JournalismPakistan.com May 22, 2017
A friend of ours was burgled. The chaps came at night and swiped all the good stuff. She put it on Facebook and moaned about how all her things had been stolen and we dutifully hit 'Like' and sent our commiserations and a few kindly remarks amongst ourselves: Why did they keep so much money in the house and weren't they asking for it and was that jewelry for real? They were the week's cause celebre and they wallowed in the attention.
And I was thinking what if some burglar was having a bad run and lost his way and decided to burgle our home, and it was 2:00 am and the world slept and I heard this sound and woke up to someone saying 'ouch' because he had fallen over the grandkids' toys and I switched on the light and there was this burglar there and I said, what do you think you are doing?
And he said, don't ask such stupid questions, what do you think I am doing, making lasagna, I am a burglar, I am burgling your home, looking for your money.
Can I join you, maybe we can find it together, been looking for it for years.
You mean you don't have any money.
Nope, not a buck and a half and did not get paid this month, late again.
So what do you have?
Well, there is this computer but the F5 is missing and it is a bit old but I love it, some of my best writing has been done on it. Oh these are my dogs, Jack and Daisy, say hi to Uncle Burglar, they are very friendly.
I can see that, they don't bark or snarl when strangers come into your home?
No, not really, it's not as if you are wearing a mask or something, see, they are wagging their tails, they like you, Jack can roll over.
Stop it, I am not a guest, I am a thief, what's that Husain on your wall worth?
Nothing, it's a copy, they are all copies, you can have them all.
Jewelry, he says, patting Jack on the head, where's all the jewelry?
At which point my wife walks in and says, what jewelry and who on earth are you?
I am a burglar and I want all your jewelry.
What jewelry, I don't have any, the little I had we sold to invest because his friend Raj told him it was a sure-fire thing and it fizzled out and he hasn't bought me anything in the past 10 years.
The burglar looks at me with scorn. Really he says you haven't bought your wife anything in 10 years. Shame on you. What sort of husband does that?
I have been paying the bills, dash it, life is tough, I say, it's not as if I didn't want to.
You poor thing, he says to my wife, not even a pair of tops.
She shakes her head with needless vigor, no, not even a bangle, you should see other husbands, they are always buying.
He turns to me and says, you are a very lucky man she still sticks to you, you have any dog biscuits, they look hungry, here boys.
Daisy is a girl, I say, not a boy at which point Daisy makes a little puddle on the floor.
We have to take her to the vet, my wife says, I told you, she has a problem, you just don't listen.
Yes, says the burglar who has by now settled down on the couch, could be a kidney stone, my Caesar had a stone.
You have a dog?
Yes, you have a problem with that, you think burglars cannot have dogs, you know, it really gets me, we are so misunderstood, talk about giving a burglar a bad name and hang him, we are just like everyone else, doing what we do best.
My wife says I am going to make some tea, want some?
Why not, he says, it won't be a totally lost cause, little milk and one sugar please, got to mind my weight.
So now we are sipping tea, all convivial and buddy-buddy, and he says, this friend of yours Raj, does he have money?
Loads, I say, coming out at the seams and his wife Shina has super gems and stuff.
You have his address? I might pay him a visit.
Sure, I say, of course, you on WhatsApp? I'll send it to you.
As he leaves, he says, get her some jewelry, she deserves it.
Thing is, do I warn my friend Raj or not?
And if we put this on FB, will we get any 'Likes'?
(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, November 28, 2016
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