The stolen halwa

Strange are the ways some thieves execute their modus operandi. Horrible stories apart, comic series of events involving them, like falling prey to the temptation of sleeping, being caught while ‘bribing’ barking pet dogs or jumping into the well while on the run, are enough to tickle one’s funny bones. Imagine, the minnows in the field sent for the ‘assignment,’ this one must have tested not only the aptitude of the men in the line of duty, but their appetite as well.

The news of burglary at our locked house in native place was indeed shocking. But, the details followed turned out to be a piece worth retelling. For my mom, retired, lonely with her children perched in various cities for occupation, life was a tedious existence, with enthusiasm and hopes fast ebbing away. Like most of the elderly people, her days began and ended with numerous reality shows and news stories steeped in sentimentality. An ardent fan of cookery shows, she kept experimenting in kitchen, testing the incorrigible loyalty of the doggy.

Thieves broke the door open and raided the house a week after she was brought to the city. Broken almirahs, boxes, scattered books and clothes. It was a herculean task for the police and the relatives, who reached the spot only in the morning, to exactly verify what was taken away.

We get phone calls from the spot. “Their target was money and gold.” We heave a sigh of relief. Gratitude to those who invented bank lockers! But, washing machine, TV, computer, fridge, bronze and silver utensils, even the decorative items could catch the fancy of any thief who is planning a house warming ceremony in the near future. Unwashed dishes stand testimony to their encroachment into the kitchen. One wonders, what’s there to eat in a locked house.

“There was popcorn soup and carrot halwa in fridge. I made it for the first time watching a cookery show and forgot to take it while coming,” mom breaks into tears. Despair writ large on her face. I could imagine, after hours of futile search, the quintessentially macho-faced men swallowing the exotic dishes in vengeance and vanishing in thin air.

Notwithstanding the cold and abandoned days in fridge, the halwa had achieved salvation. The news of the outlandish act of ‘hungry’ thieves was music to mom’s ears, and with regained enthusiasm and ebullience she tunes into watch ‘MasterChef.’

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