Currently I am reading Ryszard Kapuscinski’s ‘Shadow of the Sun’ apart from other books. In a chapter titled ‘My Alleyway’ he writes about his feelings when his apartment in Lagos in Nigeris is broken into. He writes that ‘to be robbed is, first and foremost, to be humiliated, to be made a fool of.’ Those were exactly my feelings too when sometime last week the bag I carry to office was stolen from our house. I keep the bag in the drawing room on a table after I return from the office. It didn’t have any thing valuable for a thief but they were valuable for me. I lost a pen drive which had a draft of my novel, my office ID, a spare key to my room in the office, my income tax papers and also two books. One of the books was Jonathan Raban’s ‘Arabia’ that I had been reading in the car. When we were all inside the thief managed to step in the house, lift the bag and make away with it. We did not even realize it was missing until late into the night.
Anyway, it was a minor theft and I wouldn’t have approached the police. But since I lost my office ID and the key to my room in the Secretariat I thought I have to report it. The next morning I went to the police station and gave my complaint. The inspector heard me out and said they’ll be glad to issue me with a certificate that the said items are not traceable even before they made any efforts to trace the bag. It was clear that they did not think the theft was anything to launch an investigation into.
More than anything it is the loss of Jonathan Raban’s ‘Arabia’ that I have only half read, that upsets me. Funnily enough I had two copies of the book and only last month I sent one copy to a friend in Mumbai. Now I have no idea how the book ends.
All these days, since the past one week, I am not able to help thinking what the thief must have done with my bag and its contents. Each of the items in the bag must have been sold to a different buyer or may be one buyer. I wonder what the guy who got the pen drive would do with the files in it. I wonder what the guy did with the two books that were in the bag. I also fantasise that the books would somehow make their way to Abids which is what I want. Though I want the books back and also everything in the bag including the bag I know I will not see them again.