22 April 2014

An encounter with a would-be thief

I had gone to the GPO in Sector 17, Chandigarh on Saturday to mail a letter by registered post.

By the way, this involves a long process if your mail is overseas.  The person at the counter will view the envelope/parcel suspiciously, knock it from all angles to make sure it is properly sealed. Then, they make you sign a form where you have to list its contents, value, name and address of the sender and receiver. Whew!

It makes sense if you are sending a large parcel, but you have to do this even for a simple letter and a photograph.

Anyway, I was in Sector 17 GPO and queued up dutifully behind a couple of people.  There was a young girl right before me.  She was a lawyer by the looks of her, white salwar kameez with a black coat.  She was carrying a stack of letters that she had to send by registered post and was chattering amiably with the person before her. A friendly sort,  I thought.

After she was done, she took a seat to sort out the papers she had in hand.  I took my place at the head of the counter and was promptly directed to get the declaration form from another counter.  I collected the form and sat down beside the lawyer girl and started riffling through my bag, looking for a pen.  As usual, when you really need these things, they are seldom there.  The lawyer girl got up to go. I decided to go out of the GPO and buy a pen.

There are a lot of helpful people who sell wrapping paper, gum, pens and sticking tapes right outside the door of GPO.  I stopped by the first one and asked for a pen.  As I looked in my bag for the wallet, I realized with a thudding heart that I had left my wallet on the bench when I was riffling through my bag.

I ran back inside the GPO and found the lawyer girl practically sitting on my wallet and talking to someone. I picked up my wallet from under her and went back to get the pen.  The lawyer girl stood up immediately and left.

I returned with my pen and started filling up the form.  A young man who was sitting on an adjoining bench came up to me and said that the lawyer girl had returned as soon as I left and sat on the wallet.  He said if I had returned a moment later, the wallet would have been in her bag. He had been watching her avidly.

The girl was probably not a habitual thief, I do not like to think so.  But an honest person would surely have tried to return the wallet to me, tried to run after me.  Now that I think back upon the incident, it was rather strange the way she was chattering away with all and sundry.  She had chattered and smiled at me when I sat down beside her as well.

The girl's face keeps swimming before my eyes.  And I shake my head every time I think about this incident.


  1. Maybe just an instinctive weakness. Even if she'd succeeded, I think she'd have had a very guilty conscience.

    Nice blogpost, btw. You need to write more often. I say that all the time! :-)

  2. Thank God!!! U were saved in the nick of time!! And u can not trust anybody these days....there are all sorts of ppl around!

  3. Raja,

    Thanks. I suppose she was swayed by the sight of a purse asking to be taken.


    Thanks. Yaar Coach ka wallat tha. It was more expensive than all its contents. A gift from my daughter, too. :( Bach gaye, bal bal.

  4. Thank god you were saved. You can never judge a person from his face.

  5. I know, Ushaji. One minute I was warming up to her. Next minute... shudder!

  6. A habital thief would have taken the wallet with you present. The fact that she sat on it to take it later means that your purse was quite fat :)

  7. I suppose so, Sonam. Actually my purse had not so much money. Only a thou or so. But the cards! My RC! My Library Card! They were priceless.