‘Let’s see who finishes this page first…!!!’…these words brought in a sudden impulse in me and there the race began towards the final point. But this was a race of a different kind, it required not only physical agility but the ability to grasp the essence of the the track as well.
This was how the romance began, started off with Nancy drew kinds, slept with Agatha Chrities and finally was bold enough to even stroll along with Shakespeare likes. It all began when i was in my middle school, fourth or fifth standard. My friend was always good at it. He had a track record of an entire page within a few seconds and he could even grasp the content very well where as i could never make it within a minute.
Well, coming back to the romance, it took some drastic twists and turns along the way and even went up to the extent of committing a felony for the loved one:
The incident happened in my eight standard. Our love for books grew unprecedented, but we did not have enough money to hire or buy the one we had liking for and ride over it…oops…sorry…read over. My friend had a very brilliant idea, it seems he even tried it out once.
Location: HigginBothams at M.G Road.
Time: Monday noon. 3.00 PM It is least crowded around this time.
Target: Our favorite books.
So the plan set up and venue decided, we were there at the first floor of Higginbothams where all the Fictions, Non-Fictions, Science books and other general books used to be kept during those days. There was no-one in the entire book-shop except the cashier, a gaurd on the entry to the first floor hall and ourselves. There was absolute silence except the bustling traffic of MG Road in the background. The gaurd constantly watched us, since there was none other to look around. We assumed serious search and browsing around for some specific book so that the gaurd does not grow suspicious (Though we had already decided upon which book to take well in advance). After a long time, we were successful in impressing him upon that we were genuine customers and about to do some heavy purchasing. We chose atleast 4 to 5 books and carried it along all over the racks as if picking up some more. Finally i settled for the two books which i had intended to pick up originally (Hmmmmm …. i mean steal!!!). A book authored by Jim Corbett and another one by ‘Pustak Mahal’ containing high school science experiments were the ones i chose. I also picked one of those covers containing stamps ( I was not a regular philatelist, but just a result of one of those crazy thoughts that breezes across my idle mind now and then. I was always under the impression that such stamps available in those covers were genuine ones, but came to know later on that they were actually fake). Finally our plan being made we started off downstairs where the billing section is (as if we were going to pay the bill). We came out of the hall where the books were into a long verandah and an exit from here through another door to the stairs. Half-way down, the stairs take a 180 degrees swirl to descend the opposite side. Once we swirled along the stairs, we were out of sight of both the gaurd and the cashier, and the books were safely between our tummy and T-shirt. On our way out we wished him ‘Goodbye Uncle!!!’ in all our earthly innocence and he in turn bid us farewell with a gentle smile on his face (Little did he know that those nasty rascals were getting away with his books). Once out of the shop we were proud of our achievement. Hoodwinking the shopkeeper seemed so effortless, and those papers were unable to decide upon the greatest swindlers of the century.
Every dog has its day and we had ours, my friend who probably hadn’t taken this quote very seriously or just ignored it for another obvious cliché got caught by the shop-keeper the next day for the same act. The shop-keeper somehow left him after calling his parents and warning them. But they smelled a foul-play and brought out my part in the conspiracy and he had to reveal my name also helplessly. He was dragged to my house by his mother and made me confess the entire truth in front of my mother. My mother cried the whole night and i realized how much i had hurt my mother’s feelings by such an act of shame. The next day my mother took me took the book-shop and told me to confess my criminal act in front of the shopkeeper. Fortunately or unfortunately, the shopkeeper was my mother’s customer in the bank and knew her well. We paid for wahtever i had stolen and went back.
It has been been 9 years since and every time i meet my friend we laugh it off….anyhow, it was all for the love of books…