Among the many positive attributes of my friend Gnandev Kamath, is his ability to tell a story. What follows is a real life incident which occurred recently in which he was involved.
There was a wedding in the family and the relatives from far and wide had gathered. As it happens everywhere, weddings and deaths will get the maximum number of relatives to come and meet with each other. One is to celebrate a life giving event and another to pay respects to a life which has departed. The former is a joyous occasion and thus much more attractive.
Gnandev’s niece was one of them who had come from Bombay with her Jewelry box. The advise that she not carry her jewelry and make do with borrowed ones from her many close relations was not heeded to. Which self respecting young woman likes to be seen in borrowed jewelry? My sympathies are all with her for bringing her jewelry with her at some risk.
Bombay is next door to us SKites [South Kanarites, Mangalorians, Mangus, Coastal Cracks]. There are hundreds of buses which ply daily from Bombay to Mangalore and the flight connections are better than from Bangalore. The Bombay party which included this young woman duly arrived in the city and from there they travelled to udipi where the wedding was to take place. The day before the wedding is the day of fun where the women have the maximum opportunity to display their person and if that is not worth it, then at least their jewelry. As our young lady in question had both, one can understand her anxiety to be ready for the evening function. She stayed in her relative’s house and at the appointed time she travelled to the venue. When she reached the venue she found her jewelry box, her hand bag with her cell phone were all missing. She had forgotten the whole lot in the auto rickshaw in which she had travelled!
All hell broke loose and the lady was inconsolable. The reasons were many. The lost opportunity, loss of jewellery worth nearly three lakhs and the ignominy of being branded as forgetful woman for the rest of her life! All these and many more added to her grief. The promise of the gathered relatives that they will all contribute and make good her lost jewelry was not well received. The only option was to go to the police. She of course did not remember auto’s number and could vaguely describe the driver.
Before going to the police why not try the cell phone which she had left behind in the auto and may be the driver will respond. Normally the first act of a thief is to remove the SIM card and throw it away. When they rang the number there was ringing tone and this reassured them to some extent. Continued tries however did not elicit any response and they were now worried that the cell phone’s batteries would die and then they would be in deeper trouble.
At this moment a thought occurred to Gnandev.He requested the assembly to close their eyes and pray silently for five minutes wishing for the recovery. Five minutes elapsed and Gnandev made a final call to the cell number before going to the police.
The phone rang only twice before it was picked up. The voice at the other end said that the jewel box, hand bag and the cell phone were with him and he would return and give all these back to the owner. It would take him some time as he was 30 kms away. It took some convincing to get him to stay home and wait for Gnandev to go there and fetch the lost and found articles. When Gnandev reached the driver’s place he found it to be in a poor locality and the anxious driver was waiting to give it all back. They found that he belonged to goldsmith’s community and knew the exact value of the jewelry in the box. Not one piece was missing. He was wondering and thinking of ways to reach the owner when he heard the cell phone call!
When they wanted to publicize his honesty he would have none of that. It took a lot of pressure to persuade him to accept a cash gift.
It was pretty late when they went back to the hotel where the evening’s party was on. The thanks giving revelry went on till the wee hours of the next day.
It is because we still have a few of these men and women [First class of humans] still present in this country, we are surviving.