Julia Paulson, a twenty three year old primary school teacher from Kakinada, got married to Dr. Peter Paulson, a Chicago based Cardiologist on 25th June 2010 at Hyderabad and as the reception is going to be held on Sunday the 27th June at Kakinada, a city which is ten hours by train, packed and kept all her clothes, toiletries and the jewelry, ready.
"Peter," said Julia, "I have packed the pure gold jewelry in the old suitcase and the imitation jewelry in my vanity case, it's Ok isn't it?"
"Why do you want to take the pure gold jewelry all the way to Kakinada?" questioned Peter with a frown, "Wear only the imitation jewelry at the reception, because we don't need them when we go to our honeymoon from there."
"But in Kakinada all my relatives would like to see me in my bridal finery, and they are very particular of how much pure gold jewelry I wear."
"You meant to say that they can tell the difference between the pure gold and the imitation jewelry I brought?"
"They can, if they feel it."
"Then don't allow any of them to come near you and feel it?" laughed Peter.
"Are you serious?'
"Yes, I am," said Peter firmly.
"Ok, I will take only the imitation jewelry."
Julia and Peter's marriage was an arranged match, with a slight twist, wherein Dr.Paul who saw Julia at St.Georges Church, Hyderabad, fell in love with and was so enamored by her infectious smile, spontaneous laughter and innocent baby looks, that it took him just two weeks to get engaged and marry.
The train left at nine in the night from Secunderabad station and as it was Saturday, the 26th June, the train was jam packed. The Train Ticket Inspector had ensured that the coach is locked from inside, a precaution taken to see that no ticket less travelers or thieves enter, though the RPF- Railway Protection Force, were on hand. The bride and the groom's families, numbering thirty, could not get all the thirty berths in one air-conditioned coach and so decided to book in an ordinary non air conditioned one known as the sleeper class, so that they can travel as one group.
It was nearing four in the morning and in another three hours they would be reaching Kakinada when Julia's mobile alarm rang. Taking out her vanity case from under the berth before anyone got up, she got ready within fifteen minutes and closing the case was about to keep it under her berth, when a commotion at the door, made her look up, startled.
It was a knife wielding rough looking bearded masked man who switching on the lights and was threatening a young man. The young man gave off his wristwatch and the gold chain he was wearing without resistance. Embolden, the thief was successful in collecting all the valuables from the other passengers, and to Julia's shock, saw six more men coming towards her from the opposite side.
All the family members were in the center of the coach and Julia watched as the thieves came closer from either side of the coach.
"Oh My God, Help me."
Suddenly Julia had an idea and standing up said to the nearest thief, "Take this vanity bag; it has all the gold jewelry, take it and run away."
"Yes, we will," said the nearest masked thief, taking the vanity case and opening it,
"Shaam, look at all the gold."
The thief called Shaam came running and taking the vanity case, looked in it.
"Yes this gold is enough, Chalo; we get off the train," said Shaam, "Everyone out."
And as mysteriously as they came they disappeared.
The relatives were bitterly ruing the lose of all the gold but, Peter and Julia kept a straight face, without telling them that the gold which was stolen was fake. After the incident, the Ticket Inspector, the Railway Protection Force and the local Police Sub Inspector asked about the description of the thieves and after taking down their addresses, asked for Julia's Mobile phone number.
"Oh no," cried Julia, "After switching off the alarm and as it was four in the morning; I kept it in mute mode."
"So what?" asked the Police Sub Inspector, "Everyone does that."
"But I kept it in the vanity box and that box is with the thieves."
"Oh that's good," shouted the Sub Inspector, as everyone looked at him, stunned, "The mobile can be traced and as the thieves don't know that they have a mobile in the vanity case, won't be bothered to check it as they will be busy planning only to escape. This time we will catch them red handed."
The train chugged in time at seven at Kakinada Station and to Julia's surprise, her relatives and close friends were waiting near her Coach. After the greetings and the small talk, as they were about to start walking towards the main gate, the Sub Inspector along with a constable met them.
"We caught the thieves. They are not only notorious thieves but they are dacoits, inter State dacoits," said the Sub Inspector, bitterly.
"But how did you catch them so soon?"
"Madam, your mobile phone did the trick. We could easily trace them."
The talk at the evening's reception among her relatives and close friends were about the presence of mind shown by Julia and the generous reward, the Commissioner of Police announced, for helping the police to catch the areas' most notorious, inter state train dacoits.
Looking out through the cable car, as they traveled towards Sentosa, in Singapore, Julia asked Peter, "Why did you ask me to pack only the imitation jewelry leaving the gold ones at Hyderabad?"
"That Imitation Jewelry looked so good, that I was impressed about it and was positive that no one will be able to tell the difference, that's why I asked you to take those, instead of the original."
"But anyone can tell the difference."
"The train dacoits didn't, did they?"
"I prayed that those thieves just take the gold and disappear."
"I couldn't get sleep, as I had never traveled in trains either in Chicago or in India and as I was on the top berth, I was watching you from the time your alarm rang."
"Oh My God, how come I did not catch you watching me?"
"You were busy praying." And they both laughed heartily.
Glossary: Chalo (Hindi) - Lets go
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.
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