JournalismPakistan.com April 18, 2017
We all have favorite daydreams. The ones we reel off on the megaplex screen in our minds at 2:00 am when sleep has done the disappearing act and we are either cricket champions bringing home the World Cup or celebrity singers belting out big hits to an audience of thousands or Oscar winners giving 'thank you' speeches or presidents and kings or whatever suits our fancy. It's our movie, our script.
Mine is to discover a bag in the back of a cab and it's loaded with cash, all crisp and new and it is night-time and I surreptitiously take it with me and yahoooo, we are rich and can now go to the Costa del Sol for a vacation and have those pink drinks with paper umbrellas stuck on the side of the frosted glass. No guilt, no second thoughts - after all, it is my daydream and my mind and that is one garden you cannot turn me out of, so there.
But what if it turned out to be real? Like, it actually happened. I am taking a cab back to the house and it is past midnight and I feel this bag against my shin and I rifle through the contents and the fragrance of new money assails me, so I shove it under my coat and sidle out several blocks away from home so as to fox the driver and I enter the house and my wife says, what's that sticking out from under your coat and I do a sort of eureka and yank out the bag and all that lovely lolly rolls onto the sofa like in a Bad Boys movie and she says, what did you do, rob the bank?
And I say, naaah, I found it in the cab.
You mean you stole it.
I did not steal it, I found it - it was lying there at my feet, begging to be picked up, beseeching me.
Yeah sure, why didn't you tell the cab driver?
Why should I tell the cab driver?
Because it is his cab, stands to reason he should know.
Then I'd have to give it to him, why would I do that?
Integrity is how you behave with when no one is looking.
Whaaat, this is not the time for quotable quotes!
Well, lock it up, for now, go straight to the police in the morning to report it and return it.
I don't want to return it, it's mine, I found it, you kidding, think of it as a raffle prize, a lottery, and it was meant to be.
Migoodness, I married a thief, if only I had known, I had so many other offers, some really good ones too.
I am not a thief; thieves are proactive, they go out there and steal, they plan, they plot. I did not steal or plan or plot, it came to me.
You cannot keep it, that's final and if you want to be technically correct, it did not come to you, you went to it.
Why can't I keep it, the fates conspired to give it to me, that's why I took this cab, of all the thousands of cabs, why this one, it was ordained, on the cards, it was written, stop being such a party pooper.
I don't believe this man, where are your values, where is your conscience?
My conscience is fine, my conscience is ticketyboo, in robust health and if it kicks up a bit of a fuss, I shall handle it, my conscience and I are good to go.
What if it belongs to the mafia and they are at this very minute hunting the cabbie and tracking this bag?
Ha, I was smart, I hid my face and got off five blocks away and walked.
And that is going to confuse the mighty scar-faced killers of the underground, they are going to say, smart fella, he conned us by getting off two stops earlier and the Godfather will say, let's write off the money, what a genius, we'll never find him now, where did you take the cab from?
Hundreds of peeps take cabs from there, stop spoiling it.
At midnight? And you chatted with the cabbie, I know you, you gave him your name and where you work, your whole life history?
Wellll, kind of, he was a nice guy. (Talk about wives being wet blankets).
This very minute they could be breaking our door down, are you nuts putting us in jeopardy?
Where are you going?
Where do you think, I am out of here, you are not only a thief, you are a bad thief. you should have left it in the cab.
I like my daydream better. At least I get to keep the money.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
The Nation, February 16, 2017