November 28, 2008 Leave a comment
By this time, the Sipper recovered himself from the initial shock. Strangely he felt relieved too since, by any book, picking up orphaned forged notes is no crime. When he was asked about how the forged note came into his possession, he said he did lots of odd jobs; for instance he lined up customers for rental flats (apartments) and they always paid him by cash; so he cannot say for sure who had palmed off this note to him. In fact he had another five notes in his pocket that he pulled out; now he wasn’t sure they were genuine or fake. He could produce a list of people for whom he had provided services over, say, the last six months. This made him a victim rather than an offender. The cops should go out and find the real culprit instead of harassing the poor victims.
The cop took a quick look at the five notes, saw the water-marks and returned them as genuine in his judgment. He thought the man was talking sense and he didn’t appear like one to traffic in forged notes. In any case, luckily, he did not have to take a call – it was for the senior cop to make the next move after he returned. He completed the formalities of recording the residential address and other details of the Sipper and left him cooling on the bench, never leaving the chowki out of sight. Meanwhile the Sipper cursed his rotten luck in pulling one note out of six at the bank and that turned out to be a forged one. After a while, using his mobile, he called out his son and gave him a full update. He also advised him not to panic and let the neighbors know; he should be able to return soon once he explained it all to the senior cop.
An hour passed before a noisy motor-cycle was heard coming to a stop outside the chowki announcing the arrival of the senior cop. The senior cop came in khaki’s damp with sweat with the cop-in-mufti in his wake; he wearily plunked onto the chair behind the table, blew his cheeks, took the squat hat off, raking the thinning hair on the dome with his hand. When the Sipper came into his field of vision, he threw a quizzical ‘Now, what?’ glance at him. The cop-in-mufti filled in the details. The Sipper quickly added the bit about his being the victim and not the offender; also the cop could check up on him if he was legit with the owner of the big nearby grocery shop or with the cop in the Zonal Police Station for whom he had arranged a tenant for his flat only a year ago; and there were others too. The cop calmly pointed out that the Sipper had been without a regular job for some years now; pressed for money, he could have been easily seduced into this money making racket; notwithstanding all those impeccable references he had cited, behind the broker’s façade, he could really be the pajama-kurta clad ‘wolf’. The Sipper was hard put to find a response to refute this insinuation.
Luckily for him, the cop did not need one. He proceeded to inform the Sipper that this was the third incident of its kind within a month. Before him, there was this factory manager and then a tailor who had gone to deposit money in their banks only to find they had a few fake hundred rupee notes on their hand. Given the different social background of the three persons victimized so far, the cops probably had to look elsewhere for someone who had the opportunity to be transacting with a diverse cross-section of unsuspecting public. The Sipper did not fit this profile and hence he would let him go. Of course, the Sipper had to produce a list of his clients from whom he had accepted payment for his services over the last six months. In passing the cop mentioned he may have some personal use for the Sipper’s services in near future!
The Sipper was finally free and home, some three hours after he had set out for his morning walk up to the nariyal paani stall. For all the travails of the morning what did he have to show? He had two thousand five hundred rupees in genuine notes in his pocket, adequate to fund his son’s course and a prospective client to pay for his services. Strangely no one came to the chowki reporting the loss of three thousand rupees.
GF was greatly relieved at the satisfactory conclusion of the affairs of the Sipper and decided to bow out, content to leave it to the Wheels of Karma to roll on. Would they find out who was the conduit for the fake currencies? Let the Karmic dispensation take over. She turned around to see a knowing smile breaking out on CR’s visage.