The Shift

Gaurav was shifting his house and awaited his friend Sankalp, who had promised to extend a helping hand.

“Sorry! I’m late.” Sankalp said as he entered the house. 

“Right on time, friend! I just came back from Janata Hospital.”

“Hospital!”

“Relax. All is well. I went for my regular eye check-up”

“Janata is known for its long queues. How did you return so quickly?”

“I get VIP treatment at Janata. The person at the counter is from my village. I get an appointment the moment I reach.” Gaurav smiled.

Looking at the stacked household articles, Sankalp remarked, “It seems your packing is over.”

“Yep, we can squash in the two plastic stools in this half-filled large basket and that’ll be it.” 

“Hey, I see three cylinders buddy! You stay alone. Even families are allowed only two.”

 “One of these is in my ex-flatmate’s name. These are from three different agencies. The more the merrier. I never face the gas crisis, you know,” Gaurav responded with a sense of accomplishment.

At that moment there was a horn from outside indicating the arrival of transport vehicle.

As they prepared to load everything, the driver looked at the volume and mentioned that his vehicle did not have the permit for excess goods and he would need two trips for the transfer. Gaurav had a word with him and whispered to Sankalp triumphantly, “He agreed to take it in one go, with some extra bucks.”

Both the friends followed the vehicle on bike. The vehicle was almost hidden under the pile of household articles. Just at the gate of the new housing society, as the vehicle came to a halt, the basket teetered dangerously. Gaurav caught hold of it, and then escorted the vehicle inside.

After the tiring exercise of moving everything to the new flat, Gaurav and Sankalp finally rested.

Gaurav suddenly sprang up, “Where are my two plastic stools? Did I leave the basket outside the gate?”

Gaurav rushed out and came back grumbling with the basket. “The nearby slum people are scoundrels. How could they do that to a new tenant of neighbouring society?”

Sankalp was surprised, “What happened?”

“They steal things in broad daylight! The stools are gone. I saw two lads close by, eyeing the basket. They fled seeing me.”

“Oh well, forget it.”

“No, I won’t spare them. I will leave two chairs outside the gate and see who steals them.”

“What! Why do you want to take such trouble?”

“Somebody has to. Let me catch these cheats red-handed. I will teach them a lesson.”

“If you don’t mind Gaurav, isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black? You can keep a third cylinder illegally; use your connection to skip queues in hospital; and bribe driver to overload his vehicle. Aren’t these acts of cheating?”

Gaurav looked puzzled.

“If you feel your cheating is smartness, why do you see theirs differently?”

“You make sense. I will certainly amend my ways.” Gaurav assured Sankalp, looking thoughtful.

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