Chain reaction

Everybody has heard of at least someone whose chain has been snatched.

Every morning and evening around Seven, a jeep moves slowly in our locality and an announcement rents the air.

‘Ladies and senior citizens! Of late, there has been an increase in the incidence of chain snatching. Two wheeler riders snatch the chain and speed away. Please cover yourselves and report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station immediately.’

The announcement to this effect in Kannada has been on since a couple of months. The phenomenon of chain snatching is nothing new. Everybody has heard of at least someone whose chain has been snatched. But these announcements and the hoardings put up at prominent locations warning citizens to beware of chain snatchers has brought the topic back in focus. ‘They can declare a holiday to all this announcing at least on Sundays. I hate to be woken up by the loud speaker’ bemoaned a neighbour.

Not that the loud warnings have deterred the miscreants. Recently two ladies had their chains snatched in our own block and the talk at the park returned to how much the chains weighed and what the ladies could have done to save their gold or  at least cut their losses. ‘That’s why I always cover myself with a duppatta,’ declared one lady. Another said- “I, like many other women of our area, have started wearing only the black beads and… she continued in a lighter vein ‘last week at the mall, whenever I spotted ladies with only black beads, I wanted to ask them whether they were from Rajajinagar!’

Since I don’t wear any gold I must be safe, I ventured. The ladies shot me down. ‘Oh! No, don’t you know what happened to Roopa? The men snatched away her chain and soon as they realised it was artificial, they came back, threw it on her face and also pushed her down roughly before speeding away!’ I have begun to avoid lonely stretches now. Who wants broken bones on top of a broken chain?
Now, what has been the response of the men in khaki to this increase in chain snatching? Increase the number of times the announcements are made!

Last week hearing the familiar  ‘Itthhechina dinagalalli saragallaru….” in the afternoon, the kids in the neighbourhood started reciting the entire announcement.

We then realised then that we adults knew it by heart too. ‘What about broadcasting science and mathematics formulae every day like this? Our kids will then have better grades’ suggested one mother. Care to hear ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?’

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