse, I had just lost my house keys! My daughter was all alone in the apartment! What if that cad decides to check out my house? To be frank, the metro staff in that shift was quite courteous and even offered me money to get back home.

On my way back towards my apartment, I was battling a mother’s worst fears. Thankfully my daughter was safe but worried sick for her Mom.

It’s painful, having to call up your bank, get all the cards blocked, get your SIM card blocked. My beautiful new Android, I didn’t even have the time to mourn for its loss.

But the worst was yet to come. I had yet to file an FIR.
This was my first visit to a police station. Who wants to go there? Don’t we all avoid it like the bubonic plague?

As I was sitting, trying to explaining that I had just lost a whole lot of things, the policeman decided to interrogate me instead. As if I had come to the police station at 2.30 in the afternoon to spin a yarn and play hide and seek with them. This is Gurgaon, handbags don’t get lost, are you sure your memory has not gone for a toss! My character, my intentions were being questioned by that leery bastard sitting right across. Ogling at my cleavage, my arms – as if I was some freak show who had just stepped in for an item number.

The constable decided to play Sherlock and insisted that he accompany us (my husband and I) to the Metro station, to get to the bottom of things! By the time we reached, the shift had changed and there was a new batch of security at the station. Their behaviour was even worse than the police constable’s! They assumed I had come to accuse them of theft, which was far from my intention. When I refused to put my sling bag on the security belt, they shouted at me. I shouted back, loud and clear – that they were public servants meant to protect us and not question our integrity. A woman had just lost her purse. Instead of being understanding and extend a helping a hand, you scream that an FIR should be lodged against her husband because he rushed past security check, to come to his wife’s rescue? Why such apathy? I get blatantly robbed and how do you react: turn around and suggest that I have absolutely no proof that someone stole my bag? Make me read the sign that they are not responsible for my loss. Suggest that I am concocting a cock and bull story!

And what’s worse, the police chap was nodding in agreement.
I saw the worst of humanity and they saw the worst of me – a woman sputtering with rage, banging the table and screaming they had no right to treat her like this!

Had I walked in with my bunch of security guards, chewing pan and boasting that I have half a dozen murder cases registered against me, everybody would have stood to attention and saluted me. Ironically an honest, law-abiding citizen is a freak in this country - taken for granted and treated like shit.

I was not allowed to write the word “stolen” in my FIR; I had to write “missing” instead. I was constantly told that some poor soul in a fit of forgetfulness must have walked off with my purse! That I am hallucinating and unnecessarily creating a ruckus!

At that moment, I knew how it feels to be a woman who has just been violated. How it feels to go to the police for help and be greeted with ridicule instead. Her character questioned, while the constable absent-mindedly scrapes his lunch off his teeth. Today, I felt helpless.

If an honest law-abiding, tax-paying, educated citizen has to face this, what hope is there for the poor?

Is it a crime to be a victim? Is it a crime to expect justice? I know you will never find my handbag and its missing contents but the least you can do is treat me with dignity. Gurgaon Police – Suraksha, seva, sahyog my foot! Learn some manners instead.

Today I lost my faith in the system and I know it’s not getting any better. I was supposed to meet my childhood friend after two decades, look what I got instead! My husband is changing the locks, as I furiously punch keys to express my rage.
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Indian Railways and Toilet Discharges

My resident guest blogger, Cacofonix prefers erupting once every few months, to remind the blogging world of his existence. While he was busy shivering in sunny California, he finally sat down to write this hilarious post ( made me wait two months for it!) By the time I finished reading it, I had tears in my eyes. Tears of laughter. Before you proceed to read, I must warn you that this write-up is not meant for the faint-hearted. You are advised to keep your smelling salts handy.

An expert committee on railway safety, headed by Dr Anil Kakodkar of the Atomic Energy Commission, has observed that pH content of toilet discharges is causing widespread corrosion of rail tracks, compromising the safety of train travellers. This has got the government and the railway minister very worried (whoever maybe the Mamata Di-appointed minister on a given day, which in itself is another chapter of worry), and I, as a responsible citizen must rise to help our harried policy makers.

First things first. What we must acknowledge is the seriousness our authorities have attached to the topic of safety and their collective official anguish at the utter lack of responsibility displayed by billions of Indians who merrily use train amenities to relieve themselves with impunity. That the government has called up nuclear scientists to investigate is proof that they wanted to engage the best of India’s technical talent in getting to the “bottom” of things. And that cerebral principles of nuclear fission and fusion would be appropriate in working out a solution to the vexing problem of human excrement. I have also learnt that the Centre is about to seek help of an American institute on use of String Theory and Quantum Gravity to understand why Rahul Gandhi could not string up 288 seats at the UP elections, with people gravitating instead towards Akhilesh. In fact, the Centre is puzzled at Akhilesh’s aquiline profile which is much more Italian than Rahul’s. More than Paulo Rossi’s. More than even Al Pacino’s. Reconstructive rhinoplasty could come to the rescue.

It is inescapable that science will rescue us. The government has said so.

Courtesy -

Click here to Save the World

Anybody who's a regular on A-Musing has to know Snow Leopard. The Auntius-Cub duo are "world-famous" for their online sparring. The two years I have known him, I have seen him evolve into a seriously good writer with a mind of his own and a sharp sense of humour. He claws, bares his fangs much to the delight of his readers.

Who is Joseph Kony? The name had been trending on twitter for some time now. Whoever he was, of one thing I was sure; He had not fought with or got slapped by any Bollywood celebrity. If he had, he would have been on India TV before I could click the trending topic.

In spite of other trends that included replacing a word in the movie with a vegetable (it usually trends every 3 days) and a Rakhi Sawant hash tag that kept me hooked for 2 hours; the question still haunted me. Who is Joseph Kony? And more important, why should he be stopped? Has he broken the traffic light or something? My curiosity got the better of me and I finally clicked on the trend link. And lo and behold, a list sprang up, that was growing at an alarming rate of 20 tweets per second.

From what I read, I could gather that he is a war lord in Uganda, who has done what every other war lord has ever done. And some Americans had made a documentary about his crimes that went viral.

Agent x Comics
Hate them or love them but you cannot ignore social networking sites. They have changed the way we connect to people, the way we speak and the way we protest. The Arab Spring was successful because of the mass support it was able to generate through Facebook and Twitter. The first step to curb a rebellion or a movement, is to prevent communication. Earlier, the governments used to do it by imposing curfews and preventing people from gathering at public places. Moreover, the spread of information took time.

Butt Unnaturally!

Ever since man stood straight, built a fire and made the wheel, women have been asking him a question; even after centuries of interrogation, he has yet to come up with a satisfactory answer. She cajoles, she pleads. He clears his throat and makes polite noises. She insists but he dare not tell her the truth.

How many times has your girl asked you if her bum looks big in that dress? And how many times have you lied glibly and said – “Fat? Are you kidding me?" and fell down laughing. Even if her butt looks big enough to cause a lunar eclipse!

But men can’t help lying, can they? They know from bitter experience that the truth will cost them their head!

With evolution men folk have learnt that she doesn’t mean what she says. Of course she knows the truth! She has a mirror, a measuring tape and a pair of jeans that doesn’t fit her anymore. What she really wants to know is – Darling, do you love me, despite my big bum! Do you still think she’s the goddess, she once was?

It’s never about the butt!

Women have it bad. We love to eat but would rather starve. We’ll huff and puff on treadmill, fold ourselves in half in the yoga class, yet the weighing scale needle will refuse to budge. Imagine the torture of seeing your man gorge on scoops of ice-creams while you chew on multigrain khakras! But you are human aren’t you? How long can you deprive yourself! You fantasize about it, day and night. You agonize over your dilemma – should I – should I not? And there comes a day, when you cannot take it anymore and succumb. As you sink your teeth in that delicious chunk of gooey chocolate cake, you sigh. Gosh! This feels so good. But your mind is screaming – Stop! Run! There’s still time! But you can’t and before you realize it, you have gobbled up three slices. You lick your lips and let out a small burp.

Now you can’t get rid of the guilt. Damn you woman! Whatever happened to your will power! I have sinned and now I’ll have to pay.And guess what, you end up paying a “heavy” price! That butter, the wheat flour, the whipped cream, all that sugar and chocolate, felt so at home in your body that they are now clinging to your bum.

Courtesy - Nike

Butt wait! It’s not always the posterior. It depends on whether you are an orange, an apple or pear. Fat spreads itself evenly in an orange, just like a well buttered toast. If you are an apple, it makes you a 38D and you have to bear with men having intense conversation with your boobs. And the pear is just about to bid adieu to the fatty deposits, till those pesky things discover her bum.

Imagine being compared to a fruit! And to add insult to injury is that skinny friend of yours, who eats like a horse and looks like a French bean. You are tempted to do an Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar, go to a mandir, cling to the ghanti and demand insaaf.

Science tells me my body stores fat for the sake of my child bearing hips. Excuse me! My child is an adult now who can’t stop complaining bitterly about her own imagined ‘weight gain’! So please, can I have my old butt back?

And you though it’s every girl’s dream to find the perfect guy. Bullshit! Her dream is to eat everything without getting fat. And don’t you try pacifying her with – I just love your childbearing hips.

P.S She hates her big bum.

P.P.S she’s insanely jealous of your skinny ass!
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Hail The Haggler

An Indian woman is at her orgasmic best with the golgappa walaa (sorry to disappoint you boys). Eyes gleaming, she mutates into an insatiable harridan. Gobbling golgappas at a speed which will put even an F1 driver to shame, ssssing louder than a pressure cooker, she is relentless in her demands. Bhaiya aur...aur....aur...aur paani, aur saunth, thoda aur aloo dena. As if she’s just been let off from a bootcamp in Thar - forced to survive on water sucked from giant cactus. When her kid can’t take the sight of his Mommy’ wide open mouth with its gleaming canines anymore and starts bawling, she coolly instructs - Baby ko doney mein chhole dedo! Most of the times, an annoyed me is waiting her turn, a worried me is wondering if there will be any of the spicy water left for me and an impressed me is thinking how much can a woman ingest! Yes, I have been tempted to give her a nasty shove or even stamp on her magenta footwear embedded with faux-crystals.

At the veggie guy it gets even worse. Arre! Buss itna dhania patta, sharam nahin atee tumhe! Hari mirch kahan hai! Bhindi, bees rupaiye kee? That look of indignation is enough to make even a grown-up man pee in his pants.

As a nation that has bargained it’s way to adulthood, we always expect more for less. We’ll haggle with the rickshaw-walla over 10 Rs, narrow our eyes in contempt when the unshaven chap demands 300 bucks for those flip-flops in pink, divide and subtract with such precision that the vendor surrenders without a whimper of protest. Did you say 300 for one pair, Ha! I walked off with two! Wait till I get brag about it to my friends and neighbours.

Seasoned bargainers have a body language of their own. They swoop down on their victims. Survey the booty with feigned disinterest. Pick up what they like, survey it disdainfully and chortle with disdain when the shopkeeper dares to ask for a price. Like a veteran politician they stage a walkout but not too fast. Their ears are straining to hear the familiar sound of the vendor begging them to come back. The fellow rarely disappoints and they bag a bargain of a lifetime.

An Alpine Adventure

The Volvo was speeding towards Yash Chopra land. With my nose firmly stuck to the window of the bus, my eyes were busy soaking in the vast stretches of verdant greens. I was expecting Madhuri Dixit to surface any minute, running around in a flirty chiffon with Lata Mangeshkar’s lalaaaa lalalaaa reverberating in the background. All I saw was potty trained, fat cows and beautiful chalets dotting the landscape. Sitting next to me was my better half, snoring softly. The one, I had waited all my life to complete my sentences. To look deep into my eyes and whisper “you complete me’. This was before Jerry Maguire stole our line and bared his heart to his much ignored secretary.

We were on our second honeymoon, to what lesser mortals call Switzerland. Seven summers back we decided that we wanted to embark on a duniya dekho trip. Since it was our first trip to the Continent, we decided to play safe and chose a readymade package from a reputed leisure Travel Company. And why not, it promised the sun and the moon with a host of glitzy locales thrown in. It sounded like a pretty good deal.

So here we were, a motley crew from Kanpur to Kozhikode heading towards the land of chocolate and cheese. The word excitement falls short of describing what I was feeling. To be amidst straight- out- a- calendar splendour. So captivatingly beautiful that you almost forgot to breathe. The snow capped Alps, crystal clear lakes, glacier fed streams gurgling merrily, emerald green slopes dotted with pretty alpine villages, heritage buildings, cobbled streets, the sound of cowbells tinkling merrily – Switzerland seems like God’s own abode!

I knew I was in Zurich, when a portly gent from Ludhiana started hollering on his mobile. He urgently wanted to inform his beloved friends and family that he had reached Jurich and Yahan ka temperature minus jeero hai! Actually we had quite a few unique specimens in our bus. The newly- wed femme fatale screaming “Janooo... chaarries” at a supermarket in Germany only to be interrupted with a “but Aunty these are strawberries”. The solemn looking Doctor from West Bengal who would start jumping around like a pogo stick after downing a few glasses of wine...The penny wise Mumbaikar who survived on packets of Haldiram bhujiya but went mad shopping for handbags at Interlaken... And of course me, getting my kicks by observing the antics... Our co-passengers were thoroughly entertaining.


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