Manoj pushed his way out of the train. Ah … fresh air again … he was happy to get out of the crowded, sweaty compartment of the Thane Local. He walked as fast as he could, down the buzzing-with-people street that took him home.

The moment his mother opened the door, he raced in and plonked himself in front of the Television. He didn’t bother to remove his shoes, or to take his dusty college bag off his shoulders.
India v/s New Zealand – day/night match – and India was batting, chasing a mammoth total. But then, Sachin Tendulkar was at the crease, and today seemed to be his day.
Manoj was happy to have reached home in time to see most of the Indian batting. He had bunked the last two lectures only for this.

His mother soon brought him a cup of hot tea and a plate of Batata-Poha. She also asked him to change, or atleast wash his hands before he ate. Manoj was least bothered – his bag & shoes & stinking socks, all lay in a bundle near the couch. He could not risk taking his eyes off the TV. He always believed that his team needed his ‘moral support’ – even if he was sitting in a room hundreds of miles away from the city where the day’s match was being played.

Two hours later, India had won, there was an empty plate & cup on the coffee-table and the stink from the bag-shoes-socks combination on the floor had now invaded every corner of the room. Manoj had not budged from his throne from the moment he had sat down.

Now, with the joy of India’s victory, Manoj finally stood up. He started emptying all his personal effects on the side-table, near the telephone. His watch, his old & faded baseball-style cap, his MP3 playing cell-phone and … !!!

After checking his pockets a few more times, and checking his bag, he knew it. Once again, he had unknowingly allowed the “Thane-local Pickpockets Association” to claim his wallet !!

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