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Today's dilemma

The taxi driver, as usual like all Singapore taxi drivers, was very amiable. His question was also not abnormal “how do you find Singapore? Is it not very safe? A woman can walk safely on the road even at 3 am..”. Sure he was right. But my reply this morning was not the enthusiastic “yes of course”!

The concern originated about a week ago. On returning to Singapore after almost four weeks, I had sent a request to Raja, the newspaper supplier, to resume delivery but there was no paper at my door step that morning. I waited for one more day and then screamed another text message. There was no supply on the third day too. I was angry and amply demonstrated it by calling Raja who seemed confused. He mumbled “the delivery man has been instructed and he said he has been leaving the paper..!” Half an hour later Daniel the delivery man turned up with a bunch of papers but visibly upset about the complaint. He remonstrated “Sir.. I am 100% sure I left the paper here..!”.

Next morning again there was no paper! Now Raja came to meet me immediately and questioned Daniel in my presence. The suspense was now mounting. If Daniel knew the place and had indeed dropped the paper where did it then go? It would be an extremely far fetched thought if one suspected theft! That did not happen even in Mumbai .. Singapore .. no chance! But there was no plausible answer. It was agreed that next morning Daniel would wake me up and hand deliver the paper which he did at 4.30 am!

That certainly was not a satisfactory solution- having to wake up at 4.30 to collect the paper and besides one had not yet found an answer to the vexing question of the missing papers. Out of curiosity I decided to lay a trap to be sure that there is no paper theft. Next morning, after Daniel delivered, I placed a one day old bundle at the door before hitting the bed again. And it was with a mixture of anxiety and curiosity that I opened the door at 0700 am and you bet … the old bundle was missing!

One was naturally angry and upset that a theft was taking place, however minor, in a safe and reasonably well guarded condominium in Singapore. One could immediately file a complaint with the condo management but in the absence of a camera in front of the door or in the lobby area, it would be difficult to pin point the thief. The camera recordings for each of the three lifts on the block could be verified for that time band. But the thief could have walked into the roof garden space thru the door right in front of my unit which in turn had access to the other two blocks in the condo! Essentially it meant the thief could have been from any of the three blocks and any of the 30 floors in each!

Wifey was in the meantime already getting jittery and was imagining all possibilities of a house break happening anytime. Her nervousness and ability to visualise the worst scenarios was adding an element of drama to the suspense. The uneasy feeling and the threat of some one stalking the residence was extremely disturbing. I then decided to test the thief once again and placed the bait next morning with a bundle of old papers all neatly folded and looking crisp and fresh.

The vigil started at 5 am after Daniel delivered the days paper. I left the old bundle at the door and hid myself in the garden area in a spot from where I had a clear view of my door. Nothing happened for about half an hour and I had to go back home to make a cup of coffee lest I fall asleep in the garden area. I resumed the vigil in about ten minutes with the mug of coffee for company.

And then an old lady was at the garden door! She came thru and stood at the door for few minutes as the tension within me mounted. Had she noticed me? She then turned around and walked into the garden area and warmly greeted me with a loud “hey.. you are quite early this morning..”. It was difficult to decide if she was the culprit who chose to abort the act that morning. I then realised that her pause at the door was only to read the notice pasted on it and was harmless. While I was relieved that the suspicion about the lady was proved wrong, I realised I was yet to find an answer to the original question “who is stealing the newspaper from my door step?”

It was around 06.15 am and I was tired waiting for the thief to show up. I returned home and contemplated taking a quick nap.. after all it was a Sunday and I deserved few more hours of rest. Fifteen minutes had passed in the debate and I chose to call it off and go to bed again. As I walked to the door to check if it was locked I heard a soft rustling sound from outside. All of a sudden the sleepy feel was lost and I was at the peep hole to see who was outside.
I could clearly see someone in a black tee shirt at the door bending to pick up the paper bundle. And in that bent position face was not visible and immediately I swung open the door. It was an old man of about 75 years who I believe lived on the same floor and normally appeared to be a harmless gentle man whenever we met in the lift. But at this moment, he was stunned at the door opening suddenly and froze in the half bent position as I too froze seeing him in the act. Before I could say anything or even take a step forward, he said a quick hello and walked away after placing the bundle back at the door step!

As I recovered from the shock I realised the finding threw more questions at me than it resolved! What was the motive for a well to do person to lift the paper from the neighbour’s door. It was not that he could not have afforded to buy it himself. Another painful question flashed by- considering his age “was he suffering from any illness viz dementia or kleptomania..?” While the easy solution was to file a complaint with the condo management or the neighbourhood police, I was worried about the consequent humiliation that the old uncle or his family would face. But then this neighbourhood uncle had neither apologised while being caught in the act nor seemed affected and instead was cheeky enough to wish me while I was numbed at seeing him!

I am at the moment torn between the options. I am not clear what I should be doing..

Can you suggest a solution to this turmoil pls?

22 March 2015
Singapore

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About The Author

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Ganesh - R

Corporate/Business/Professional

SINGAPORE

A corporate manager for over 40  years with an all round exposure. Have had the good fortune of great bosses who unfailingly took the risk of trying me out with  new functional responsibilities  that I was neither qualified to handle nor had any prior exposure. This served as an excellent opportunity for learning and  the exciting process continues even as I am ready to retire! 

 Have bid adieu to formal learning process long ago but the quest  continues.

"Human beings" interest me the most .. the curiosity at observing and learning from fellow beings appears to be a key  driver at this stage of life. Would like to spend the rest of the days in making a difference to them.

Other interests include gymming, music, etc..  

Blogging seems to be a god sent opportunity to laugh at oneself freely and without any pretensions. It also provides an excellent route to introspection albeit a bit loudly!


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