Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Once bitten forever shy.

Yesterday morning I was driving back home from Agra on the smooth Yamuna Expressway. There was wind in my hair and a glow on my face. The exam on Sunday had gone quite well and we had left for Agra right after it, family and I, for a much-needed two-day break. We stayed at one of the best hotels of Agra, treated ourselves to great food, frolicked in the pool, danced and played games and felt utterly rejuvenated after a day and a half. So much so that visiting the Taj Mahal never even once crossed our minds. And so I had a smile on my lips on our way back, glad to finally be able to clear out a lot of crappy textbooks that had been cramming my bookshelf for so long, once I reached home. That was until we entered home.

They say only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. They aren't at all off the mark. It's funny how we have so much to say on situations when they occur to others, hardly thinking of what it would be like when it happens to us. Having a crime perpetrated against oneself is the worst kind of breach of privacy and faith. It leaves you scarred somewhere inside, not wanting to believe anymore in the goodness of people or the fairness of the universe.

So back from an awesome trip, we entered home to find out that we had been robbed. The house lay ransacked. Every cupboard, every drawer, every single tiny little box had been opened and the contents strewn about the floor. The robbers left no stone unturned, no corner unchecked. It was a thorough, time-consuming breach of our privacy. And to think we had been just 350 kilometers away, enjoying ourselves with no inkling of what might have been transpiring back at home. The sight kind of got to me. I went into shock, sat down in a corner while everyone jumped to their feet, doing what the situation at hand demanded. My parents went to the police station nearby to file a report. Investigations ensued, the police and crime branch did their job at leisure and left after a round of tea and snacks.

I was the only one of us who cried. My sister was enraged beyond measure. Mom was a rock, strong and efficient. Dad was, well, dad. Dads don't cry anyway. But I went into a weird state of shock where I was still not able to believe it was happening to us for real. The material loss was nothing extraordinary - 2 LCDs, a laptop, my beloved bag, some other stuff, little cash. The robbers actually did not find much in our humble abode - no jewelry, no insane amounts of money, no valuables - so they were forced to take away the electronics, to make all the effort seem worth it. They had after all broken down a small section of the wall at the back of the house to enter and open the back door to let their accomplices in. There is some consolation for us in the fact, however, that they put in too much of an effort to ransack each nook and cranny of the house, and yet did not manage to get much. Must have been such a disappointment to the assholes.

It has been over 24 hours since all that drama. But living in my own house has become an ordeal now. I could not sleep the other night. My mind kept trying to imagine the thieves breaking in, going through our stuff, throwing it here and there, sniggering to each other as they found something cheesy or intimate. It is hard for me to come to terms with this incident. It is scary now to even roam about the house or stay alone in my room at night. It is absurd, I know, but my mind keeps imagining noises, faces, around the house, out the window. It feels like we're being watched. At all times.

We all slept in the same room last night, because even our parents are worried for our safety now. It is common knowledge that in Delhi, no one is ever too safe, no house is ever out of the reach of criminals, no lock is impenetrable. And yet, we live in this make-believe world where we're happy and safe. Until one fine day someone comes along and breaks that faith, invading our privacy and leaving our safety net shattered.

The hole in the back wall has been repaired today, but the hole in our psyches remains. Who knows, maybe forever.
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