Thursday, 14 August 2014

"The Car" - a short story by Ashwin Kumar

‘Hearty congratulations, Sanjay,’ said the manager, giving Sanjay a pat on the back.
‘Oh! Thank you, sir,’ replied Sanjay with a broad smile on his face. 
‘Here are the legal documents,’ said the manager as he handed the file to Sanjay. ‘You can collect the cash from Nandini before you leave for the day.’ 
‘Your support has eased the process, sir. Thank you very much.’ 
‘That’s no problem, kid. Make sure you invest in the right one.’ 
At the end of the day, Sanjay collected the amount of 10 lakh Indian rupees from Nandini, and then walked towards his car. 

The next day

The loud chants of music interrupted his sleep. It was the soundest sleep that Sanjay had in months. He was quite pissed off about waking up early on a Sunday morning. Getting up from the bed, Sanjay reached for his glasses, unfolded them, and put them on.  He walked through the hall way to reach the entrance to fetch the newspaper. Sanjay did not foresee the surprise that was waiting for him at the entrance of his house. It was more a shock to him than a surprise. His car was missing.

An hour later

Sanjay walked into the Police station to file a complaint against his missing car. 
‘How can I help you?’ a fellow Policeman asked him. 
‘I’m here… Ahem!’ He cleared his throat before he continued, ‘I’m here to file a complaint.’ 
‘What’s the case?’
‘My car’s missing.’ 
After getting the details of the car, the Policeman asked, ‘did you leave any valuables inside it?’
‘Yes sir, 10 lakh rupees cash and the loan documents,’ replied Sanjay.
‘Do you suspect anyone?’
‘Not to my knowledge.’
‘Where did the car was when you saw it for the last time?’
‘I drove it from my work place to my home last night.’
‘Why didn’t you take the cash with you into your home last night?’
‘I forgot!’ 

It was a simple and straight answer that surprised the Policeman. It’s obvious for him to be surprised as he, like you all readers, is unaware of the fact that Sanjay is absent minded. The Policeman got his signature on the FIR paper before he left the Police station.

A couple of hours later

’10 lakh rupees isn’t a small amount,’ said Faizal, Sanjay’s childhood friend.
‘Yeah, I went through one hell of a process to get the amount in my hand. Everything has now gone out of my hands. It’s surely gonna take years for me to repay the loan. I haven’t even spent a single rupee from it.’ 
‘Don’t worry man! We’ll find it soon,’ said Faizal as he passed the cigar to Sanjay. 

Ten minutes later

Sanjay found his cell phone ringing. He said looking at Faizal, ‘from Police station’, and picked up the call.
‘Sir, we have possibly identified the car,’ the voice from the other side of the phone sounded confident.
‘Are you serious? Where is my car now?’ asked Sanjay in a pretty much excited tone. 
‘We have found the car crossing a check post at the outskirts of the city and have seized it. But…’ 
‘What?’ 
‘There’s no cash in there.’
‘What the hell! Did you make a thorough check?’ 
‘Yes sir, we have checked it. We have even captured the driver. Could you please drop by immediately?’ 
‘Yes, we are on our way.’ 

One hour and fifteen minutes later

Sanjay and his friend Faizal reached the Police station where the car was seized. Sanjay spotted the black Etios car and rushed to it. He sensed something had terribly gone wrong. He rushed into the Police station to have a word with the Policeman who seized the vehicle. 
‘What’s that?’ Sanjay asked the Policeman pointing to the black Etios that was parked outside.
‘That’s your car, black Etios, number 1248,’ answered the Policeman.
‘Wait, did you just say 1248?’ asked Sanjay.
‘Yes,’ he looked in the records and answered, ‘1248, as the record says.’ 
‘Did I tell you that my car number is 1248?’ 
‘Yes sir, it’s in the records.’
‘Or did you just drop in wrong digits?’ Sanjay lost his temper and yelled out, ‘Damn it! It’s 1428. You have got the wrong car, you idiots.’ 
‘Calm down, Mr. Sanjay,’ the Policeman said, ‘it was a mistake.’
‘Sorry boss, you can leave now,’ Sanjay said this to the captured driver. He then took the keys from the Policeman and drove off the premises. 
‘Look Mr. Sanjay, it was a mistake. We can sort this out. Give us a day’s time and we will get back to you if we get any details about your missing car.’ 

That night

‘It’s gone. It’s all gone!’ said Sanjay as he shared drinks with Faizal. 
‘Sanjay, don’t worry. The Police will soon find your car.’ Faizal’s words comforted him. 
‘Do you think they’ll find the right car this time?’ Sanjay chuckled as he spoke.
‘Let’s hope for the good to happen.’
‘That was the initial investment I was going to make for the house. Faizal, you know that it was my dream to build a house. All those dreams are just gonna remain as dreams, I mean like forever.’
‘Hey, don’t be stupid. There’s a solution for every problem and we can sort this out together.’ Faizal grabbed the glass from Sanjay and said, ‘you better get some sleep. Things will get back to normal tomorrow.’ 

Monday

Even though he had a disturbed sleep, Sanjay managed to wake up early the next day. It was a Monday, the day he, like every one of us, hated the most. He woke up from his bed, reached for his glasses, unfolded them, and put them on. He walked into the bathroom, freshened up and was all set to leave for the work. He skipped the breakfast as he was not in a mood to eat. He walked to the main road and got into a cab that took him to his workplace.  

Again, he didn't foresee the surprise that was waiting for him at the entrance of his workplace. This time it was a surprise rather than a shock. He saw a black Etios parked outside his workplace. The number plate read 1428. It was his car. 

The day he supposedly lost his car

At the end of the day, Sanjay collected the amount of 10 lakh Indian rupees from Nandini, and then walked towards his car. 

He unlocked his car doors, placed the bag containing the cash and the documents at the back seats, and then locked the doors. He then found his mobile phone ringing and picked it up.

‘Hey, I was about to call you… Yes, the loan got sanctioned… 10 lakh rupees… Hahaha… Yeah, my dream is gonna come true…’

And, he walked away from his car as he spoke over the phone. He reached the main road and got into an auto rickshaw. 

He continued to speak over the phone, ‘yeah, right. I’m gonna find a good real estate guy who would help me in finalizing the land deal…’ 

He got off the auto rickshaw, paid him and he walked home. He then spoke for an hour over the phone. 

Present day

Sanjay sighed with relief after he saw his car parked outside his workplace. He wanted to make sure that the documents and cash are still there in the car. 

He opened the doors.

Written by Ashwin Kumar

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