November 28, 2008 Leave a comment
Safely away from the spot, he furtively counted the notes without taking them out; they were six notes for a total of three thousand rupees. The Sipper made a conscientious promise in his mind to give away the wind-fall in whole to some good cause once he was in money. But presently it was a divine signal for him to support his son’s efforts. His son, recently out of college with an undistinguished academic career to-date, wanted to sign in on a short-term vocational course on physio-therapy and then look for a job. And that could vastly improve the finances for the family. These days, there are innumerable objects, moving and non-moving, sharp and not-sharp, inside homes and outside, for people to meet with accidentally, in utter disregard for the right of the way, recording painful and damaging imprints on all parts of their body. That only meant more demand for physio-therapists to coax the bones back to their rightful place and prod the muscles to recall their contractions. For starters, the training institute offering the course wanted a crossed bank draft of 250 rupees to be sent along with the application by post. He headed as if in a dream for another nearby bank he had not visited before to buy the draft.
At the bank counter, he pulled out one of those notes and gave it to the clerk along with a duly filled requisition slip. The clerk visually examined the high-value note as required by the bank procedure, got up grating his seat back against the worn-out linoleum and walked away – not an unusual spectacle of the counter being left unmanned while the clerk drifted away to take a personal phone-call or for a chat with a friendly customer or simply for an adhoc tea-break to relieve his tedium. Customers used this time to re-look at their shopping list and route-plan for buying the pending items. With no such agenda, the Sipper waited stoically at the receiving-end of this inattention. People in the queue behind him held him guilty, by their shrugs and mumbles, of bringing up some complex transaction and holding up the services.
On this occasion, the clerk was entirely on diligent duty when he was away from his seat. He came back with a cop-in-mufti holding the note in hand and pointed at the Sipper. The cop asked the Sipper if the note in hand was his. The Sipper told him it must be so, though all notes looked alike and he had no reason to note the serial number on the currency. That was admission enough for the cop. He asked Sipper to go along with him.
The police-chowki was within hailing distance of the bank. On the way, the cop informed him in a tone bordering on accusation that the currency note he presented at the bank was a forged one, showing him where the water-mark was missing on the note. The chowki was nothing more than a cabin with a wooden table and a couple of chairs in the center and a back-less wooden bench on one side to seat the offenders. The cop told him to be seated on the bench to wait for the senior cop who was out in the field.
Elsewhere, GF was worried at the turn of events, constrained by the ‘no miracles’ injunction.
(To be contd.)