Omar is standing in the house of a rich man. The man has sleek black hair combed back and is wearing a suit. When he speaks, his hands move emphatically and the glasses on his sharp nose wobble. Omar listens to the man carefully, nods twice and follows him to the house’s terrace.
“…and this is where we need the repairs.”
The man is pointing at a rusty satellite dish and looking at Omar with arched eyebrows.
“Think you can handle it?”
Omar shrugs indifferently, explaining that he’s been doing his job for over seventeen years. The man hands him a bundle of rupee notes, saying that he has to leave and will be back in an hour, by when he expects Omar to be finished.
“If you need anything, my servants will help you. Just give them a shout.”
With that, the man leaves and Omar waits until he hears the roar of his car engine fade, before putting on a pair of gloves and getting ready for his real job. He picks up his backpack and leaves the terrace, tiptoeing down the spiral staircase until he reaches the second floor. He holds his breath and listens for sounds. When he hears none, he is confirmed that there is no one and so, he creeps into the master bedroom and brings out a number of plastic bags from his backpack. He quietly empties the large wooden desk of its contents and the cupboards as well, dumping everything into the bags. When he’s done, he looks around the room, making sure he hasn’t missed anything of importance, before heading to another room.
Half an hour later, he is standing in the garden, under the big banyan tree, hiding from the guard, his once empty but now full bags slung over his shoulder, hooked onto his belt and gripped in his hands. He places a couple of bags on the floor, picks up a few rocks and throws them, aiming for the other side of the garden, far away from him. The guard hears the noise, turns around and starts running in its direction. Seeing his chance, Omar picks up the bags and silently leaves the rich man’s property, not looking back even once.
Once he reaches home, he goes through his loot eagerly, observing each stolen item with utmost focus, contemplating how much money he could get by selling it. He finds a golden chain among the many items. A golden chain which has a heart shaped locket dangling from it. He estimates it could bring him a good five thousand rupees and keeps it aside. While going through the other items, his arm moves backwards and his elbow pushes the chain, causing it to fall to the ground where it hits the floor and the locket opens.
Omar leans down and picks it up, astonished by what he sees. Engraved in the locket are six words. Together Forever No Matter the Odds. They are arranged in a semicircular manner and below them is a picture of the rich man and what must be his family. The five people in the picture have their arms around each other and are grinning brightly.
His discovery triggers something inside of him and he finds his hands brushing against his eyes which are damp. He slowly puts the locket back inside the bag, along with every other thing he had stolen and gets up from his chair.
At night, the rich man’s house is in chaos. His wife is yelling at him, her eyes wild and her hair coming undone. His eldest child is speaking with the police while the younger two are crying into each other’s arms. The servants stand in front him, hanging their heads with shame as the guard is told his salary will be decreased to half of what it used to be.
All of a sudden, in the middle of all the commotion, the cook runs into the living room where they are all gathered, a bunch of bags in her hands.
“I found this lying near the gate!”
The rich man is in awe, and the four policemen and three policewomen who had gathered at his house examine the bags for evidence, which they do not find.
The next morning the newspapers have a bold headline.
OVERNIGHT MIRACLE : ALL ITEMS STOLEN FROM HOUSES ON 23rd and 52nd STREET IN THE LAST THREE WEEKS HAVE BEEN RETURNED.
In Omar’s house, his seven year old daughter sits on his lap, toying with his collar as he finishes his idli sambhar. When his wife comes in, she eyes the newspaper in front of him.
“Strange thing to happen, no?”
He chews on his food and shrugs.
“Why can’t we have some drama and adventure like that? Farhanna Bhabi gets her house robbed and her husband appears in the newspaper, but my stupid swami leads an ordinary electrical engineer’s life.”