Covered Options

(Delhi. Sunday, January 29, 2006)
I had just about taken off my jeans after a long elaborate steeped process of hobbling on one leg to take off my shoes, then the other, when the door went “Bam, Bam, Bam”!I was livid. Absolutely steaming. This was the friggin changing room of a  premium branded shop, for god’s sake. What the heck is the sales personnel doing?

I growled, “Who the hell is this?”

And a voice says, very dishevelled and stupid, “Hey hey open the door please”.

I continued my naked growl, “Have you ever heard of manners?”

“Would you pass me my pants please?”

I wanted to open the door just to smash his face in. All through the day, I had been hounded by stupid ‘customer care’ dimwits. One after the other. I cannot take misdemeanors of this order, all when I put my heart and soul into what I did, for marketing. For taking care of customers. It just isn’t fair.

And then I asked myself, why is he getting so insistent about the trousers?

The wallet was loaded. Quite a few 1000 rupee notes, more than a few 500s.

I mulled on just how much would hurt him?

I decided on a thousand. Didn’t take out a 1000 rupee note. That would be easily discernible. Two 500s then. Stashed them inside my wallet. Changed into my original wear. Was out.

It was a middle-aged gujarati, who jumped inside as soon as I was out. I slowly ambled over to the counter to ask the kid how much was the discount on the piece that I had just tried on. The gujju was in with his entire family. He came out with his wallet, and a confused expression.

I looked at him. I knew that he knew.

I weighed in my options.

  1. I was sick. Best of all, I looked sick. I had on a scraggly beard, which strangely on me adds a look of genial contenance.
  2. I was wearing my Symbiosis sweat shirt. Beatific!
  3. I was with my mom.
  4. My own wallet had plenty of cash.That just about eliminated the motive element.
  5. I had taken just 1000, when i had the equal opportunity to clean him out.
  6. This guy was getting hysterical by the minute, while I was getting calmer. There was no way, even if he knew, that he could prove what he was saying.
The anger in me fueled with his hysteria. I wanted this to escalate in some way so that I could look into his eyes somehow and convey that I have taken it, and let us see you prove it. He was talking aloud to his son, a fat bespectacled twit half my size,”But I had 7,000. You had given me four 1000 notes na?”

Vigorous fat nod.

Since he was standing just about me, and talking louder and louder, I looked straight into the middle and boomed,
“Are you accusing me that I took your money?”

“Nahi ji, it is not that. But it is only you who went inside na? I got this cash from a wedding I just went into, else one doesn’t even remember the amount of money one keeps na. It was 7000. Now I only have 6000. I had four 1000 rupee notes.”

I thought of it as an excellent moment to launch the offensive. Took off my wallet. Placed it on the counter and said, “Let’s get this over with. Search me up. I do not have any 1000 rupee note with me.”

“Nahi nahi I am not saying that” while turning his head aside and peering inside the wallet.

Then he actually says, “Can I see the number of those 500 rupee notes?”


The shouts started. Little twit says, “Let’s call the police”, and then a whole tirade about just how much time does it take to change in a changing room.

I stare him right in the eye, and growl calmly, “Let us maintain some dignity here, shall we?” And he shifts discomfited under my gaze.

“But then you tell me how are the numbers in the same series?”

Mom is getting frantic. “Did you take it beta?”

“Ma, why would I?”

And then I start taunting. “Is this note yours too? Would you check this one? And this one?”.

A victim’s facial expression is easy to maintain when you are feverish, and the rage is overtaking your senses.

They take the two 500 notes and walk out. Mom couldn’t even see the numbers. Nor apparently could the shopkeeper. She is shocked.

How did I not notice?

8 thoughts on “Covered Options

  1. hate it when the suckers keep track of numbers…i it was me, i’d have hidden some money in some pocket in the old man’s wallet, just to fuck with him 😀

    Well written! 😀

  2. Haha! Obviously. That is what makes it even better. Visualizing the entire situation. You inside the changing room, fat mid-age bloke banging on the door….your mum in the midst of all this…very good.

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