The phone buzzed around 3 AM making me wonder if I have committed to a trip to anyone, then remembered that we were in lockdown so no question of any trip. Then I checked the number for the country code, to know if it was from a fraudster from a foreign country wanting to steal money from my bank account as we are constantly warned by the phone companies. But, no it was a local number.
By the time I figured that out the call got disconnected. I was ready to go back to sleep thinking that I will return the call during the day time and see if it was from a known person.
But, it buzzed again within a few seconds, it was from the same number. I picked it up quickly not wanting to miss it again and asked "who the hell…" a stern voice replied "Abdul? This is police… Does the autorickshaw KL-43 9530 belong to you?" "Yes… it is parked just outside my house". "Oh! Then please come out". I could feel that his voice had softened.
What can I say… The scene outside was utterly heartbreaking. Forget the upholstery, those mongrels didn't even spare the tiny LED lights fitted in the side.
This is a partially fictionalised version of a chat with a friend who stays in newly formed hotspot zone in the district. He has an autorickshaw that can be mistaken as a mini discotheque with a state of the art music system and fancy lights. He had even given me a few rides in his vehicle.
He narrated this incident (when I called him to ask how he and his family are coping being in a hotspot), where a couple of stray dogs torn the upholstery of his auto, which would cost at least ₹ 10000/- to repair.
And, the only words I could utter in consolation were "they would have thought this was cosy place to celebrate their Honeymoon", before he disconnected the phone.