Thursday, April 21, 2016
‘I Was Kidnapped’ - Part Three
When I woke up in the morning I saw the family was having a mini conference. My mom looked sheepishly at me. "Did you sleep well?” I nodded numbly. Actually I had gone to bed with a racing heart but then had succumbed to sheer fatigue.
Then my father spoke. “I will come to school with you. I must speak to the Principal. What kind of security do they have that children can be kidnapped right from outside their gates?"
Nooo! My heart cried out. That’s not necessary! Why can’t we let this be? But of course I didn’t say a thing.
The principal was a youngish bespectacled guy and he happened to be in the foreground of the school, in front of a 10-feet-high statue of a welcoming Jesus. He was wearing a white cassock and had a few books in hand.
My father strode up to him. “Father, I need to speak with you."
My father narrated the entire story to him. “How could you let a child get kidnapped right from outside your gates?"
The principal looked my father straight in the eye. “There was no kidnapping. These three boys ran away from school after lunch. They didn’t come till the school got over. Their class teacher reported the fact to me last evening itself. All the rest is just a cock and bull story."
My father was aghast. He turned to me. “Is that true?"
I looked down at my shoes, tears already beginning to well up.
“I asked, is that true?!"
My father gave me the tightest slap I have ever received in my life.
He turned to the Principal. “I am so sorry, Father. No, in fact, I am ashamed. I got completely taken in by his story. Can you believe it, Father, he gave the same story to the inspector…that too inside the police station?!” The Principal just looked at me and laughed.
My dad was beside himself. He gripped my right ear and led me up the path to the school gate. We were going back home.
My brothers were at school (a different school) when we got back home. My father quietly narrated what had happened to my mother. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She twisted my ears, and gave me the spanking of a lifetime. She just wouldn’t give up. She was not only angry but utterly humiliated.
My father finally calmed her down. “Now we have to do one more thing,” he sighed heavily. “We have to tell the cops."
We walked – just the two of us – to the police station. The senior inspector was at his desk surrounded by his assistant and a few constables. He looked up curiously. My father sat down and narrated the sordid story while I intensely examined the tiles on the floor. When he finished, the inspector tilted back his chair in disbelief. He looked at me and then he looked at my father. “You know,” he said, "I have been a policeman for over 25 years. I have investigated hundreds of cases and softened up the hardest criminals. And can you believe it, I got taken in by this eight year old boy?!” He shook his head. “What a story. What details. Do you know, right this moment, I have two guys asking everyone in and around Reay Road if they have seen that sardarji? And, God forbid, had we found a sardarji fitting that description do you know what we would have done to him?” He let out a deep breath. "Phew!”
Then he turned to me and gave me a searing look which could freeze you in your step. “You… You are either going to end up here one day or may be you will become a writer."