To Catch a “Thief”

28 May

We have a “Mallige” plant in front of our house. A small portion of the plant overlaps the compound onto the street, which means all the flowers that grow there get “stolen” by an assorment of morning walkers, people collecting flowers for puja from other peoples houses.

Last evening, Nikhil decides to “Catch the Thief” and give him a piece of his mind. His mother tries to dissuade him by saying its okay. But the young man wants his adventure. Hoping that

He gets up very early and starts patrolling the driveway waiting for the looter to show up.

After some time, hes back indoors and hes very quiet. Heres the conversation that went on:

Me: “So Did you catch the thief?”

N: “Hmmmmphhh…mumble mumble…”

Me: “What?”

N (sheepishly): “Yes.”

Me: “Okay.. so what happened?”

Heres his story:

He hears someone picking at the flowers. Rushes outside only to find this old woman carrying a small baby who is helping granny pick the flowers.

Me: “So did you tell them to go away?”

N: “No.”

Me:”Did you give them a good scolding?”

N: “No.”

Me: “So what did you do?”

N (grinning): “Well…I told them if they needed any flowers from the inside, they are welcome to it.”

Me: “Hmmm.. so you weren’t angry… didn’t give them a piece of your mind?”

N: “Daaaaad !!!!”

Mom (stepping into the conversation): “Now that your adventure is over, can you please return to your Math?”

I think he learnt that everything is not what it appears to be.

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18 Responses to “To Catch a “Thief””

  1. Xylene May 28, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    so sweet of him.

  2. gmohanprakash May 28, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    🙂 We have had similar problems but we just turn a blind eye… we would offer it to god too and they would do the same…. BTW, it was created by god, natured by god..

  3. My3 May 28, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Great story! May I recite something similar 🙂
    Everytime we come down to Ajja-Ajjis house in Mysore the kids simply love waking up early and going to get the milk from the booth and meet all their grandfather’s friends on the same mission. Same thing. They would come back to find NO flowers on the outside. So when my older son(now16) realized that people were “stealing” his flowers he deiced to keep an eye on them. Only to find that the neighboring grandparents were taking the flowers. Same sheepish reaction :-). His grandparents are all green thumbs and their garden is a literal riot of flowers and smells and colors! So he decided to tell his grandmother, that she has plently of flowers and even though what the others are doing is wrong, he is not going to say anything to them. Life’s lessons learned in a fairly benign way, don’t you think. We all share what we have, all paths lead to heaven, does not matter where the flower grows, if God is happy then we are all happy…

  4. Shravan May 28, 2008 at 11:29 am #

    Nice… Typical summer vacation reminder….
    Except that I did not have to do maths in vacation!
    Good article….

  5. praneshachar May 28, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    outside flowers and fruits are not for owners. if inside is life you are lucky.
    I remember in my uncles house used to enter compound early in the morning and pick from the inside trees and go not leaving anything for them. known lady even if caught yen madodu nanna meneyalli gida illa alli adre yenu illi adre yene devarige tane giri ( my uncles name) so most of the days flower will deocrate the gods in laximibai’s house.
    in my house here too outside branch flowers will used to go for others surprisingly we saw very known family picking even without informing. we would have said yes always.
    this morning walkers I have seen with plastic bags collecting flowers like that and any body asks it is for puja will be the reply

    congrats Nikhil going back to maths is better !!!!

  6. Madhu Rao May 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

    Vijay,
    Followed the link from Churumuri. Nice post. You son has his heart in the right place ! Reminds me of times when we cousins in ajji mane would turn benevolent on dasayyas/kole basavas and fistful of rice would seem too less. Each of the 8-10 kids would stealthily get a paavu— rice measure fulls ..

    On the flowers overhanging the road, it’s a lost cause ; guavas and the mangoes though are worth the fight ! 🙂 .

    My father decided to play Sherlock one day, just like Nikhil, to find that it was a 7-8 year old flower vendor kid. Now, he comes home every day, to take his permitted share with tulasi and a ‘Namaskara Sir’ to my father !

  7. Vijay May 29, 2008 at 4:13 am #

    @xylene: The “sweetness” comes from my side of the family 😉
    @mohan: You are right…comes from God and goes back there
    @My3: Ha ha…what a cute story..
    @Shravan: Neither did I (have to do Math that is).. thats where I feel sorry for the kids of today… of course I feel responsible for it as well
    @Pranesh: We have several walkers going around with plastic bags…
    @Madhu: Thanks for visiting… oh yes I remember the dasayyas especially in Mysore.. very kidly looking with large naamas.. your ajji must have been wondering how much extra she needed to buy… You are right FRUITS are worth fighting for (this calls for another post)… I think it was very classy of your father to give the kid his “share” of the flowers..

  8. neela May 29, 2008 at 5:43 am #

    i too would get very angry with flower thieves..
    it took a lot of effort and counselling on my mom’s part to make me realise that ultimately everything belongs to Him…
    great going , nikhil..you realised it very quickly..

  9. Veena May 29, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    Such a nice thing.. kids realise better when it happens to them rather than parents saying why they should ‘not’ do something…

    Flower theives are sarvantharyaami’s.. so you can say, that has got passed to generations 🙂

    Madhu’s comment reminds me those cute little guys who would come on shravan shanivaara with ‘Shri Ram Govinda Govinda’…

  10. | Balu | May 29, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    I used to be like Nikhil especially during onam (a mallu festival) some random people would steal the flowers which I wanted to use for my flower carpet! They wouldn’t try plucking flowers if anyone was at the veranda so I never managed to catch the thief! 😦

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  12. Madhu Rao May 29, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    Vijay,
    Thanks for the coment — appreciate it. About the rice, yeah, I remember my uncles chasing us with a stick about it !

    Mysore ? I’m jealous of Mysoreans 🙂 . You guys still seem to have a sense of camraderie that Bangalore has long relinquished. My wife is a Mysorean and at functions she finds 15 people who are somehow realted or acquainted to her. I keep teasing her , just say “Kalidasa Road” and 15 people will start talking to you ! Bangalore is too desensitized these days. Per your Vijaya High Chronicles(loved it!) guesing you are a Bangalorean for a while now ?

    Veeena,
    The shravana shanivara kids ! Churumuri cross posted an article from indimag that is about Mysore, childhood in Mysore and some folks were talking of just these topics.. : http://churumuri.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/once-upon-a-summer-kunte-bille-and-kayyi-tuthu/

    Caveat : It’s by my Mysorean better half ..

  13. Mysorean May 30, 2008 at 6:19 am #

    🙂 Loved this post!

  14. Psyched Gounder May 30, 2008 at 7:02 am #

    I love flower thieves. If you know of any, please send them across. We have an assortment of hibiscus flowers that are like 7 feet up from the top of the compound and 5 feet away from it. If there are flowers, my wife insists that I collect them to keep on the mind blogging number of god photos she has in her puja room. It is not a nice thing to stand on the compund at 6:15 in the morning, one foot on the compound wall, body leaned out to pluck the flowers and once leg stretched out backward to counterbalance, with the pyjamas threatening to fall off my hips, trying to do a Nadia Comaneci with an inflexible early morning body and a head whirring from hang over from some Teachers High Land cream. I have a strong feeling that the neighbour’s wife keeps alarm at 6:10 to see this mumbling comedy first thing in the morning, so that the rest of her day is cheerful. If the flowers get stolen earlier than 6:00 AM, I am spared this unenviable act. It psyches me out even more because, god forbid, I fall, we have those small steel spears on the compound wall which threaten to bisect me up from you no where…so, please, please send the flower thieves across. I love them, especially before 6 AM…..

  15. Prasad May 30, 2008 at 7:32 am #

    Hi, it was just awesome , even i learnt that “everything is not what it appears to be “

  16. travelsaga May 30, 2008 at 2:41 pm #

    Vijay, Ah! The flower thieves-we all know them well:) As always you’ve fueled my nostalgia for Bangalore. You must be wondering where I’d dissappeard to after our email discussions about B’lore schools. Things got a little crazy here and I had to have surgery. Long story short, I’m back now and trying to get back to my normal routine. My parents are here helping out. Will be more in touch now….hopefully.

  17. Vijay May 31, 2008 at 3:16 am #

    @Neela: How true
    @Veena: Self learned lessons are the best
    @Balu: 🙂
    @Madhu: I remember reading this on Churumuri…very nice post.. aaah for the old days.. for me Mysore was during the holidays only… would have loved to have studied there..
    @Adi (Mysorean): Thanks
    @Psyched Gounder: Will send them over.. in the meantime dont fall over
    @Prasad: Thank You
    @TS: Good to hear from you.. glad to know you are ok.

  18. Paraa June 13, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Hi
    I too was a flower thief before..I didnt know some people take it so seriously,i just take it for granted that anything pops out into the street road can be plucked..But once a lady scorned me for plucking the flowers..I told her that you never pluck the flowers and all of it just falls on the road..She didnt accept it and kept saying that ,whatever what i did was wrong..Finally i asked sorry and came away

    After some time while passing through the street,the lady told me..Its Ok,u can pluck the flowers if you want..I told thanks..Think she must have pondered over it..

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