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The Quirky Souvenir

The Quirky Souvenir

6 mins

 Late one night, at around 2am 'Canara Pinto travels' passenger bus traveling from Goa to Mumbai was held by the cops. The 3 cops climbed the bus. In one quick glance with the help of a torch light, they noticed that the bus is almost empty with just a few families traveling in it. All were fast asleep. One male passenger particularly caught the eye of the main cop. The passenger was in his mid thirties, looked tired, in his deepest slumber on the recliner chair of the bus. The man was traveling all alone and had two bags kept on the empty seat besides him. This probably grabbed the attention of the cop. 


"Excuse me Mr., please wake up" said the main cop to the man. The bright light of the torch strained the poor man's eyes and he woke up confused. With drowsy eyes he couldn't comprehend at once as to what and who woke him. When he got to understand the reality he suddenly became alert and sat up straight. 

"We want you to open your bags please" said the cop to him. 

"Sorry? " 

"Open the bags right now I said". 

The young cop in the crisp Khakhi uniform commanded. 

The poor man was confused initially, fumbled looking for the keys of the mini locks attached to the bags. Finally after some struggle both the bags were unlocked. 

The first bag contained cashew packets, loads of them. Salted, plain, with skin, masala coated, chocolate coated and the authentic Goan masalas, richad, cafreal, vrindaloo, roast masala, etc. The cop gave a curious look to the man. 


"For the relatives and friends back in Bombay." he clarified. 

Just before the second bag was opened, the torch which the main cop was holding, started to flicker and stopped working. He tried all ways to get it started but failed. 

The second bag flap was opened in the negligible light. This bag had the man's clothes in it along with some more packets of goodies. 

He said to the cops "Sir I know the rules, I am not carrying liquor in any of my bags". 

The cop gave him a deaf ear and asked his team to dig into the bag. The cops surrounding the bag looked like a patient on the Operation Table surrounded by the Doctors and nurses. 

The man was so tired and sleepy that even all this chaos could not help him in keeping his sleep away. His eye lids were getting strained, longing to be closed. He did not realise when he went back to sleep. 

Just then, something happened, which not only stunned the cops but completely vanished the sleep from this man as well. 


"Sir, look what we have found " One of the constables said loudly which had caused the man wake up with a start. 

Medium size, 3 zip lock transparent pouches were found in his bag, which contained some white powder. Oops! White powder !!! 

The constables gave the packets to the Main cop. 

"Can you please explain......Sir? ". Holding the packets in front of the man, asked the cop. 

The man started to sweat, scared and confused. 

"Sir.....Sir, p-please believe me, I have no idea from where this has come from. This is definitely not mine. " 

"Don't worry in the police station, within a few minutes we will get your memory back and make you speak clearly on the whereabouts of this" Said the cop giving a furious stare. 

He opened one of the packet in the dim light of the bus to sniff it before getting the man dragged down the bus. .... 


In the same bus, last seat, totally confused and scared, looking at the cops with her dear father was me, in my drowsy eyes. I had seen men in police uniforms very often in Amitabh Bachhan movies but so closely in real never before. I was not able to understand why was my dad surrounded by them and treated like a villain. So many thoughts running in my mind, all turned haze. Even though I wanted to protect him. I wanted to tell the cops they are mistaken, my dad is the hero and not a villain, I just could not. I was so helpless. As my sleep supersede my will power. 


.... Two days ago.... Back in Goa.  



The 'eight year old me' along with my 5 years older sister was playing in a park in Ponda-Goa. The memories of that park are still fresh in my mind. It was the prettiest park I had ever seen as a child. The park ambience was unique. It had these flowers plants of vibrant colors along white round pebbles and soft white artificial sand all over the place. I collected over a dozen of the white pebbles in my play bucket and went to my mother who was sitting at the nearly-by bench calling us girls to return back. 

"Sharon, where is Susan. How many times to call you girls? It's late, I need to get back to the room and help your dad in packing the bags. " 

Just then Susan, my sister comes running towards us with the intention of spoiling my fun. 

"Mummy, Sharon is planning to take these pebbles back home. Is that allowed.?" 

I give a dirty stare at her. 

"Of course not. Sharon, please empty that bucket of yours and come up quickly. " 

Mom rises to leave, and my sister obediently follows her.  


As a kid I had a hobby of childishly collecting something from every new place I went, like a dried leaf, hotel writing pad, train ticket, etc. I would label it with the time/place and keep it carefully in a box, 'my memories box'. Each object that I collected had to be different from the earlier ones. My mum somehow was never pleased on my this habit.  

I emptied the bucket of pebbles and stood there, thinking. Thinking as to what can I take and how, where-in no one (especially my sister) gets to know anything.  

I go back to the hotel room victoriously, with the empty bucket.  

Since the bus was empty. My mom took my sister and me on the last seats to sleep freely. And so my poor dad was alone sitting few seats ahead with few of the bags. Completely unaware that one of it contained my 'secret'. Back in the park, I had stuffed in my shoes with the artificial sand before leaving the place. I poured out the sand from my shoes into the plastic pouches that were kept in hotel washroom for toiletries, before sliding it secretly in my dad's bag.  



I was fast asleep when we reached home in the morning. As I opened my eyes the memories of the cops surrounding my dad immediately flashed my mind, I gotup with a jerk! I looked around me and was elated to see my whole family including my dear dad sitting right next to me in bed. They were busy chatting about the previous night. I heard my dad narrating to my mom the whole instance. On how the cops opened the packet, sniffed, even tasted it a little in the dark. I turned cold in shock. I was scared at the same time felt bad that my dear dada had to go through this because of me. Just then my sister looked at me and said in her loud voice "Mummy, dada, just look at the guilty face of the criminal ". They all turned to me and roared in laughter. The usual talkative me was speechless this time. I leaped and jumped on my dad and gave my parents and a tight hug. My sister joined in too and we all hugged together. It was indeed 'the best moment with my family.' 







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