The call that saved a phone

Chennai: It was quarter past 7 in the evening and the bus from Koyambedu to Thiruvanmiyur, D70, was nearing Adyar Depot. As is customary, the passenger strength of the bus reduced with the nearing of the depot.

By the time the bus reached the ever busy LB Road and got stuck in traffic, all but one seat was occupied, of course the driver and the conductor seats are not included.

Suddenly, a group of four individuals got onto the bus, occupying the empty seats. As time passed, the individuals scaled the unoccupied chairs one-by-one, until they reached the row before mine.

A well-built person took to the seat in front of mine, while another stood next to the pole, covering my presence from onlookers. One more person, an elderly looking one at that was clad in white dhoti, had a tonsured head and was standing next to the conductor ready to sprint out of the bus at any given time.

Having been in the field for a ‘considerable’ amount of time, it was easy for me to make out that the well-built man sitting right in front of me was the leader of the group. No sooner had I realised that, the ‘leader’ got to his work.
He turned towards me, having impersonated someone trying to spit out of the window, he brought his right hand close to my head. Naturally, I fended him off. Seconds later, I realised that my mobile phone, which was in my front pocket, was nowhere to be seen.

I realised that the person who was sitting before me caused a distraction and in that fraction of a second, the other, standing near the pole, made do with my mobile.

With emotions taking over, I got up and complained to the conductor of the bus that my mobile was missing and that the four-member gang were the culprits. With a face devoid of expressions, the conductor did not convey anything.
A ringtone came from behind, from below the seat where the ‘leader’ of the group had seated himself. Someone had called me at that opportune moment. Unfazed, the ‘leader’ stated that my phone is under his seat and returned my mobile.

The gang got down from the bus, but I was more intrigued by the person who had called me and saved my phone from being stolen. I tried calling back but the number was not reachable despite repeated and persistent attempts from me.
In my time, I have seen many a politician, government officers and important others. However, my encounter(!) with cellphone thieves is one that will stay in my memory for a while.

(The writer is the Editor of Maalai Sudar)

NT Bureau