I just came back to Dubai from Karachi a week back and in a strange way I’m pleased that I came back without being robbed. You have to trust me on this because I am a guy whose mobile phone has been snatched six times on gunpoint in Karachi. Yes, I am a robber magnet.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Karachi and everything about it. It’s a beautiful city with its own charm and the kind of life that one enjoys here is rarefound anywhere else in the world. My love for Karachi has not faded one bit despite losing six cell phones to not-so-friendly gentlemen with a dark metallic object in their hands.
Some of those encounters were your typical ones where you are talking on the cell phone, gunman shows up and asks you for the gadget, you give it to him while your heart beats fast and he drives away with his fellow gentleman. I am not Sami Shah and don’t have an inspirational story to tell related to my mobile snatching incidents, I still faced two robbers who were different than the others. Here are the stories.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ITS BEST:
This was when I was robbed for the third time. Those were the times when Nokia 3310 was the most enviable of the cell phones. I was talking to one of my friends at the corner of the street where I live while another friend accompanied me. I did not have my phone in my hands, it lied inside my pocket. My friend on the other hand had his cell phone in his hands. We finished our discussion, he went on his way and I started walking towards my home with the other friend. Just when I was in front of my house, a motor bike crossed me and stopped right in front. The guy in the front was in his mid twenties while the one sitting behind him was not more than 16 for sure.
Naturally, I stopped and gave them a quizzical look. The guy was a real gentleman and spoke very softly in Urdu.
“Mobile dein gay aap?” (Will you please give me your mobile phone?)
“Ji…” I replied. “Gun dikhayen gay aap?” (Sure… will you please show me the gun you have?”)
He lifted his shirt from the side and showed me the gun he had. I nodded and took out my phone from my pocket, a Nokia 1100, and gave it in his hands.
“Not this cheap one.” He was still very soft-spoken. “The other one with the lid.”
“Oh…” I realized that he was talking about the other friend’s phone who had left. “You have the wrong guy. I had this phone while the other guy who went away had the lid phone.”
He looked a bit disappointed, however, did not return the phone and drove away.
“SIM, tou day do!” I screamed from the back.
He turned his bike and came back. My friend who was with me later told me that he thought that the guy had come back to shoot but he was wrong. The phone was in the hands of the teenager at the back. The kid tried opening the back cover of the phone but his hands were shaking. He couldn’t do it.
“Let me do it.” I offered.
He gave the phone to me. I took out the SIM.
“This is my nephew’s picture at the back.” I showed him the back cover. “Can I take this out too?”
He nodded, I took out the picture, closed the cover and gave the mobile back to him which he accepted with a thank you.
“You don’t look scared.” He smiled as he started his bike again. “People usually get very scared.”
“I’m not because this is my third time. I was scared the first time but not anymore.” I explained my position. “But the other guys did not return my SIM.”
“Hum she tou koi shikayat nahin hai na?” he smiled again. (Hope you don’t have any complains this time)
“Of course not.” I smiled back and he drove away with my phone.
This is what we call customer service at your doorstep… really.
WANDERER IN THE DARK:
This one is not really an incident of losing a mobile phone but I only got a bit too close to it. Before this incident, I had already been robbed five times by then. My confidence level of dealing with the robbers was at its highest and my preparation before going out immaculate.
Those were the days when I had recently gotten engaged and Sea View Karachi was one of the nice romantic places we, my fiancée (now wife) and I, used to visit it quite often. We would take the tea from the vendors and walk on the beach and do the talking. As a precautionary measure, I would always leave my wallet, mobile phone and any other valuables in the car before going for the walk on the beach and so did my fiancée.
That night, as usual, we left everything in the car, walked on the beach for a while and sat on one of the benches. I don’t know about now but back then the beach was not very well lit. I still saw this man coming towards us from behind my fiancée. I knew why he was coming. I had the experience to tell that by the way he walked.
He came to us and sat next to my fiancée. She went into a shock straight away. The guy took out a gun from him pocket and loaded it. Very calmly, I stood up and raised my hands .
“I have nothing.” I announced and then showed him my pockets too. “Nothing in the pockets. Nothing in the hands. No phone. No wallet. No money. I don’t bring anything to the beach.”
The guy did not say anything and nodded very seriously. Then he pointed his gun towards my fiancée.
“What about her?” He asked.
“She has nothing either.” She did have her engagement ring which I was sure she would not give him at any cost.
The guy nodded very seriously again, got up from the bench, put his gun back in the pocket and walked away.
When he walked away, my petrified fiancée started crying. The entire episode was shrouded in silence but she went a bit loud in a state of absolute shock and owing to the lack of experience. I felt the need to divert her attention from what had happened, therefore, I asked her to get up and go for a walk again. As we moved towards the beach and started walking, right in front of me, I saw the same guy heading towards us again.
“Hi…” I waved at him. “hamara hogaya, bhai sahib.” (We are done, bro)
The guy stopped and looked confused and then recognized us.
“Oh you again.” He looked overjoyed. “Sorry, I did not recognize you guys.”
He turned away like a wanderer in the darkness and disappeared in the crowd.
Crux of the matter- Who says there are no nice people in the world anymore?