It’s a nice and casual evening at the city park and people are enjoying their walk and conversations. Nothing is different about today. Even the loafer, who is lying on the last bench of the West Gate end gate of the park, is observing people, with his head resting on the arm of the bench, just like every other day.
With his lazy gaze, he is sifting his eyes through the bunch of people from a distance. Right next to him is the bench on which he has seen this couple many times before. The guy is formally dressed today while the girl is wearing a salwar kameez. They’re always holding hands. The loafer has seen more intimate couples before.
At this point, he notices a boy selling Frooti packs approaching the couple. The loafer wants a Frooti pack for himself. With this intention he fixes his gaze on the vendor. He has to wait now because the couple wants Frooti too. He sees them asking for 2 packs. The loafer observes the guy taking out money from his trouser pocket directly and not from a wallet. But now!
The guy on the bench took out a 100 Rupee note and some paper also seemed to have fallen from his pocket as he pulled out the money. He waits to see if the vendor or the girl has noticed the paper that fell out. From his bench he tries to wave to the guy that there’s a paper of some sort that is lying right next to his shoes. The loafer is not in the couple’s focus of conversation. They would rather now sip the Frooti. The loafer is too lazy to get up. He starts looking around and focuses his gaze this time on a juice vendor. After a short while, the couple leaves. They don’t know about the paper that lies right under their bench. The loafer slowly gets up behind them and walks up to their bench. With curious eyes, he bends down to pick up the piece of paper. His eyes light up!
The piece of paper is a 500 Rupee note! There’s a look of glee on his face now. He quickly glances around stealthily to see if anyone’s noticing him. No one else seems to be bothered. His assured right hand now is a fist holding the note tightly. He calmly puts his hand in the pocket and walks briskly towards the juice vendor. His body is upright and his walk is suddenly purposive now.
His right hand that was till now clutching onto the note in his pocket, now comes out and is thrust in the face of the juice vendor. He confidently asks the juice vendor for a change of 500 rupees. The juice vendor, however is not in a hurry. He suspiciously looks at the loafer and sizes him from head to toe. The vendor takes a second curious look at the 500 Rupee note. He senses something about it is not right, especially the paper. It feels too thin compared to other notes. He quickly draws another note from his cash box and places both of them next to each other. The loafer gets impatient and urges the juice vendor to give his change quickly. The juice vendor is still diligently comparing the notes. He holds out the just received note in the sun for a final check and he doesn’t see the Mahatma Gandhi watermark associated with genuine notes. He knows he has nabbed a culprit and quickly looks around.
A little further away, he sees a cop, the one who is a part of the State Police Team providing security for the park. He rushes towards him and gets to him in a flash. Excitedly, he shows him both the notes. The loafer meanwhile is quizzically looking at the two of them who are coming towards him. He quickly realizes the cop is coming towards him and makes a dash towards the exit gate. The cop whistles loudly while taking out his gun and chasing the loafer. The loafer doesn’t make it to the exit as the juice vendor and the cop catch up with him. He is callously held by his collar by the cop. The loafer begs him for mercy and tries to narrate what happened. The cop would have none of it. After much persuasion, the cop lets go of his collar with a forceful push. The cop appreciates the juice vendor’s initiative and steps out. He asks him to come to the police station and meet his friends in the police station.
“We need more people like you”, the cop tells the juice vendor. The juice vendor merrily walks back to his stall and wipes off the sweat with his towel that was wrapped around his neck.
The cop steps out of the exit gate and proceeds to walk towards a paan waalah’s shop. He nonchalantly hands over the 500 Rupee note to the paan waalah and asks for a pack of cigarettes. The paan-waalah hands over the pack.
The cop asks him, “How much is the Benson & Hedges full pack ?”
“80 Rupees. I will give you 420 Rupees back.” replies the vendor.