Hook and Bait
Hook and Bait
Sushila drove for a living. She had no family in the city and stayed alone in a small kholi. She would send money to her parents in her village regularly and was an ideal daughter. She would not indulge in substance nor spend her money on clothes or jewellery. This devotion had paid off as she now sat in her brand new car looking at the small idol of Lord Ganesh sitting on her dashboard. Her last employer had given her a huge bonus with which she finally had enough for a down payment. The bonus however was conditional and she was more than happy to oblige.
She slowly drove out of the building making sure she has full control over the vehicle. Her meter set for hire. Just around the corner was a woman frantically hailing her. Her first customer. She pulled up in front of her.
"Follow that car!" The woman got in hurriedly and pointed at a red car at a distance.
"Yes madam" she complied and started driving. She had heard of 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. She wanted to sound professional for this new beginning. "Madam, should I stop him?" She added trying to ascertain the intension.
"No no, just follow him and keep your distance." The woman seemed scared.
"Is everything alright Madam?"
The woman looked at Sushila in the mirror for a few moments.
"That is my car and my brother is driving it. I want to see where he goes?"
Sushila did not look convinced, she sensed something amiss. The woman quickly recognised this. "He is actually an addict and I want to see where he gets his drugs from."
Now looking convinced, Sushila kept her distance and followed the car. She had heard this before so she relaxed in her seat and on the next traffic stop she casually opened her phone and perused through.
The woman kept a sharp eye at the car to make sure it doesn't get lost. She was a 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 away 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. Sushila stopped inconspicuously at a distance and held her gaze.
She turned around to see a gun barrel staring at her.
"Get out of the car!" It was a stern order.
She complied, her face contorted in horror and disbelief and both her hands raised by reflex, she carefully opened the door and stepped out. She looked over to where the red car was and found nothing. Her mortification did not allow her to speak. The woman smiled and got out of the car keeping the gun pointed at her. She saw the red car approaching from around the building, it stopped next to hers. A man got out and sat inside Sushila's car. He pulled out the Ganesha Idol and threw it at Sushila who caught it with both her 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.
Sushila quickly put the idol in one pocket and took out her phone from the other and dialled a number.
Sushila put some glue under the Ganesha Idol and put it back in the spot it had been on earlier. She wiped the steering wheel with her cuff.
"All okay?" A man leaned in from the side. Sushila smiled in response. "Come and collect your cheque after you are done inspecting your baby." Sushila put both her hands on the steering and sighed.
She walked into the room where several people in khaki uniform were clapping. She saw two of her 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 (Sushila's ex-employer Insp. Rohit) walked in and handed her 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... Sushila here helped us catch the entire shokri gang." Rohit proudly put his hand around Sushila'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. Sushila here... had driven for me for several years; she was planning to start in her own car. She volunteered after two of her friends were robbed in the last week. She wanted to help so she suggested planting a second GPS and let herself 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 Sushila's hand and congratulated her.