Hook and Bait
Hook and Bait
Sunil drove for a living. He had no family in the city and stayed alone in a small kholi. He would send money to his parents in his village regularly and was an ideal son. He would not indulge in substance nor spend his money in the red light district like his peers did. This devotion had paid off as he now sat in his brand new car looking at the small idle of Lord Ganesh sitting on his dashboard. His last employer had given him a huge bonus with which he finally had enough for a down payment. The bonus however was conditional and he was more than happy to oblige.
He slowly drove out of the building making sure he has full control over the vehicle. His meter set for hire. Just around the corner was a woman frantically hailing him. His first customer. He pulled up in front of her.
"Follow that car!" She got in hurriedly and pointed at a red car at a distance.
"Yes madam" he complied and started driving. He had had several experiences like this before mostly someone would leave something in the car of a friend but sometimes it would be to spy on their spouse. He wanted to sound professional for this new beginning. "Madam, should I stop him?" He added trying to ascertain her intension.
"No no, just follow him and keep your distance." She seemed scared.
"Is everything alright Madam?"
She looked at him in the mirror for a few moments.
"That is my car and my brother is driving it. I want to see where he goes?"
Sunil did not look convinced, he sensed something amiss. She quickly recognised this. "He is actually an addict and I want to see where he gets his drugs from."
Now looking convinced, Sunil kept his distance and followed the car. He had heard this before so he relaxed in his seat and on the next traffic stop he casually opened his phone and perused through.
The woman kept a sharp eye at the car to make sure it doesn't get lost. She was short and stout and looked worn out but her clothes were expensive and her nails were freshly done.
They had been driving for a while now and had almost reached the city limits, the busy streets and tall building had fallen behind and a more desolate and verdant stretch had surrounded them now. The red car finally came to a halt near a small factory, it looked abandoned. A man stepped out and walked into the building. Sunil stopped inconspicuously at a distance and held his gaze.
He turned around to see a barrel staring at him.
"Get out of the car!" It was a stern order.
He complied, his face contorted in horror and disbelief and both his hands reflexly raised, he carefully opened the door and stepped out. He looked over to where the red car was and found nothing. His mortification did not allow him to speak. The woman smiled and got out of the car keeping the gun pointed at him. He saw the red car approaching from around the building, it stopped next to his. A man got out and sat inside Sunil's car. He pulled out the Ganesha Idol and threw it at Sunil who caught it with both his hands. The woman simultaneously walked over to the red car. Once they were both in, they drove away leaving a trail of dust in their wake.
Sunil quickly put the idol in one pocket and took out his phone from the other and dialed a number.
Sunil put some glue under the Ganesha Idol and put it back in the spot it had been on earlier. He wiped the steering wheel with his cuff.
"All okay?" A man leaned in from the side.
Sunil smiled in response. "Come and collect your cheque after you are done inspecting your baby." Sunil put both his hands on the steering and sighed.
He then walked into the room where several people in khaki uniforms were clapping for him. He saw two of his friends between them, who had tears in their eyes and a set of jingling keys in their hands.
A uniformed inspector walked into the room.
" What is going on?" He demanded, looking around. Everyone was silent.
An inspector in plain clothes (Sunil's ex-employer Insp. Rohit) walked in and handed him a piece of paper.
" This is your reward for catching the gang. Now you can pay for your car completely."
" What is going on?" The man in uniform repeated himself looking at the other inspector.
"Well... Sunil here helped us catch the entire shokri gang." Rohit proudly put his hand around Sunil's shoulder.
The man in uniform still looked puzzled. So Rohit continued.
"We knew that these gang members operated in collusion with showrooms to loot new taxi owners. The showrooms would inform them of any foul play so we had no option but to catch them in the act. Sunil here... he volunteered after two of his friends were robbed in the last week. He wanted to help. He suggested planting a second GPS and let himself be the bait. Once the car reached the chop-shop we raided the place and recovered over twenty stolen taxis under treatment. We also found the woman who is the mastermind and got her to confess."
The uniformed inspector now impressed shook Sunil's hand and congratulated him.