Thursday, December 20, 2007

Misleading appearance

The young lady seemed to be restless in her seat in one of the rear rows of the Omni bus from Mumbai to Belgaum. It was drizzling and dark. The bus was almost full but there was no sign of it leaving. It was delayed by thirty minutes already. The conductor could not tell why the bus was held up except to say that the Time Office had not given clearance. A pleasant looking young man in his late twenties was sitting by her side reading an English magazine. He seemed unperturbed and was cool. He made no attempt to make any conversation with her. She had to break the silence by telling him that she was going to Belgaum and that she was not comfortable travelling in the night bus. She had to travel as she was required to be there next morning. She was afraid as there were many incidents of hold up on this route and the passengers stripped of their belongings. She told him she felt somewhat assured that a decent young man was her co passenger.
It was then a big and burly bearded man in a rain coat entered the bus and occupied a seat on the same row but on the other side. She also saw a lanky man enter who sat by the side of the driver. The bus started immediately giving rise to the speculation whether the bus was held up for the sake of these two guys. Our young lady took an instant dislike for the brawny bearded man who was looking hither and thither .She sensed trouble from him and expressed her apprehension to the young man by her side. He did not reply but she could sense his fears too as he was casting his glance now and then furtively on the muscular man.
The bus had moved out of the city and was moving at high speed on the highway. The checking of tickets was over. The conductor had switched on a movie on the video. The passengers relaxed in their seats and some started dozing straight away. The lady decided to remain awake and be on the alert keeping a watch on the hefty man. She found him half asleep with his eyes closed. Her co passenger appeared to be in deep slumber. After a couple of hours she also felt drowsy and stretched herself in the seat.
It was then she saw one short guy from the front rows stand up and pull a black thing from his side pocket. Suddenly he shouted ‘This is a hold up. All of you remain seated and be quiet if you value your lives.” To her great shock, she found the young man by her side getting up. She pulled him down saying “You fool, he will shoot you. Sit down please.” He pushed her down and cocked a pistol in his hand and warned the people not to stir and to hand over the money, jewels and valuable possessions without slightest resistance. We are ruthless and would kill, do remember that.”
The passengers let out shrieks in fear. The man in the front fired a shot in the air. There was abrupt silence. The bus had stopped in what appeared to be a jungle and the conductor was huddled in a corner. Almost all the passengers took out their purses, rings and watches and the ladies their jewelry. The burly man too made an attempt to pull out a presumably a purse but could not do in sitting posture. He stood up slightly only to pull out a revolver and shoot on the spot at the wrist of the young man. His gun fell down. The lanky man in the front side in the sitting posture fired at the shoulder of the short bandit when he was least expecting. Immediately the conductor, driver and other passengers pounced on the two and showered blows. They were tied and made to sit in the back seat watched by the lanky man with his pistol on hand.
When calm descended in the bus and there was a general relief, our lady stood up and said to the bearded man with a sheepish smile “Thank you Sir. But for you and the other gentleman we would have been robbed and who knows might have been killed also”
He smiled at her and said pulling away the beard mask “I am from the police. We have been keeping a watch on this route for quite some time. We got a tip off and luckily could nab them without any casualty.” He got down along with his colleague and the two bandits at the next stop. The lady learnt her lesson not to be deceived in future by appearances alone.

1 comment:

  1. the moral has been expressed well. taking 'an instant dislike' for someone without a proper reason is unfair and you have conveyed the message successfully.