Odd, very odd
This is a strange story. It leaves you wondering why. You will raise your brows, purse your lips and sometimes scratch your nose in puzzlement. As it happened to me. This could take some time. So why don’t you grab a seat and draw your chair close? I cannot raise my voice like I used to. And I don’t want you to interrupt me every now and then when you cannot hear a word or two. And I’d have to clear my throat and repeat what I just said. It will tire me, you understand.
This is about a certain young woman who went to the bank a while ago. She withdrew a large amount of money from her account. She did not meet the eyes of the cashier who seemed curious about her reasons for such a withdrawal. Hot outside, is it?, he asked in attempt to get a conversation going. His eyes were still looking down at the wad of cash he was counting. Mmmm, she answered. Summer is fast approaching, he tried one more time. Mmm, was all she would say.
Be careful, he said placing the thick bundles of money on the counter, it’s a large amount. I know, she replied before swiftly making her way out of the bank.
Then, she stopped at a large department store and loaded her shopping basket with milk and fruit and rice and bread. She even picked up a few bars of chocolate though she could not remember the last time she had had one. Her shopping done, she made her way to the till where she emptied her basket and went down to the other end to collect them and bag them as the till assistant handed them to her. She bagged all her purchase and when it was time for her to pay, she put her hand inside her voluminous bag and poked it around for her wallet. A minute or so after doing this, a frown now creasing her face, she peered into her bag. The lady at the counter was getting impatient as a queue was building up at the back. Sorry, she said to the staff and continued to search for her wallet. She now held her handbag upside down and watched bits and long-forgotten pieces of her life tumble out. An old lipstick, a business card, some coins, a half-read, dog-eared novel, a set of spare house keys. But no wallet.
I’m so, so sorry, she mumbled sounding increasingly flustered, can you put my shopping aside and I will come back and collect it later? I think…I think, I’ve been robbed. No sooner had she uttered these words than tongues started to click and necks were craned in an attempt to get a glimpse of the unfortunate victim of robbery. Presently, her bags were put aside and she left the department store with her head still buried in her handbag, ostensibly still looking for her missing wallet.
When she was safely away from the store, she stopped looking. She slung her bag on her shoulder, raised her head and with what appeared to be a skip in her step, she walked away. A couple of hours later, the shopping bags were moved from behind the till and its contents transferred back to the shelves. No one ever found a lost wallet and handed it to the security personnel at the store. That night the bank cashier briefly wondered about telling his wife about the large cash withdrawal made by a young woman. But he quickly abandoned the thought when he realised that his wife would want to know if the said woman was pretty and if he’d had any conversation with her. The next day the cashier didn’t turn up for work and a couple of days later he was reported missing.
There have been a few sightings of him since. Someone said they saw him on a crowded passenger train sharing a watermelon with a lady. Someone else reported seeing him in Kumbh mela. A third person was sure he had seen him begging at Tirupati. Of the woman, no one reported her missing. And no one has seen her since.