The late night intruder

It was totally unexpected – the thief’s arrival! With so many prosperous neighbours around, why should the thief target my poor abode? “He must be a writer out to steal your works,” my husband had the answer ready. “Oh god!” I tried to rush to my study, but the mounds of books in the passage-way obstructed me.

“Poor fellow, the thief. He must’ve be-en bewildered, seeing just books, books and books instead of the anticipated gold and cash. He must have thought us lunatics!” my husband commiserated, but changed the tune seeing my expression. “Don’t worry, I will help you out, but first I must have my coffee to think clearly”   Of course, I needed it badly too. But alas, the entrance to the kitchen was also blocked – yes, by my books. Naturally my husband flared up. “How many times have I requested you not to store books? You writers are a crazy bunch, wasting our hard-earned money over some preserved nonsense! If I had not locked my room, all our possessions, including your laptop, would have been lost.” 

Just then, I happened to see the pages of my recently written novel strewn about haphazardly. Oh dear, I had worked day and night over that novel, and considered it as a masterpiece! But here it was, comp-letely disarrayed, loose pages waltzing in the wind with gay abandon. I felt murd-ered. “I think I am going to swoon,” I announced. “Postpone it,” my husband said. “First, the police have to be informed.”

The police were rung; a brief outline of the theft was given. “Don’t disturb anything over there,” the inspector coolly ordered. “We have to take fingerprints, footprints, what not, and can come only tomorrow.” “But we have to remove the mound to go to the kitchen and get food, sir. We are famished,” my husband remonstrated. “The thief has destroyed my masterpiece, inspector uncle!” I almost wept into the phone. “He has deprived our Kannadigas of a wonderful novel!”

“Wait, wait!” the inspector sounded excited. “Did you say you are a Kannada writer? Wow! I am a fan of Kannada books and films. Have you seen ‘Sepoy Ramu’? What! That film is based on your novel ‘Innu barale Yamune’?”

“Sir, the title of my novel is “Barale innu Yamune?” I corrected him affronted. “Yes, yes of course, sometimes the paperwallas make mistakes,” he hasten-ed to apologise. “What did you say your name was? How lucky am I that the thief burgled your house of all places! Hold on madam, I am coming right away.”

True to his word, he was there within minutes; followed by his staff who came with containers of hot food and a flask of fresh coffee – what a welcome sight! Seating me on the book mound, he took photos. Or else, what would Dr Rajkumar – hero of ‘Sepoy Ramu’ – say? He was curious to know how I, a woman sitting cosily at home, could write such a novel on dacoits and that too in the Chambal valley!

Did I really go there? Did I speak to Mansingh, the terror-dacoit? Well, nothing gives a writer more pleasure than to speak about her work. I beamed as a celebrity, while husband fidgeted, seeing the inspection becoming an interview!

“Don’t worry about that damaged masterpiece, your recent writing, madam,” the police inspector assured me before departing. “I also like writing, and it will be a pleasure to repair your manuscript.” I swooned.

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