'There', I tot, 'go my dreams of a coffee day treat', for I was sure that in the best case, he would only let us share the money.... N a fifty is never as good as a hundred, u kno... I jus gave him a vacant stare...
"Look, there comes my friend.." And sure enough, there was another middle aged man on a bike comin in our direction... And in one of those rapid turn of events, b4 i could realise, my neighbour vanished on the bike along wid his frnd!!!
I would ve danced on the road, had i known how to. But im one of those souls wid two (or probably more than two!) left feet. N besides im a normal gal, or at least aspiring to tat title, so I jus smiled to myself...
N now, back to "Mission Im-sure-its-possible"... I looked right n den left. (No! No sentiments here.. I jus happend to look right first!!), my eyes scanning every square inch in sight. Convinced that there was no human soul around, I decided to bend down n pick it up b4 i lost it to some other cruel villian! N den somehow the tot struck me tat mayb i shud think twice abt my decision. I could hear my primary school moral science teacher say "Haste makes waste"!
Wat if someone saw me jus wen i took the note?? Of course, I could pretend ntn had happend n continue as tho it ws my note. But wat if they knew? Wat would they think abt me?? I mean, imagine ur image crashin from a self respectin young girl who has been this perfect idea of the good-gal-next-door , performin excellently in school etc etc, to dis greedy lil creature that grabs onto that piece of currency that surely wasnt her own... a thief, to say the least??!!! Did that sound nice.?? - No, of course not!!
N worse still, imagine some neighbour of urs walkin into ur flat n tellin ur family- "u kno wat i saw ur daughter do yday...."; particulary in tat complaining (read poisoning) tone that middle aged Indian women have!
That landed me (as usual) into a short reverie on the norms of society that bind us. The pangs of living in a so-called civilised society whose rules condition all our actions... N we say we have freedom!! For a minute, i fell for that temptation of saying that all freedom was meaningless.. I mean, if i see a neat hundred bucks n cant walk straight n take it, wat is the point in my constitution granting me 7 fundamental rights?? (Of course, much later, on second thoughts, i realised that i was grossly mistaken, and freedom is not defined like tat etc. But we humans often lose our sense of morality and correctness in important situations, you kno..)
N wat if that note brought some sorta ill charm??? I mean, why would anyone so mercilessly leave a self-respecting hundred rupee note right in the middle of the road and walk away, if they hadn't had some problem wid it? Now, dont you imagine me to be a gullible gal who goes around believing superstitions n stuff. NO! Im jus not tat kinda person.. But somehow it dint quite seem plausible that someone wouldn't notice their money falling down while crossing the road. N obviously, it did not fall wen they were involved in some transaction. I cant imagine anyone paying/buyin in the middle of a road. (Life isnt one of those Indian movies, wher the cars n buses wait as the hero stands obstructing the traffic!) N maybe, it jus runs in the Indian blood (call it genes if u want!) to come up wid arbit sentiments at the spur of the moment.. I cant be blamed for wat runs along wid my erythrocytes, u kno.. :)
N then i thought... Wat if it was a counterfeit note? U kno, like in the Jeffrey Archer short stories, wat if i took the note n entered coffee day, n got caught for using fake money?? I dint even know the penalty for that... Was it jus a fine or a few months in jail?? I racked my brains for an answer. Obviously, i couldn find nethin. (GIGO, v call it...) But I knew tat gettn anywher close to the police wud ruin my reputation... N our family name n honor n such things.... Worse stil, for an Indian gal, the future mite be even more bleak.
N I had heard somewhere that these days counterfeit notes look very much like real ones. They call it some process, i don remembr the name, by which they copy all the motifs on real notes, so that only the machines can find the difference. I could almost see my future crashing down as they suspended me from college, n i wandered from company to company searchin for a job n i could hear prospective employers say "9 pointer wid a criminal record?! u mite be sriously dangerous to our company!! Try somewhere else..." What a comedown it would be, i thought..
N b4 i could come up wid a hundred more contentions, it happened rite b4 my eyes... No, nobody else walked away wid the note!! It was the breeze... And right b4 my eyes, it carried the note away to I-dunno-where!! U kno, the meteorological centre reports a maximum windspeed of 20kmph in Chennai this month!
I did not take the 6A tat day. I chose to walk to my destination!!!