Two days back my flatmate Riju walked into our house after her morning classes and found that everything was a mess. Her first instinct told her that Shruti must have come home to look for something and left everything like that. Riju is a bit conceited about the fact that she likes everything folded and stacked ( with little moth balls specially ordered from India to go into her winter clothes) so she must have felt rather superior at that first thought.
When she took a little stroll around however, she found that Shruti had gone to gigantic extents to find whatever she wanted to. All the cabinets were opened and drawers removed from their respective grooves. Each and every piece of clothing was inspected for some unknown reason and all the bedrooms looked like they had been hit by a Tsunami. As she walked out of her room in this wonderful, innocent amusement, she realized that there was shattered glass on the kitchen floor and a big hole in the kitchen door glass with a curtain neatly folded over it for cushioning!
I am secretly glad that at least that got her shrieking mad and she suddenly turned into this highly electronegative anion and started calling everyone one after the other.
She called me at around one in the afternoon and all I could hear was shrieks and sobs. Then when I asked her to take a few deep breaths ( I really felt like a Yoga teacher) and look around for anything missing. She gradually realized that we had one laptop less in our lives, her webcam was gone and the DVD player was missing ( Shit! How are we going to watch DDLJ for the seventeen millionth time now?!).
I called her back and asked to check if her passport was stolen. Thankfully we can still send Riju back without any embassy hassles if she gets on our nerves too much!
Well we had been burgled and thanks to Riju who entered the house first and took the initial shock away I was relatively composed.
We girls have trains in our reflex mechanisms so instead of looking for a taxi right away I looked at my friend Sergio and told him that I would walk straight to the Central Station. In his calm Greek accent he said, " Well, if I were you in such circumstances I would usually go for a taxi but since you insist I will escort you to the train station". Upon which I suddenly remembered the yellow and white species running on the roads of Brisbane. We walked to the nearest police station first and got the instructions about filing a break-in. I got the number and got into a cab. I filed the complaint on the phone and the cab driver doubled the speed, lowered the music and made a really sympathetic face when he overheard my conversation with the cops.
I reached home and when I got out of the cab it was like entering into a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie.
Riju was standing in the door with swollen eyes and a distant mourning on her face. When I walked towards her, she hugged me with such helplessness that I was filled with compassion to the brim. If God had been sampling for genuine goodwill at that time, I would have been his saturation limit.
We had been instructed not to touch anything so I walked around the house in its dire state. Everything was ripped apart. The burglars were specifically interested in Riju's room so they had even ripped off her pillow covers and stolen her new linen. My room had been turned over too but there was hardly anything worth stealing there so they had left it after a preliminary look.
Shruti's trinket case was gone which unfortunately contained her diamond necklace.
There was glass all over the kitchen and those desperate idiots took our knives. I was a little heartbroken at the knife set but I quickly gathered myself.
Shruti came back right after me and the three of us waited in the living room for the cops to show up.
There is something about waiting in a burgled house before the cops arrive. You cannot touch anything, you cannot clean and you cannot look for anything more that is missing. So Riju was getting grumpier and Shruti was getting shorter. I asked them to go to work as I was home for the day.
They left and I switched on the radio and tried not to think about cleaning till the cops arrived.
Finally after a long wait, I had two policemen knocking at my door.
One of them interrogated me.
He was amused when he realized that all of us were born in July.
"All of you are July girls, eh?"
"Yeah. Maybe that is why we are going through a bad time together!"
He bellowed with his beer-bellied laugh and said that this must be some Indian Karma thing.
They took the finger-prints the next day ( After me and my obsessed flat mates had cleaned everything up) and realized that the house was full of our fingerprints. We dutifully handed over one of the cigarette filter packs that the thieves had left behind in their hurry.
I came to the Uni with three band aids on my toes because I had a lot of glass mishaps as I was cleaning up.
It did not leave us any less confident. Nor do we feel violated and unsafe. It is a part of life.
It just teaches you how unpredictable life can be and that you should not get emotionally involved in laptops and webcams. :)
The day after, after all the locks had been changed and the glass was redone all three of us met at this Indian restaurant because we were too tired to cook.
As we were licking our fingers from a Chicken Tikka Masala, Shruti Sain in her breezy voice goes," Lets rent a movie from Blockbuster" and then we looked at each other when it occurred to us that there was no DVD player to put it in and we all burst out into a merry laugh!