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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Mobile Tracker

I am back from an eventful trip of Agra and got few tales to tell. I was visiting to be part of my beloved brother-in-law Gaurav's wedding celebration. My wife, Rashmi, along with two kids had already gone 10 days back and parked herself amongst the celebrations and preparations.

At this time of the year, I was expecting Agra to be very cold but it was not, the temperatures were bearable and only got cold warranting additional layer of clothing after dark. However, the cold was potent enough to take pollution to another level and cause cough and cold. As the result, pretty much everyone in the family is still recovering from the seasonal cold.

So going back to the wedding preparation, shopping is one the major activity and Rashmi was involved in it with all heart and soul, not to mention she loves shopping anyways. During one of her shopping outings to the busy bustling market in narrow shopping bylanes of Kinari Bazar, she manage to 'misplace' her phone. Upon quick review and examination of the crime scene she was convinced that it was flicked by one of the fellow shoppers while she was busy picking up the right saree. At that moment I was shopping in the market at the other end of the city with Gaurav, I got her call from my in-law's phone that she has lost the phone. I tried to play it down and asked her not to worry, but knowing her nature she was certainly more disturbed by the fact that someone managed to fool her and took advantage than the actual loss of phone. When we reached home later that night, I was right and it was the only matter on her mind and how she wished that she can lay hands on that thief. She managed to calm down after a while but only to reignite the topic yet again.

In all this commotion, I did not notice the SMS which was blinking on my phone, "Keep this message - IMEI #...", right then I realized that all is not lost, the phone was Samsung and with mobile tracking facility (it works like this, you enter the numbers on which to send SMS in case the SIM Card is changed in the phone). The message is from the number which was currently assigned to the phone, viola!! we can now trace the person who has the phone, right? Wrong!! Not so easy, saga had just begun...

My resourceful elder bro-in-law Manish called the number and did perfect social engineering to make him believe that he has won a lottery from phone company and he gave out the address albeit not the detailed one but we now knew that the phone was in the Moti Katra area of Agra. Next wise thing that we did was to make an written police complain in the nearest police station along with the request to officially track the phone number and take action. The local policemen were of the nonchalant view that you get us the address and we will do the rest, we had to convince them that getting the address is their job. The mobile tracking facility was only available at the newly formed Vigilance Department and this required a separate visit to their unit. Ultimately, by using the influence of DIG we managed to connect to them but only to find out that the number being used is new series and the phone company has not updated their records yet, will take another day for that. Another day had passed and we knew that some Sunny from Moti Katra is using the phone blissfully unaware of the fact that he was being traced.

The next day I got another SMS "Keep this message - IMEI #..." only this time the number was different, this meant that either the new SIM was inserted by Sunny or the phone had changed hands. We rushed to update the Vigilance Department to update them for the new number which happened to be from the old series, they gave us the address which was of some Rajkumar Verma in Moti Katra. The impulsive rage was to go to the address and retrieve the phone and give them some 'kharcha-pani' which would have made Rashmi very happy but better sense prevailed and we agreed that it is best to go along with the poilcemen to the address. With these proceedings, another day had passed.. mind you the wedding ceremonies were in full blast while this was happening in the background.

Next day, Rashmi and Gaurav went to police station expecting to be escorted to the address but they were told that most of the policemen were out on duty and will take lot of time to call them back, suggested to come early in the morning tomorrow before they go on patrol. Mistake, never leave any police work to next day as you don't know whats gonna happen tomorrow.

After the night of Devi Jaagran, we woke up late and it was left to Manish and me to complete the 'simple' task of retrieving the phone. Taking along Gannu baby who does not leave sight of Manish for a second, we went to the police station and found deluge of people spilling over the place. Apparently there was some burning case of marriage gone bad from last night, we came to know that the bride had refused to get married and these represatatives had gone to the district collector for 'justice' and he had guided them to the local police station in-charge. Since he was the one who was suppose to help us find our phone, we had not choice but to wait as he was super-busy with the case in hand so we chose become the spectators.

As we eves-dropped on the case, we came to know that the inspector sahib was running a make-shift court room and hearing the appeals from both the parties involved. Argument after argument, we knew that it will take a while before the judgement is announced so Manish went home to dropp Gannu baby. After he was back, the court proceedings were at peak and after listening to the entire story from the 'Samaj' people, inspector Sahib declared that since the girl is adult nobody can force her to marry but she will have to get married the same night to someone else otherwise that may result in honor-killing. At this the bride's side offered him Rs. 15,000 so that he remains witness to this judgement, at this the grooms side got agitated and said that even they will ensure that the boy gets married same night as it was matter of their honor and as a token they too offered Rs. 15,000 to the inspector sahib... everybody applauded and the justice was atlast done! The old wise man from the crown concluded by saying "Aapka dimag to bahot hee zor se chala hai, kya insaaf kiya hai!!". The crowd dispersed and now it was our turn, the inspectore sahen said that since it is lunch time now, the police jeep will drop him at his home and return to take us to the address. And thus we waited further.. soon to realize that there is no point in waiting for the jeep, we should take our own car as it was already 3pm.

Soon along with two policemen, we were in the narrowest possible lanes of old Agra, kind where you would even doubt taking a two-wheeler. After few turns, we were able to trace the mohalla of Rajkumar Verma but he was not to be found at his him, police enquired with few people and got hold of his father and promptly ferried him inside the car, as the maruti 800 was full now, I told Manish to go ahead and I shall manager my own way. As this was happening in the market, we were surrounded by group of people, and the car moved along, for me the only possible means of transport there was an rickshaw (a manually pulled three-wheeler) and hopped onto one, before I could give any instructions, he started following the car, guess he witnessed the entire episode and knew his role.

Along the narrow lanes he managed to chase the car efficiently but soon lost out when the roads became broader. I reached the police station after some time, Manish updated me that the police wanted to eat something to celebrate the catch, and he gave them Rs. 200 with which they ordered special Daal Pokodas. Also, they called his son and asked them to bring the phone to police station and get his father back, quid-pro-quo (not is so many nice words, rather using classiest of the expletives). It was 4pm and we were starving and didn't know how long Sunny is going to take to come to police station so Manish called him again posing as police officer and confirmed that he gotta come fast. After that phone call, he switched off the phone. We waited for another hour and the much longed pakodas came, we were not were hopeful that policemen will share them with us but they proved us wrong and gave us one plate and tea along with that, who say our police doesn't have heart??!!

It was now 6pm and there was no trace of Sunny, his father told that he works late and can only come around 10pm... we thought it will be best if we went back home took bath (yes we started early and expected to be back in an hour) and ate something. So informed the policemen and came home, after 30 mins we get the call that the phone has been delivered. We went right back and did the paperwork and explained them again how the mobile tracking works, Sunny's father was right there and he can later explain to Sunny how he was traced.

We took the phone and got the hell out of there wondering what is going to happen with Sunny's father, I am sure he will have to pay hefty amount to get out of this mess.

When we got home thanking God that the phone was found, Rashmi asked without even checking the phone, was the boy punished, was he remorseful, did he apologise?? After the whole day at Police Stattion, we couldn't care less...