Bimal nodded his head sagely. There it was, all three columns of it. He was sure the doctor would not lose a chance to get his name in print. In fact, when he had pinched the doctor’s bag a fortnight back, he had half-expected him to run to the press with his tale of woe. Maybe he did and the papers weren’t interested.
Funny, Bimal thought. He was the hero of the story. Not the doctor. “A thief and a gentleman”. Yes, even the headline was about him. With an amused smile, he went through the report again.
“As the doctor anxiously waited for word from the railway police about his travel documents and valuable slides, the thief yesterday rang him up at the J J Hospital ….. The doctor was able to get the bag from the cloak room and found everything intact except for his clothes, a camera and Rs.370.”
Bimal considered it a neat touch. Gave the whole thing an authentic look.
“The doctor, a pioneer in the campaign against AIDS had over 300 slides in the bag. Also returned were his passport and visa for visiting Canada, where he will attend the fifth international AIDS conference.”
Pioneer indeed! It was high time someone taught him not to hog all the limelight.
Laughing to himself, Bimal folded the paper and threw it on the table. The poor doctor! Was he in for a shock! By the time he arrived in Canada, his pet presentation would have become stale. Because Dr Bimal Mitra would have beaten him to it. With no toil and sweat, Dr. Bimal Mitra would become India’s AIDS man all over the world.
Bimal walked out of the house towards his car. He had plenty of time to copy the slides and the papers. No one could ever put a finger on him. Or even if someone did, it would be one doctor’s word against the other. And not before he had the sweet pleasure of seeing defeat on his dear colleague’s face.
Still chuckling, Bimal casually checked if the dickey was locked. The handle came loose in his hand. Sudden panic gripped him. Frantically, he clawed the dickey open, fervently hoping nothing would be missing.
Something was. The bag with his clothes, money, all the papers and the slides. As he stared sightlessly at the vacant spot, a faint noise reached him. His phone was ringing.