Short Story – Pho-Ding – The Polite Robber
Mrs. Bakshi, a grand mother of two beautiful children lived with her husband, their son, his wife and two kids. She lived with her family in Malda, which is in the state of West Bengal. A little to the northern side of WB. A quiet city compared to the busy capital of the state. She had been living there ever since her marriage. And she was in contempt with the place. Over a period of time she had learned to adjust with the slow life and was now in love with this place. She loved almost everything about this place. Their house was a little bungalow type, which was common to the area where she lived, was a beautiful thing to look at. Mr. Bakshi, her husband had built it and it was still the pride of the family, even after all these years.
It was the usual Saturday night. Every one was awake. Watching the T.V. Mrs. Bakshi along with her Daughter in law were in the kitchen finishing off with the dishes. Saturday night was always a little different from the other days because the next day being the Sunday, no one would be hurrying to sleep. Their neighborhood was a little outside the town, so It was all-quiet and the houses were a little distant from each other.
Suddenly the Door bell rang. Mrs. Bakshi was surprised. She quickly glanced at the watch. It showed 12.30 am.
‘Who could be it now at this time of the night?’ she thought. And she looked enquiringly at her daughter in law. She looked back quizzically.
The children and the Men in the house must have missed the ring due to the sound of the T.V. , because no one responded.
She went to the door. She looked through the eye hole. She could not see anybody due to the darkness outside. Absent-mindedly she opened the door. She regretted her action the moment she had opened the door. She saw three young men standing in front of her. They were dressed in old clothes. There faces had a haggard look. They had not shaven for some time. Loose old formal pants with shirt staying out, and equipped with a pair of slippers on their feet, they looked a little innocent in the fluorescence light. The person in the front folded his hand to gesture a ‘Namaste’.
“Namaste Auntyji. My name is Pho-Ding.” He said in the most polite voice.
Mrs. Bakshi was in a dilemma. She wanted to close the door immediately but she stood still. The fear in her was freezing her from inside.
“What do you want??” Mrs. Bakshi asked. A little tremble was evident in her voice now. She wanted desperately to warn her husband and son. But she kept staring at Pho-Ding. This guy had a hypnotic look.
“We only want to rob this house. We don’t want to trouble anybody. If you could please now let us in, we could start then with our work. We have to do this quickly as we are in a hurry.” He said in a very warm voice and a nice smile. He had a little gun in his hand which made the point pretty clear.
They quickly came inside. Closed the door. And went inside. Every one in the house were startled at this. They quickly put all the curtains on all the windows. Then they assembled all the house members in the house in one room. They asked the house members not to shout. And if they did, things would get very complicated, they said. No one in the house could utter a single word after that. They took all the cell phones and disconnected all the land phone lines.
“ Auntyji, could you please tell us where all the money and the jewels are in the house. If you could tell us then it would save all the trouble for us to search the whole house. And our time would not be wasted.” Pho-Ding asked Mrs. Bakshi ever so politely.
She had to answer. She gave all the information. And in a blink of an eye, the other two men moved quickly to the new found information. While Pho-Ding stood in front of them. The little smile was still visible in face. It seemed he was at content with what he was doing. He had no regrets or worry or anxiety.
Mrs. Bakshi was at awe. She looked at her family members. Every one was scared. The children were putting up a brave face. Her son was a little irritated and scared. The mixture of both emotions in his face gave out a weird sort of an expression. She hadn’t noticed that before.
Then again she looked at Pho-Ding. He was still smiling. The other two persons were heard to knock off some furniture upstairs and then they were now hurrying down below. It seemed they had completed their work. Only 15 minutes had passed. They had done their job quickly. Pho-Ding’s smile got bigger.
Mrs.Bakshi blurted out , “Do you want some tea???”
She couldn’t believe it. She was offering tea to a complete stranger who was robbing them at midnight. But he is so polite!!!!! What an irony in the situation!!!!
What a weird situation!!!!
Pho-Ding looked at Mrs.Bakshi and smiled and said , “Thank you Auntyji. It would be our pleasure!!!! We like our tea a little sweet!!”
Mrs. Bakshi soon found herself making tea for her robbers. She wasn’t ready to believe this but this was really happening. And the guy was so polite!!!!!
Pho-Ding and his friends relished the tea.
“This tea is one of the best I ever had Auntyji. Thank a lot!!” Pho-Ding said.
A sense of pride crept in to Mrs.Bakshi’s appearance. She could not help smiling. Mr.Bakshi looked enquiringly at her wife. He shot questioning glances towards her. Her son too looked at his mother in the same quizzical manner. They were confused. What was going on??? Is this a robbery or a tea party???
Pho-Ding then got up and along with his partners who were silent the whole time thanked the whole family for their time. And they bade them good bye. Of course all the cell phones were taken and the landlines disconnected so they could not contact the police. And by the time the Bakshi’s actually got to the police, Pho-Ding and his gang would be long gone. Then they quickly made their exit in to the dark night.
Pho-Ding’s Gang was never caught. Bakshi’s were still in a shock for a long time. Mrs.Bakshi is quiet sure that she was drugged that night, trying to explain for her unusual behaviour.
However what the Bakshi’s can never forget was how polite were the robbers to them.