Monday, April 30, 2012

The Hyderabad Diaries - Petrol Thieves Ahoy!

There was a big buzz in the colony last week. All the night watchmen of the colony were summoned. These were not the night watchmen appointed by the colony committee - they were watchmen appointed by individual house and apartment owners. But for some reason the colony committee decided to pull them up. The reason? Petrol thieves are on the prowl. They have cut the fuel pipes and made off with petrol in many vehicles in the colony in the past week. Be alert you fellows. The watchmen - an assorted and apathetic lot of all sizes and shapes, all ages and attitudes - nodded and went off. Nodded off so to speak.

The petrol thieves responded with a vengeance cutting off more fuel pipes the next day. Six cars in one apartment block, two cars in individual houses - and were in the process of cutting off one more when the concerned watchman awoke. Leaving an empty 10 litre can behind the nifty thieves fled. They probably had a lot more of the canned petrol to take care of. The time was 230 a.m.

Next day I found that my fuel gauge was showing a rather dismal visual when I was in the middle of peak traffic. I quickly realised that the petrol thieves had cut the fuel pipe. I headed to a petrol station in a frenzy to check and the worst came true - fuel flowed out on to the floor. A call to the friendly Hyundai chaps and they descended with a breakdown car of their own and a bill of Rs. 3500 - the Maruti's apparently costs Rs. 300 - and took my car away with promises of returning it that evening. In the Srinagar Colony, Madhura Nagar colony area (the area where our Home Minister resides) these petrol thieves are notorious they said. Today, three cars have arrived with the same problem, they said. The Santro is easier to cut the fuel pipe off they said. I listened carefully.

When I returned home a whole bunch of characters surrounded me. Is it true they cut yours off too the asked. I nodded - the fuel pipe - I clarified. And then the stories flew fast and furious. The cars, the apartments, times, how the watchmen are involved, how colony has no security, how Maruti is cheaper, how Mr. Rao's daughter's car stalled in traffic and she had a lot of problem, how police were informed and they came but nothing happened. Why don't I give out a police compliant too? I nodded. Looked like a good idea.

At the cop house the policeman announced that they had caught the thieves. As confirmation he asked the guy next to him - remember we caught the boy with a bottle of petrol last week? The other guy nodded vaguely. I congratulated him on the quick job. In fact they had caught the robbers even before they committed the crime I said. They had caught them last week when the crime was committed last night. Wah, wah! And also these guys were the petrol can variety and not the bottles type. No sir, we will look into the matter sir. Not enough force sir etc etc. I returned from the cop house highly assured that they would catch the concerned party.

While filling petrol into my brand new fuel pipe, I told the fuel station attendant the problem. He was vociferous in his denouncement. Put a gun under their backsides and blow them off he said. He obviously liked his petrol. Anyway after I left the station I noticed that the fuel gauge was not rising appropriately - it normally rises higher for Rs. 500. Maybe the gauge in the petrol bunk was not right or perhaps he kept me busy and knocked off a couple of hundred.

Why would anyone risk getting their limbs broken for a mere Rs. 500 worth of petrol? Fuel prices being what they are, expectations and aspirations being what they are, one can only hope that youngsters don't get carried away and believe that all is well because their dil is maanging more. Meanwhile I am wondering how to guard that fuel pipe. Secret cameras, clamps, super glue, dogs, alarms...they all flashed through my mind. Will let you all know once I figure it out.


Anonymous said...

Unrelated comment - for old times' sake, how about a review of Chin Ling's restaurant near Sangeet?

Harimohan said...

Hi Anonymous,
I was passing by Chin Ling last week with a friend of mine when we fondly reminisced the Fried rice we'd eat there a couple of decades ago. We'd get a huge plate of chicken fried rice for 10 bucks and since we had no more than 10 in our pockets,we'd make do with the sauce (which was unlimited!) But I missed seeing it on the road what with Sangeet gone and the place being a bit of a mess. But a review certainly after I visit it - for old times sake and for you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. That little bit whetted the appetite for more if you ever get over there.

I guess Sangeet, Chin Ling, the old feel of Marredpally (which was a hangout)...all went it makes sense that there's been a total evolution.

Heading to Hyd later in the month, so may do some snooping around that area.