I always wait eagerly for the complimentary weekend magazine along with the newspaper. Flipping through the magazine with my hot pot of coffee besides my open window has been an old ritual in which I find immense pleasure and satisfaction. So when a ritual is interrupted even for a teeny-weeny bit of time, you know how it tends to get bothersome.
Except for the feature on fashion, my eyes devoured all the contents of the magazine. I try to imbibe the knowledge I receive from the health, the cookery and inspiration sections in my and my family’s life. The first imbibement is met with fierce disapproval and a sour face accompanied with moaning from my husband. ”How? How do I eat this stuff ?”, he asks pointing to the ‘ tabouleh’. ” Its called ‘tabouleh’ and it’s really healthy.”, I make my point. He murmurs curses under his breath and has a tiny portion of it.
As usual one particular weekend I waited eagerly for the thud of the magazine and paper on my doorstep.
7:00 am..No thud…May be I got up late and my husband had taken the paper.
7:30 am..No thud..May be the newspaper boy got up late.
8:00 am..Still no thud..Was it a public holiday?
8:30 am..NO THUD !!.. I cranked the door ajar to check if my peephole was betraying me. My eyes spied the paper and the magazine at the new neighbor’s doorstep. I tiptoed to their place and looked lovingly at the magazine. “Oh, how I could simply take it” I thought. “ Shameless!! You weak hearted!! Drop it now ! shouted by good conscience. The next day my doorstep lay barren while the neighbor’s bore fruit.
If the neighbor had received the paper, the newspaper boy must have delivered at my doorstep too. The thought got me thinking and I shared it with my friend. ” Must be the neighbor’s who reside in the last flat near the corridor, they belong to a different nationality. They tend to showcase sneaky uncivilized behavior.” offered my sympathetic friend. I suddenly recollected I had seen one of the members of that family passing by our door in the early hours. He could have easily slipped my treasure under his coat and gone unnoticed. But how could a person who goes to offer his morning prayers steal on the way. It would defeat the purpose of his offering of prayers. ” But Sarah, he has a family, such a person wouldn’t do such a shameless act” I reasoned. “They are all the same..the people of this nationality are a sneaky lot.” I believed her because I wanted a reason…any reason for the theft of my paper.
The thrill and vengeance of unmasking the culprit made me wake up early the next morning. I could already envision him stealthily crouching near my door, whisking the paper, my sudden opening of the door “AHAAN !! HELLO MISTER BUT THAT’S MINE!!” and his face contorting into embarrassment and spewing a plethora of apologies.
I waited, waited and waited. My ‘catching the thief red-handed ‘ dreams fizzled out. I went defeated to prepare the breakfast. When I opened the door after breakfast, I got mad to witness the newspaper at my neighbors doorstep and not on mine. ” Could he have smelled me crouched behind the door waiting to pounce on him?” I wondered. ” Why did he not steal the new neighbor’s paper for a change?” questioned my questioning mind. ” Umm because his house is nearer to yours” suggested my reasoning side.
Finally I called the newspaper office and reported that I hadn’t received the paper for three consecutive days. I had to register my grievance somewhere. I didn’t believe their “We would look into the matter and compensate by handing three days of newspapers the next day.” My funny side roared “What would I do with old newspapers?. “
Next day I had decided not to leave the door. At five in the morning, I spotted the delivery lad on our floor. He hurled the newspaper at the new neighbor’s place and was retreating to the lift when I called him. Finally the mystery of my newspaper’s disappearance was solved. The delivery boy was new to his work and had mixed up the addresses. He had delivered our papers to the new neighbors for the last three days. They must have thought the papers were complimentary to the residents of the building.
When I recall the incident, I feel ashamed. It was so convenient to pile up my frustration filth on someone’s clean personality. How easily I had judged him and his nation because I wanted a scapegoat. Judging anyone is quick and easy but confirming the judgement is difficult. If I hadn’t seen the delivery boy, I would have harbored a growing resentment towards an innocent man, his family, his countrymen.
I realized my mind had to break the barriers it had created regarding different people. Because its our mental barriers which create the actual physical barriers.