My mother walks out of a grocery shop with a bag of detergent powder in one hand, and a kilo of rice in another. She looks out for an auto rickshaw but there’s none in sight. What she sees instead is a 20-rupee note on the ground, and a man bending over to pick it up. Another one joins him, and says in a stern voice, “Yeh Aunty ka note hai. Unko de do.” (This belongs to Aunty. Give it to her.)
My mother is puzzled. She checks her purse but all the cash in there seems intact. She holds on to it more tightly now, wondering if the men are just two crooks trying to distract her and run away with her purse. Oh no, she isn’t paranoid. The bazaar is rather crowded, and she had two purses stolen in two decades.
The man holding the currency note hands it to my mother even though she is hesitant to take it. He frowns, and leaves. The other one now demands, “Aunty, ab aap note mujhe de do. Maine jhooth bola tha taaki uss aadmi ko note na mile.” (Aunty, give me the note now. I had lied because I didn’t want the other guy to have it.)
While my mother is still trying to process this, a third man comes over. He snatches the note, and says, “Thank God, you have it. It’s mine. I was looking for it in my wallet, and then realised I must have dropped it somewhere.”
My mother bursts into laughter, and laughs all the way home.
While my mother is still trying to process this, a third man comes over and snatches the money
My uncle is knocked over by a cab. He is 69 years old, and rather feeble, with only half his teeth serving him. The spectacles survive; his nose doesn’t. The driver, Noor Mohammed, rushes him to the nearest hospital. The passengers in the cab accompany them. Being Human. Pun certainly intended.
Luckily, there are no serious injuries to the skull or spine. The knees are scraped, the nose is bleeding, but he is conscious. The CT scan says there is not much to worry about. The swelling will heal in a week’s time. The driver offers to pay for the dressing of the wound and other hospital expenses, and for the cab that will bring my uncle home.
When he arrives with a bandaged nose, and legs that move with much difficulty, half a dozen relatives are waiting to see him. The story of the accident and its aftermath is quickly extracted from the uncle, who is now smiling. It is told and retold, and also voice-noted over WhatsApp. One aunt tells another, “Maine kahaa tha na, Musalman bhi achchhe hote hain.” (I told you, didn’t I? Muslims too are nice people.)
Chintan Girish Modi is a Mumbai-based writer. That he shares his last name with a Prime Minister is purely a matter of coincidence. He tweets at @chintan_connect