Section 292

March 23, 2009

Kalpeshbhai had wanted to be a smuggler when he was growing up. In the movies of the 70s and 80s, the villain would always be a gold smuggler who would have an exotic lair, many henchmen, and a moll who would do cabaret dances on command. Kalpeshbhai was attracted to the lifestyle immediately.

Kalpeshbhai also knew that while the gold smugglers of the movies performed such basic mistakes as sending their henchmen to fight the hero one by one, he would go one step better and just get things over with by shooting him. That would take care of the main disadvantage of being a smuggler which was that somehow Amitabh Bachchan or Vinod Khanna always brought you to justice. Kalpeshbhai had no such intentions. He planned to be India’s biggest and most successful gold smuggler. In fact he dreamed of a time when Manmohan Desai would be inspired by his life and make a movie where Ajit played a gold smuggler who would eat dhokla and khandvi instead of biryani. It was a constant preoccuptation with him. At his accounts tuitions, while his cousin Sailesh would disappear around the corner with Savita Patel for fondling and giggling during the breaks, Kalpesh would sit at his desk, daydreaming about bringing in huge consignments of gold.

Unfortunately things did not work out for Kalpeshbhai. Not only did Manmohan Desai and Ajit die before he got the chance to become a smuggler, but the Government of India itself legalised the import of gold, making smuggling a pointless activity. He could always have become a drug smuggler instead, but he had also seen The Godfather and had decided never to do that. So he finished his B. Com. and started helping Saileshbhai in his electronics trading and honeymoon package tours businesses instead. However, his dream of becoming a criminal mastermind never left his heart.

Kalpeshbhai did not realise that it was in his destiny to become a smuggler after all. The first step came at Saileshbhai’s honeymoon resort in Alibag for couples who could not afford to go to foreign. Saileshbhai made every attempt to provide the appearance of foreign, including morphed pictures of the happy couple in front of the Eiffel Tower, and iPods along with receipts from Sim Lim Tower; but the lady honeymooners would still grumble that they were not able to do all the shopping they could have done in foreign. Saileshbhai was conscientious about customer service, and would always ask what he could do better, but for some reason the ladies were never forthcoming.

Kalpeshbhai then had the bright idea of asking their old friend Savitaben to help out. Savitaben conducted interviews with the honeymooners before they would leave Alibaug, and after a week explained to Saileshbhai what the problem was. Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code made it illegal to import, sell, exhibit, or purchase a wide variety of merchandise in India, so the good housewives of Kandivalil had to do their shopping in foreign.

It was then that Kalpeshbhai realised that he could become a smuggler after all. He immediately flew to Bangkok, and spent a fortnight in Thailand meeting contract manufacturers. By the time he returned, Kalpeshbhai had left heavy cash advances for the production of a wide variety of silicone and latex items, moulded into interesting shapes, and some even motorised. Not to mention leather items, metal items, and water soluble cellulose with added flavours. He also found a ship owner who was keen and eager to ignore such absurd paperwork as bills of lading and customs invoice, and would unload directly onto a launch off the coast of Alibag.

On his return, Kalpeshbhai firmed up the marketing end of things. Saileshbhai’s honeymoon resort was of course a firm customer, and Savitaben agreed to sell his merchandise on a retail basis through discreet word-of-mouth and referral advertising. Word of mouth spread very rapidly in fact. People all over Mumbai had realised that marriages were made not in Heaven but in Malad, and could always do with a little help. They rushed to Savitaben to purchase the marital aids which Kalpeshbhai had smuggled in.

Kalpeshbhai is a very satisfied man these days. The unfulfilled demand in Mumbai means that he can charge enough to cover the costs of purchase, Coast Guard and customs bribes, and shipping, and have enough left over to furnish his home as ornately as an 80s movie smuggler’s lair. And while he has not yet fulfilled his ambition of capturing Amitabh Bachhan’s ma, behen, and maashukaa and tying them up in his lair, he is happy in the knowledge that he faciltates the tying up of other people across Mumbai. And although Manmohan Desai is dead, he is reasonably sure that Madhur Bhandarkar will make a movie about his career sooner rather than later.

A Step Up from Stealing Jobs

September 24, 2008

Raj Thackeray bitches about how bhaiyyas from the cow belt come to Mumbai, become cab drivers, and steal jobs from the Marathi Manoos. I’m not sure how he’ll react to this amazing story (TOI link. I’m sorry, but nobody else is carrying it). Here’s the summary:

  • Shop assistant steals two kilos of gold from a Bangalore jeweller and decamps to Mumbai, intending to go further to Dubai and live a life of pleasure alone
  • On getting off at Dadar, he gets into a cab being driven by a UP-wala
  • Cabbie realises that shop assistant is new to Mumbai and drives him all over town with the meter running
  • While in the cab, the thief tells the cabbie about his nefarious doings and his plans to move to Dubai
  • Cabbie tells thief that he needs to get a passport and visa first, that he has a friend who’s a visa agent, and that he’ll take thief over to meet him and get a visa and passport made
  • Cabbie drives around Mumbai with the meter running even more on the pretext of taking thief to visa agent
  • After a whole day of driving around, the thief needs to pee and gets down
  • The cabbie drives off with the two kilos of gold
  • The thief is indignant and goes to the police station to complain about the theft of the gold he’s stolen.
  • The Mumbai police check with the Bangalore police, and book him for the original theft
  • The cabbie remains at large

The whole thing is like a Saki story. I love it.