Caught By A Thief
Caught By A Thief
Arjun was super excited, showing off the goggles to his cousin. For a kid of 9, especially from a poor background that was unbelievable. Arjun ran around the slum showing the same to every one of his friends. All his friends were awed by what they are seeing. But, no one thought of asking where he got it. If he had a mother or father, they would have asked him. But his uncle, who was taking care of him just happy he found something to sell off for his liquor. Arjun would have anyway lied to anyone who asked him where he got it. As he got them by helping some thieves rob a house and run away.
That day he decided he wanted to be a thief. Arjun did not mind being poor, he got used to it. What attracted him to being a thief was the power. He has seen the thief wielding a gun and controlling the richest man and got hooked to it. He wanted that, the gun, the power the money was just a byproduct to him. He achieved it before he was eighteen, he was the most dreaded thief in the town. At that young age, he had a variety of guns.
Many years later
Arjun was walking into the jewelry store from the secret entrance. He was making sure he was not caught in any of the CCTV cameras. He hated this part of the job. But he wants to keep it up so he can buy all the new guns. The owner Ratanlal was busy counting the money when Arjun entered the room. Ratanlal did not blink an eye seeing Arjun. He casually glanced at Arjun and continued counting. Arjun took a seat opposite to Ratanlal. After the counting is complete he asked Arjun how much are you expecting for 10 kg gold. Arjun replied it is not 10 kg but 20 kg. Ratanlal said the papers wrote it was only 10kg. Where I robbed yesterday was an income tax officer, he cannot justify the 20 kg so reported short to police. Maybe you should find more income tax officers said Ratanlal and both of them started laughing. Arjun always sold the gold he stole to Ratanlal. Ratanlal was a shady businessman but treated Arjun relatively with respect.
Arjun did not need any more thieving for a while. The money from the last heist will be enough for another 2 years. That morning he picked his favorite set of guns and went to the rifle club. He was a permanent member there. The rifle club usually is filled with professionals preparing for various competitions. They all had their conversations and plans for upcoming events. No one cared for Arjun out there. It disappointed Arjun as there were none to share when he had perfect 100. That day was different, however. He noticed a girl who was new to that place. The way she dressed and looked she was not one of the shooters. He thought to approach her to strike a conversation. But he was a little shy and decided to mind his business. But he could not control himself but peek at how she was doing. She was hitting bull's eye every time she shot.
As on many previous occasions, he continued to hit perfect scores for the next hour. When he walked back into the club for a snack and drink he noticed the girl again. This time she was walking straight towards him. She sat on the seat next to him. She introduced herself as Chitraganda. Arjun too introduced himself. Even after introducing herself, Arjun could hardly speak to her. Not just because she was the most beautiful one there. He never spoke to a girl who can shoot so well. Chitrangada had to do all the talking. She told him that she came back from the USA only that week and she went there for her business degree. She loved the guns, so she used to visit the gun rink most often in the USA. When she spoke about guns Arjun got the courage to speak with her. He asked Chitrangada what gun she likes. Chitrangada replied she likes a Glock G23. Arjun's eyes widened with excitement hearing that. He had a Glock G23 in his hand that day. They continued talking about guns until the club closed. When the concierge asked them to leave, they stepped out finally. A gentleman he was, Arjun paid their combined bill.
Arjun that morning was excited picking his Glock to head to the rifle club. Not because he wants to shoot his pistol, but he wants to see her one more time. He walked into the club and was searching for her. Chitrangada, as if she was waiting for him, came in a hurry seeing him. Both of them did not shoot a single bullet that day from their guns. The only bullets that came out came from each other's eyes. Arjun could not believe he was falling for this girl. He felt it was just excitement of finding someone who likes guns and it will fade soon. He was hoping and praying for her to lose interest in him. He knows that the girl was rich and he will fall short of any expectations she has for life. This time they did not talk about guns but about each other's lives. Arjun spoke very less, as he does not want to tell her what he does for a living, yet. Chitrangada told everything about her time in the US. She was excited to share every minute detail of her life with Arjun.
Chitrangada: I like to cook pasta a lot. If not for my father, I would have done a course on cooking
Arjun: Why does your father want you to not take-up cooking?
Chitrangada: He wants me to manage his business someday. I do not want that. I want to experiment with food.
Arjun(with a twinkle in his eye): and shoot a gun in the breaks.
Chitrangada (Laughing): Yes, of course.
Chitrangada (Continuing): My mom passed away when I was young. All my time as a kid I spent with my cook. I have seen people just happy after having that first bite. I loved that emotion in their face. That is why, maybe, I love to cook.
Arjun: For me, food means Singhji ka Dhaba. You have a plate of chole with the softest poori. The first bite of it and you are in heaven. You feel there is nothing else that matters. Finish the food and have a Chai, you never want to leave that place ever.
They both continuing to chat this way when the concierge informs them of the closing time. Arjun says, if not for closing you could only see me in Singhji ka Dhaba. Both of them burst into laughter and left the place. That night Arjun could hardly sleep, he tried everything to forget her image and the sweet nothings they shared. But he could not. He does not want to go back to her one more time, as he was sure he cannot stop falling in love with her. What he does not know at that time was Chitrangada was in the same state that night.
The next morning having a tea Arjun was wondering how to get rid of Chitrangada's memories. It is not that he hates all rich people for the privilege they have. But he cannot cheat her with his lies and deception. One day or the other she will come to know he is just a thief. That day the world will fall apart. He already has enough tragedies that will haunt him for multiple lifetimes to come. He does not want a failed love story to add to it. So, he decides not to go to the rifle club for a few weeks. Hoping that she will leave him alone and he can forget her. But things took a different when that night his phone started ringing. It was an unknown number. He thought it was one of his thief friends, planning the next heist. He angrily picks up to say no to them, picks up the call and says hello in an angry tone. The voice on the other side replies, I should be angry with you not the other way. It was Chitrangada's voice, Arjun recognized it right away even though it was the first time they are speaking over the phone. Chitrangada continued, what kind of man are you. Not even asking a girl for a number to keep in touch. I had to get your contact from the club. Arjun was flabbergasted by the call. Chitrangada ordered Arjun in the call to take her to Singhji ka Dhaba. After his amazing feedback that day she could not wait to go there. She disconnected the call. Arjun lost his sleep that night too. The tragedy seems to be inevitable from that point.
The next day Chitranganda came to pick Arjun. Arjun was waiting at a meeting point suggested by Chitrangada. They both head to Singhji ka Dhaba and had a wonderful dinner at the Dhaba. Chitrangada could not believe that the food could be so good.
Chitrangada: I thought you are lying about the food
Arjun: Why will I lie?
Chitrangada: Don't act all naive
Arjun: Seriously, why will I lie?
Chitrangada: I thought you talked so much about the food just to take me out
Chitrangada: Please tell me if you did this to take me out
Arjun: No, I was not
Chitrangada (with a naughty smile): Girls like men who lie for her
Arjun (not noticing her expression): I did not lie, the food is really good
Both start their travel back from the Dhaba. Arjun finally getting courage asked Chitrangada what she likes about the city? Chitrangada tells Arjun, call me Chitra. Arjun not getting the answer to his question asks her again, Chitra what do you like about the city? Chitra says she does not like anything about the city. Arjun asks Chitra to stop the car. He switches the seats with her and starts driving. He stops the car after driving for about 20-minutes. He gets down and they both start walking in silence. Chitra has no clue where they are heading but follows Arjun. When they finally stop, they see this wonderful lake. The place was pitch black and the only light she saw was coming from the moon reflecting on the water. She was awed by the view of the lake. From then Chitra has something she likes about the city, other than Arjun. They spend many hours on the lake in absolute silence. Both needed no words to share, the pleasure of each other's company was paramount at that moment. After a long night when Chitra drop Arjun where she picked him up. Arjun could not control himself, he messages Chitra. Chitra opens the phone to read "I lied". She was all smiles that night. Arjun again could not sleep that night. Not because he was now in love with Chitra, because he wants to tell her the truth.
The next morning he asked her to come to his home by sending the location over the map. Chitra heads to Arjun's home in a hurry in her car. After reaching some point the road turns so small the car could not pass. Chitra was surprised, she thought maps is taking her in a weird shortcut. But when she saw Arjun was waiting for her at that point she did not know what to expect. He asks her to follow him as he takes her to his home. The area looked a lot like a slum. After walking a little more they stop at a house. The house is relatively rich for the locality. Arjun opens the lock and they both enter the house. Chitra notices a wall full of guns and confirms it is Arjun's house. Arjun asks her to sit down in a chair. He did not wait and tells her about his past. He also tells her he does not know anything else and he does not know if he can stop. She was confused and do not know how to react to all this. Arjun continuing, I have fallen in love with you. If you are going to be around you anymore you need to know the truth. She just replies "I love you, too". They both hold hands for the first time. Arjun is an old-timer that way. Arjun thought the tragedy is averted. But what he did not know that day was life had different plans.
As they start getting closer, Chitra wants Arjun to pick up some other job. Even something he is not good at. It is not just because she did not like it but to get the father to agree for their marriage. How can one expect someone to accept a thief as a son in law? But, he had no education or any skills to get a job. So, they decided to lie for the time being.
Chitra told her father that she is in love and the guy she loves is a businessman. Even though he was not happy he asked to meet Arjun. Chitra was too happy and gave the good news to Arjun. Before Arjun was ready, the day to meet the girl's father was nearing. As per their plan, he was supposed to be a businessman from the US. To look the part he needs money. To get the money he had to do what he knows best. He robs the house of an MLA's unofficial wife.
The next morning, he was ready to sell the gold for money. But the tragedy he never expected strikes him. The police raid his house and find the gold. He was arrested that day. It was the same day he had to meet the father. Chitra was trying hard to get in touch with Arjun. But he could not be reached. Arjun was anxious and wants to find a way to get out of jail. That is when he saw an old officer he knew walking into the police station. His eyes lit up. He was about to ask his help to get out. But, the officer had something else in store. "Arjun, you third rate criminal you think you will get whatever you want? From today till the next 10 years, you will be stuck in jail. I have proof of everything you did" said the officer. Arjun is put in prison far far away from the city. Any hopes of meeting Chitra and her father vanished.
In prison, Arjun starts thinking. He was never caught before what went wrong. However, what he finds is many of his accomplices and friends were in prison and they are ready to help. With their help, he escapes prison. What he is going to do next is very important. Chitra was not his priority. He needs to sort a few things out before contacting Chitra. First, he needs to find what went wrong the last time. He goes on tracing his steps. He could not find anything wrong with how he has gone with the robbery. After he made sure nothing was wrong in his steps he confirms someone sold him out. In, no time he finds who it was. But it took a lot of time before finding why? The answer is power, the man who sold out thought he had power over Arjun. Arjun hates not having power and he knows what to do next.
That night he robs some more gold. This time he chooses a place out of the city. But, he cannot go Ratanlal by himself. He was supposed to be in jail. So, he planned and sent one of his accomplices to Ratanlal. The next problem is Ratanlal does not trust everyone, as he does not want to risk his clean business. So, Arjun sends his accomplice disguised as himself. The advantage was that they both are similar build. He gives every step to follow over the phone to reach Ratanlal. Ratanlal does not entertain the accomplice initially. He keeps telling he does not know any Arjun and he has no business with Arjun. Arjun then asks the accomplice to tell Ratanlal, Arjun is stuck in prison. And he will be taking over to sell gold to Ratanlal. Accomplice repeats Arjun word for word. Ratanlal was not ready for it yet. But Arjun not being around for a while he wants to take a chance. He was also happy that Arjun did not doubt him for his arrest. It means Arjun does not know anything felt Ratanlal. He asks the accomplice did Arjun had any doubts. Accomplice, not aware of what is going on asks what is there to doubt? He gets robbed gold, you buy from him. Ratanlal was finally happy to find someone replacing Arjun and asks him to show the gold. Accomplice drops the gold on Ratanlal's desk. What Ratanlal does not know was Police were waiting for this. Within seconds police barge in and arrest Ratanlal and the accomplice.
Within hours, Arjun disguised as a tea boy walks into the jail. He stops at the jail cell Ratanlal was put. Ratanlal did not recognize Arjun in disguise. Let me remind you who I am. I am Arjun who you sent to jail, says Arjun. Ratanlal could not believe what he was seeing. Arjun continuing, you want to know why I am here? The 10+ years I started robbing people I was never caught. When I was in jail the first thing that I wanted to know was what mistake I did. So, I went through everything about the robbery a thousand times in my head. I did not find anything wrong. That is when I thought I am going through this the wrong way. I checked what I did differently this time. It was Chitra that was different. A little bit of inquiry after that I learned the truth. Chitra is your daughter. You did not like to give your daughter to me in marriage. I can understand a businessman being not ready to give his daughter to a thief. But a guy like you too, who make a profit out of a thief, not ready to give his daughter to me. That part I did not get. A little more analyzing I understood it is about power. You always thought you have power over me. Once I was in love with your daughter you showed the power and helped police arrest me. But you never expected me to know all this. But what you did not understand was I had the same power over you what you thought you had on me. Now see, who is powerful. You are the one who was caught by a thief. Before Ratanlal could say anything, Arjun skipped from the police station making sure no one noticed him.
P.S: Arjun went to Chitra and told her everything that took place between him and her father. They both skipped the city to get married. They even found a decent job for Arjun, an instructor in a rifle club. Chitra started to work on her passion by starting a small eatery.