It all began with a badly-behaved private bus driver taking a sharp turn to the left and braking to a complete stop right in front of my car. Which eventually led to my mobile phone disappearance.
I was headed to a dinner with a friend staying at The Oberoi, Bangalore. I was driving myself. After getting onto the MG Road where the hotel is located I was driving to the left of the road keeping a careful lookout for the entry gate; Oberoi having the entry, exit and service gate adjacent to each other. And these all look alike. I dare not miss the entry gate as that would mean taking a circuitous route around the hotel to make a second “approach”.
As I was focusing on the task at hand, a bus cut across sharply and screeched to a halt right in front of my car. It was only with great difficulty I could brake inches away from the bus. The bus disgorged a couple of passengers and sped off immediately. “Ah, safe!”, I thought to myself, silently cursing the bus driver.
I was about to resume my drive when both the front and the rear doors on the left opened as if by magic and in swept two women who sat themselves in the car.
Before I could say, “Who the hell are you?” commanded the one at the rear, “Let’s go!”
“Go where?” I don’t quite encourage strangers plonking themselves in my car uninvited and asking to go for a drive; least of all strange women
The one at the front leaned close to me and smiled “Let’s go and have some fun.” I could smell whisky on her breath.
I was quite taken aback by all this. “Fun?” and then the penny dropped!
So these were hookers. And they were aggresively looking for business!
I have never been in such a situation earlier, and I wondered what to do next. I weighed my options. Taking up their offer was not under consideration even for one moment, let me hasten to add. In a fraction of second words like “underworld”, “blackmail”, “extortion” sprung up in my mind!
I could visualize one of them screaming at the top of her voice and attracting public attention on this busy road. “Help, HELP! Oh this dirty man!” A crowd would gather watching the fun and from the shadows would emerge the gang-leaders armed with a knife or worse still a revolver and force me to cough up money! And the crowd of bystanders would certainly include someone I knew.
“Oh, my, what have I got into!” I was sweating bullets now! Headlines in next morning’s papers: “A senior MNC executive caught eve-teasing” Or worse still: “A senior middle-aged MNC executive caught molesting red-handed”. Or this horror: “A senior MNC executive accused by hookers of non-payment of dues.” Next would be a picture of mine with my face wrapped in a length of cloth in the normal manner of a criminal being led to the police lock-up.
“Oh, my, what have I got into!”
I got out of the car immediately lest these wily women start the howling. I stood on the road and bravely stuck my head into the window beseeching them to leave. They realized they had dialed the wrong number and lurched out of the car.
I heaved a sigh of relief and drove right into the Oberoi parking. Catching my breath l reached for my mobile phone which I always keep along with house keys and my wallet on the co-passenger’s seat in the front when I am driving alone. And there was no phone! Neither my wallet. I looked under the seat and I found my wallet which must have slipped down when I had braked behind the bus. The phone was gone! The women had stolen my phone; my lovely blue Nokia 6100 which I had bought just a few month ago.
Sheepishly I narrated the incident to my friend who by the end of the story was rolling with laughter. “Serves you right for parking your car right in front of the hookers looking for business at 9pm in the evening.”
“But, you I know I did not”
“Of course you did, never mind the reasons why. How are these women to know that it was an accidental stop and not a deliberate one?” He continued, “That is how these things operate. A single male cruising around looking for fun, finds two women hanging around and stops right in front of them. The women would get into the car, but obviously.”
My friend obviously was a lot more informed than I. So I asked, “But why two women?”
“Simple”, he said. “Two women drive with you. They negotiate the price. You choose which one you want while the other one takes the agreed remuneration 100% in advance and disembarks. At least the money is safe for them. And you drive away with the woman of your choice.”
I could see the point.
I walk into the office half expecting people to surround me and tell me what they saw on MG Road the previous evening. Nothing of the sort, mercifully. I had earlier decided to keep this whole episode a secret. But then I decide to tell all so that others do not get caught in similar circumstances. Everybody of course has a good laugh at my expense. Someone even has the temerity to suggest that the next time I go to have fun, I should not be carrying my mobile with me. Dirty guy!
Three days later:
I buy the replacement handset. I was very happy with my blue Nokia 6100 and I see no reason to change the model or the colour. I walk into the office and start my day’s work.
A couple of colleagues carrying their coffee-cups walk into my office for a chat. They see my mobile phone. They say nothing and walk out after a few minutes of chatting.
Moments later, news is rife in the entire office that yours truly went back to the women and recovered his mobile back! How very adventurous of me, and how very thoughtful of the women.
The Nokia 6100 has long been replaced with something more contemporary, but to this day, I am the butt of jokes in the office regarding my mobile escapade! The story of how I was immobilized by a woman who later restored my mobility!
PS: Soon after the episode I decided to get an auto-locking device fixed in my car. A lesson learnt! No more taking chance in the Bangalore traffic and with some of the Bangalore traffickers!