Getting of a bus is in many was as hard as it is to get on. The bus was only half full, so it was not going to be as hard as it could be. Through the scramble that followed, I lost track of the Girl and the Big Man. As soon as I set foot on the ground I started to look around for a return trip. There was a bus on the other side of the road that was going back towards the city. Crossing the road can be a particularly hazardous thing to do in most places. But here in India the risks are increased by a fair bit I won't go in the details now, But it involves a lot more than cars, bikes and other man made machines. So, dodging through the myriad of obstacles, I mad it to the bus that was just about to leave. As I neared the rear door it really did start to leave. Taking a few quick strides, and with a last heave, I managed to get on. Taking seat near the rear end of the bus, I waited for my stop. I guess this is a good time for me to introduce myself. My name is Aman Kumar, just another college first year trying to get through life. I'm not from Jaipur originally, though.
I still cant believe how I got myself into this mess. All I wanted was to get a model car for my friend, now it turns into a sort of a treasure hunt, with everyone cheating against me.
The Conductor called out my station, and I got up from my seat and pushed through to the door. Once of the the buss I crossed the street and turned into the lane where the shop was. Prem Collectors looked just like any other shop that you'll find on a by lane in India. Shabby at best, with no real limit to worst, these shops rarely have much to offer. Prem Collectors was an exception. For long Mr Prem and his sons have been known to offer rare and expensive, er... stuff. I can't tell you exactly what they sell, partly because I don't even know all that he sells. And partly because most of it is not exactly legal. For example, I didn't ask him where exactly he got the car model, though I doubt it was from a authorized dealers. Other things include antique jewelry, old books, stuff like that. The shops front window showed some coins, stamps, and cheap jewelry, none of it worth much. A sign on the door showed that the shop was open. Pushing open the door, I was suddenly in another world. The air had that distinct old smell, the walls were covered with shelves. And the shelves were full of all the old stuff you could imagine. There were tables displaying jewelry, coins, paintings, statues, the list goes on. Just think of anything that might be old, valuable, and Indian, Mr Prem probably has it.
"Ah! Kumar, I thought you would come back!" A loud voice called out from somewhere in the shop. Then from behind a stack of boxes stepped a plump elderly man, his face dominated by a large mustache. I was looking at the boxes though, they looked like they came from somewhere out of India. "Yes, they came in just now, from Pakistan." Said Mr Prem, reading my thoughts. "Really? What are they?" "Oh, just some old statues and stuff like that." Mr Prem deflected my question easily. "Oh, well, I left my car behind, is it still here?" Mr Prems, face became serious, "There was a man who came by just a little while ago, he offered a lot more than the price I asked of you." My heart sunk, I had tried so hard to get that model, and now it was gone. Seeing my dejected look, Mr Prem smiled said, "Don't look so sad, I didn't say I sold it!" I was so surprised, for a moment I just stared at him with for a moment. "That man didn't look very happy when I refused to sell it, come, I kept it over there on the counter." Mr Prem walked over to a counter piled high with documents, files, little pieces of paper scrawled all over. He pulled out a drawer, shuffled around for my car, then pulled out my white plastic bag, with my model Muira still safe in it's box. "Here it is" he said. I walked over and took the plastic bag from him, holding it as if it would disappear. "Thank you, I wasn't sure if I would see it again." Mr Prem smiled, "I knew you would come back. And by the way, why do you want it so much? I haven't seen many with such determination for a model car" "It's for a friend, a birthday gift." I smiled, and I knew I would not loose it again. It was a short walk back to the main road, across the street, and to the bus stand. Another bus ride, and I hope it will be the last of the day.