Monday, September 6, 2010

How I caught a bicycle thief

Rarely do things, however small, lost or stolen return to owners. Luck plays its definite role as it proved one evening, some years ago. Waiting, for my wife, on my scooter outside our entrance, bound for an errand, I happened to see a cyclist speed through. Suddenly I heard a man shouting ‘catch him’, sprinting towards me for help because he saw me 'on the blocks' of my scooter. By the time he could explain, gasping, the ‘cyclist’ had vanished in darkness (in the absence of proper streetlights). He was actually chasing that thief who had stolen his bicycle from near a tea shop close by. But the alert loser fortunately had kept an eye and could start the chase as quickly as he had noticed and the direction in which way the thief rode away.

Without a second thought and honouring his request, I allowed him to pillion me. Vrrooom! We began “Operation catch-thief”. Commonsense guided us to take the route that had no upward gradient, obviously not preferred by the escaping thief. So, I took the one that also led to a locality (across the railway line in Chamarajapuram) reputedly notorious for petty thieves. After traveling some distance, lo, my pillion spotted the cycling culprit when he went under a streetlight. “Look he’s going there!”

I soon closed in and blocked his movement just as we crossed the railway line through the underpass. Surprised and frightened, he tried to flee, leaving the bicycle behind. Our frantic shouts to catch him were duly responded by a dozen passers-by. In a jiffy, he was in the clutches of people!

My pillion got down to pick up his fallen bicycle and lunch box/bag, which was fixed to the carrier clip behind the saddle. I found out that he was a poor coolie (labourer) returning from his day’s hard work and while having a cup of tea his unlocked bicycle had been lifted.

The man profusely thanked me in his own humble way and left, but not before both of us watched the culprit being soundly thrashed by his own locality-men for his misdeed that could have put the poor fellow in debt. A few spectators who recognized this thief were talking to each other about his notoriety. The punishment meted out also demonstrated it emphatically. I could not watch 'the fun' for long as I had disappeared from home without information.
I proceeded on my errand, satisfied that my scooter could successfully substitute a foot-chase, and richer with a little story to tell my waiting wife (and brag about it here, now). If my wife and I were to start on time, the poor fellow would have been a loser.

Thanks to Lady Luck, the bicycle returned to the rightful owner.
But in our own case some years prior to the above incident, Lady Luck was busy elsewhere. My late father's Raleigh, which was parked in front of a bank by an uncle who had taken it for his errand, had vanished when he returned after his work hardly a few minutes later. Lesson learnt!


Searching something for this blog, I ended up knowing that there was a famous Italian movie "Bicycle Thief"!
This is just FI.


Sandhya said...

I was expecting a twist in the tale....the bicycle being "saved" turning out to be of your own old lost one!! :)

Good one Dinu, Keep writing! :)

Austinbhats said...

Bicycle kalla na kate was good one.
Bhats from Austin---reading this story in a Lake house.