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Be a part of the contest Navratri Diaries, a contest to celebrate Navratri through stories and poems and win exciting prizes!

Am I A Thief?

Am I A Thief?

13 mins 362 13 mins 362

Yesterday was a typical Sunday. A time for relaxation and vacation. Nonetheless, in the morning, suddenly and disturbingly, a great peril descended upon us.

I got a call; a harsh male voice in my mobile was threatening, “Ramanuj - listen carefully - your daughter is in my custody.” My instant reaction was like a thunderclap, and my breath seemed to stop, my ears refused to hear, but that voice continued to hit me, “…. come to the northern outskirt of the town near the abandoned Majesties - farmhouse at precisely 3.30 a.m.- this night - alone- with Rs. Twenty lakhs and take your child. If you bring Police, you will never see her... we don't have to tell you that we have access everywhere and will know if you go to them.”

Then I heard her cries for help; her voice was unmistakable. Then there was deathly silence. The mobile was disconnected. I felt as if a catastrophe had stricken me!

To unfold this unusual story further, my past will now need to be revealed.


Where would I possibly begin? Perhaps I would start from my strange mental disease - Kleptomania - an impulse control disorder; my inability to refrain from the urge to steal stuff. God knew that this was the original cause of my strange individuality and all the attendant problems. This was plain and simple theft! It was just shameful. I invariably felt that this was a torment of the devil in me! God was not kind to me!

My disorder had minor repercussions over many years; my thefts were confined to lifting trivial things from shops or other homes, but all that drastically changed about three months ago, when I visited my extremely wealthy Aunt, Jayalaxmi, in Bengaluru. It was last November.

At that place, I set my eyes for the first time on a magnificent rare gem with its red hues - a Red Diamond. I was told that it weighed more than ten carats. It was so stunning that on seeing it, something peculiar happened inside me. In some way, I wanted it desperately. Was it my Kleptomania again?

My Aunt had proudly shown that spectacular Gem to an assembly of relatives and friends during a party. She then kept it back in a Jewel box and put it in her steel almirah which I noticed she didn’t lock. It was callously thoughtless of her, especially when servants were around. For me, it was an opportunity. Little later, when nobody was about, I opened the almirah and then the box; there were two such beautiful Gems, but I picked one; that sufficed and satisfied my urge. It was just so easy. Nobody could guess that it was me, the culprit!

I should acknowledge that my craving for gems was already there- for many years. I was an avid collector of much smaller gemstones such as amber, ruby, emerald, topaz, sapphire, et al. But the Red Diamond brought out the worst of my craze fueled by Kleptomania. It became my most prized possession, the pinnacle of my passion. Its red hue fascinated me.

Oddly, along with my fascination, somehow, I felt that I held no claim to that stolen Gem. It was my greatest sin. It would do me no good. It might be a jinxed stone for me.

Leaving aside that love and fear of the Red Diamond, I could say that the rest of my gems were purchased with my hard-earned and honest money.

Well, I did wear the facade of honesty barring that manic moment of stealing the Diamond and many instances of small stealing. To the world, I was still a respectable gentleman, professionally qualified and holding a government post of some stature. I did have some credibility in the society.


But that credibility had no meaning before this turn of destiny. This danger, which had happened. All kinds of thoughts were crossing my mind. Why was this happening? How to come out of this danger? Perhaps the Hell’s misfortune was enveloping me! God was not a benefactor! What prayers could help me?

I now unfold my story from where I had left. The Sunday had started leisurely with a steaming cup of coffee. Subhalakshmi, my dear wife, was in the kitchen preparing “dosa”, and our daughter, Rukmini, a sweet girl of nine years, was impatiently waiting at the dining table.

“Amma, I am hungry, how long?” Rukmini called her mother.

Subha came in with a plate of “dosa” and passed on to her daughter. My spouse was a slightly built lady with dark but chiseled features and long curly hair. On seeing my famished look, she told me to wait for my turn.   

Smelling the food, my dog, Tommy, a German Doberman Pinscher, came in and sat near me. He was an extraordinarily disciplined and faithful creature. His food would also come.

After breakfast, Rukmini left for her tutorial class. She would come back shortly.

An hour later, with my hunger satiated and nothing else to do, I was drifting off to sleep in my chair, when my mobile rang.

My predicament had begun!


On hearing the rough voice demanding ransom for my kidnapped daughter, my peaceful world came crashing down.

I started calling my wife frantically. I was panic-stricken. She walked out of the kitchen.

“Subha, just now I got a call from some man, he has kidnapped...” I then choked on my voice, “... our Rukmini… he wants twenty lakhs rupees as ransom... “

My brain refused to think, and my eyes became moist in anxiety.

Subha stared at me, nonplussed with a disbelieving expression. Then, tears started to well out of her eyes. She stood there transfixed for long, then cried out hysterically,” No… it can’t be. No…!

When I told her all, she wept, “Why...why ... this should happen to us...what sin did we do? God, please help us...” The trauma was intolerable. She moved into her bedroom with faltering steps.

All time seemed to stand still. But the pendulum clock was relentlessly ticking away.

Thankfully, my initial shock was receding, and my mind went into a whirl. In some way, I was getting this feeling that the Divinity wanted me to atone my unrighteousness, purify myself from that cursed Red Diamond...then I would be free of this danger.

I thought about it for many minutes! My subconscious mind seemed to be suggesting that I should pay the ransom of twenty lakhs by giving away my Red Diamond, which would amount to that much or more. I couldn’t remember that the Kidnapper wanted only cash.

I decided, ultimately, “So, this is it! If God decreed that handing over my stolen Gem to a criminal would be my redemption, then why not?” 

Then my feelings meandered, that Diamond was my lifelong passion - but – after all, it was illegally possessed through my sin. It was not more important than the life of my daughter.

I would unquestionably sacrifice my passion for her sake!

I had to tell my plan to my wife. But then she would need to be told how that Red Diamond came into my possession. Alas, she knew nothing about my questionable background.

Entering the bedroom, I saw her lying on the bed, sobbing. Running my fingers gently through her hair, I said reassuringly, “Subha, we will confront this danger together, have faith in me, we will get her back, safe.”

She looked up into my eyes, “From where you will arrange such a large amount of money?”

I gulped and said, “We don’t have so much cash … but we have a precious asset, a Red Diamond.”

She stared, she was surprised, “What are you saying? Where is it? From where you got it?”

Now my transgression had to be revealed. I couldn't meet her eyes; this was a situation that no husband would ever want to be in. It just had to be done. Stammering, I said, “Subha, I...I have something I must confess to you... now... my secret ... “I gulped. “The Red Diamond is a stolen one ... I am the thief, since childhood, I have had this bad habit of stealing ..."

I stopped as I saw the expression on her face; she then covered her mouth with sari pallu.

I hurriedly continued,” No... no... It’s not what you think… I am not an average thief... I think this is due to my agony from a disease called Kleptomania ... this has been happening for many years and now this stealing of Red Diamond… my ultimate passion. ”

I again halted and regarded her uneasily. She was totally stunned.

Then haltingly I divulged everything to her! I didn’t omit any detail.

She slowly sat up on the bed, and her eyes were burning; then she slapped me - a stinging slap, my cheek burned, my eyes watered in shame and pain.

Her voice climbed up and rose, “How dare you... can't you control yourself, don't you have any conscience, don't you have any soul, don’t you fear God …?”

I looked away; time appeared to crawl; there was nothing else to say. But I seemed to be taking command of myself; her response was anticipated; this was not the time to respond to her slap; in fact, I deserved it. I had to move decisively now to save our daughter and that too with my precious Red Diamond.

Subha had gradually quietened. My plan was acceptable to her. There was simply no other way. She was an extremely brave lady.


Late in the night, she and I were in the car with our dog, Tommy. We couldn’t leave him locked up alone in the house. We had planned that I would park the car in the adjoining forest area near the abandoned farm. She and Tommy would remain there and wait for me to return with Rukmini. We had not informed the Police. We wanted our child back; safe.

I walked towards the farm with a small bag; it contained the Red Diamond.

The cloak of the darkness had been pierced by one dimly lit bulb hanging from a temporary wooden pole, illuminating a small area. I walked towards it and stood near a shrub on the open ground; waiting.

The time was ticking away. My luminescent watch showed – 3.27 a.m. I heard a faint sound near the right end of the diffusely lit area. I looked with alacrity but saw nothing.

Then a man with his face hidden in black cloth entered.

He held a gun pointing towards me.

“Have you brought twenty lakhs?” He hissed, barely audible, “Are you alone?”

I nodded, “Yes, but first show my daughter - that she is unharmed.”

He waited for a few minutes staring at me, then after looking around, listening intently, stepped back in the darkness and pulled forward a girl… my Rukmini! Her hands had been tied behind and a tape fixed over her mouth. She looked at me and became agitated… started struggling... but the masked man started hitting her neck.

Initially, a quick sense of relief passed through me; at least she was alive, but my temper started to rise when I saw him hitting her.

“Take your ransom, this precious stone – a rare Gem worth more than what you want and release my daughter.” I held forward the bag; my voice came out coarsely.

He stopped with an oath, “What? There is no cash; only gem! Who wants it anyway? You fool, you can’t understand that this is not acceptable. You have no brains!” He spat on the ground, then lifting his gun and pointing towards Rukmini, said haltingly, “I want cash, just now, or else...” His finger started to tighten on the trigger.

Momentarily my mind went blank, then I shouted, “Wait...wait...” but my voice died down at an incredible sight which was unfolding before me.

I saw an animal was materializing from the darkness and jumping onto the masked man. It was so unexpected that the man toppled to the ground and his gun fired indiscriminately, a bright blaze in the darkness and a booming sound echoed everywhere. The sleeping birds woke up and fluttered out of various trees around. The dogs began barking at distant places.

The man was on his knees, shrieking in pain. His gun was thrown out of his hand; it landed a little away from my feet.

That animal then barked; so familiar; it was no one else than my dog, Tommy! 

A Doberman was not a small dog; Tommy had a height exceeding two and a half feet and weighed more than 35 kg. A fierce attack from him could waylay any adult. This man was no exception. Tommy had already caught his right wrist in his large mouth lined with vicious scissor bite teeth.

In the blink of an eye, I understood the changed scenario and rushing forward, picked up the gun.

Rukmini came running towards me... I hugged her and started opening the tape and rope.

Surprisingly, within minutes, a Police vehicle arrived on the spot with a scream of sirens and flashing beacon light. They were moving on the main road at that time when they heard the loud noise of the gun.

Things were just happening so fast. That man, severely injured by Tommy, was arrested, and taken to the local hospital for first aid treatment, after which he would be shifted to the police station. He was a dangerous fugitive.

I went to the Police station with my family and Tommy. I wanted to surrender and open my misdeeds about the Red Diamond. When God had helped me to get my daughter, it became my holy duty to wipe out all my sins, in return.


It is early morning today; the darkness of the sky is lightening up with the first rays of golden sunlight!

Awaiting for the Inspector to come, suddenly my mobile rings. It is my Aunt Jayalaxmi from Bengaluru, her voice comes in clearly, “Ramanuj, sorry to disturb you so early in the morning but I can’t stop myself from sharing the good news with you.”

Too much has been happening, and my mind refuses to take any information, but she doesn’t know that and continues, “ Late last night Police had recovered the Red Diamond which was stolen last November… remember, I was so much upset about it. It was taken by Biju, and you recall that old servant of mine, who I thought was so honest!”

My brain goes numb. What the hell is this? A cruel joke of my fate? The Red Diamond is with me! What is happening here?

She is continuing, “Although not known to many; in my Jewel Box, I also had an imitation of my original Red Diamond; strangely that paste diamond was also stolen; by whom we don’t know… but not by Biju…. Well, it is of no significance or value, so I don't bother about that fake…."

She happily goes on and on.

But the realization has dawned on me… the Red Diamond which I have with me is not a real one, a fake! How did I miss this startling fact, all these months?

Nevertheless, indeed, a new dawn has arrived in my life!

As of now, the Inspector has not yet met me. My salvation will then come!

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