I don’t remember exactly when, but it was the time when I was in 5th or 6th grade and I with my other two partners-in-crime would go to a particular shop in ‘Visti para‘ where an old man, in his late 70’s, used to be the grocer, for which we took the advantage and steal things from his shop.
HOW did we steal? and WHAT did we steal?
Just stroll on with me to the next 200 words to find out.
“Uncle, can you show that pen”, pointing towards the direction just behind him.
“This one, beta?”
And the moment he turns to reach the pen, the other two would get ready to clear the things kept on the counter while one of us kept him engaged.
“No, no, uncle that pen”
“No, just beside that”
“On the left side, the purple one”
So what things were kept on the counter? Ah, my mouth still waters up when I think about those delicious ‘pastries’ and ‘dilkhush‘ and ‘khasta biscuits’ and those sweet ‘buns’. Yeah, these were the petty things we used to steal. As I mentioned earlier that he was in his late 70’s, so it took him time to do the job. And by the time he turns back again we would already have grabbed some of the packets of those ‘petty things’ and hide it under our T-shirt, sucking our stomach inside making space enough to keep those packets safely, without getting noticed. (That was silly, I know!). This became our daily routine and we were getting better off at this day by day.
“What’s the cost?”
“ONLY 30 rupees, beta”
“Hmmm… nice stuff, and the price is also resonable, isn’t it?”, I retorted with a tone of sarcasm in my voice.
“That’s one of it’s kind, you will never find the fine quality of ink used in it in other pens”, replied the shopkeeper.
“Okay uncle, keep it, we don’t have the money”.
And then we would run to some safe place and finally, divide the eateries among us and relish our success.
Those were the days when these small successes made me happy and brought immense pleasure. And now when I am a grown up, I realise that those fun providing moments were called theft, serious theft.
I sometimes think that I must visit that shop once again and should apologise that old man.
But… Naaah, why apologise for the crime we never did, as he never got to know what was missing from the counter. So why be sorry for stealing ‘nothing’.