Bold Headline ” Man steals to finance Carnal Desire”
First para in the newspaper ” Gochan Bahadur Tapa’s dream of making it big in Mumbai came crashing down when he was arrested for allegedly stealing Rs 19,000 ( about $500) from a restaurant in a Mumbai suburb ”
I thought that the day that I walked into ” Uncle Chinese Restaurant” was the best day of my life. I soon realized it was my worst! I had come from Nepal in search of work. I had been roaming the streets of Mumbai for the last two weeks and had barely eaten a proper meal since I left home.
” Go to Mumbai… you will make your fortunes there ” everyone told me . Without thinking I woke up one day packed a few clothes and left for Mumbai. I didnt realise that it would be such a heartless city ! Smelly and dirty..
One day I walked past the Uncle Chinese Restaurant and saw a fat middle aged man sitting at the cash counter .
” You looking for a job?” he growled at me ” Want to be a waiter ?”
I nodded , the sweet sour smell of soya and frying wantons invading my mind like a narcotic. Realising that I would get food as much as I wanted I hastily agreed. The proprietor was good to me and soon I knew all the items in the menu from top to bottom and then bottom to top within 45 seconds. No one asked for menu cards anymore , they just called for me to take their orders. I was known as the friendly waiter and everyone tipped me generously. I was happy.
The problem started one day when I was strolling in the streets one day . I suddenly heard someone call my name and when I turned I saw a Nepali girl wearing a short skirt high heels and a slinky top. Not wanting to show interest I ignored her
” Gochan come here…”
” Gochan its me , Meena don’t you recognize me ?”
I turned . It was Meena . We were related , but all the Nepalis in the village were related with each other anyway . Meena had been clever , she was the first amongst us to learn to read and write. We had grown up together and then she disappeared from the village. I went up to her and then we embraced. We laughed and she took me to a park where we sat and discussed our lives. When I asked her what she did she burst out into tears. Then only did I notice the glares of passersby. Their raw naked desire evident in their half opened mouths and their gestures answered my question. I noticed the red lipstick, the cheap perfume and her eye shadow . Meena had become a prostitute! I was furious .
” Gochu don’t be angry what could I do . I had no job and no where to stay .”
I looked at her and deep within her eyes I saw the same sweet innocent girl I grew up with . We spoke and she promised that she would stop doing her trade and look for something decent to do. Suddenly whilst we were talking she started vomiting. She rushed behind the tree and wretched . Meena was pregnant!
” I want to have an abortion Gochu help me please .”
I promised her I would meet her again and would help her. I had loyalty to the people of my village and more so to a friend I grew up with . We started meeting and people started talking that I was frequenting a brothel and had got ‘hooked by a hooker’. They made fun of me and joked about me ..what did they know ?
” Gochu loan me money , I have found a doctor who will help me” she pleaded.
I promised Meena I would meet her the next day in her house with money .That morning I went to work and swept and swabbed the restaurant floor . I looked at the cash box .. It was open. I saw the money . A pulse started beating in my head, my breath was quick and short . Without thinking I took the money and ran to Meena’s house. I didn’t tell her where I got it from. I think she knew. She put the money in her purse and went to get me some food to eat. She didn’t come back. I waited all day. I was a thief, but it was so easy.
Suddenly I could hear the steps outside the staircase. It sounded like a battalion. I hid under the bed, nervous. “God help me..God save me” I whispered hoarsely . The door came crashing open and the head constable started searching the room and turning everything upside down! They found me and took me to the police station. I was put behind bars. Meena was missing.
The next day I read my name in the papers it said ” Man steals to finance Carnal Desire”. What did they know !
The newspaper : DNA , Mumbai dated 20.5.2008