Antique Shop Afternoon

A character story-

By: vishu mishra

Antique Shop Afternoon

Antique Shop Afternoon

That afternoon..

Victor stormed into the antique shop and shouted at the lady, “hold on mam! I would like to make a bargain for this seemingly authentic artifact!”. The lady who held with both hands – a rectangular shaped, thin and delicate ceramic slab with exquisite decorations, had her smile fading away at this. Her face jubilant a moment ago, now expressed a sudden tension at the sight of this strange man. Immediately, victor changed his line of inquiry towards the salesman of the antique shop,

“bastard! Your shop has been under surveillance for past three months, it’s all over”, he said. The lady got agitated at this unwelcoming drama and responded, “excuse me! who the hell are you and why are you tormenting this shopkeeper, disturbing my purchase? ”, she asked in a raised voice. Victor, who looked furiously towards the nervous salesman, turned his eyes towards the lady , “mam! I am afraid, you are being fooled by this shop-owner. Our team has been tracking down his activities and I wanted to catch him red handed..”, he said in an assertive tone.

“I am being fooled for what and who are you..better fill the story in or I am calling police now”, she snapped. Victor took the slab and took out his ID from his wallet, “mam! I am the regulatory officer of the anti-duplicacy authority, this slab which is priced at 25,000 Bucks and claims to be Mughal in origin, is actually a forgery and not worth more than 1000 bucks”, he replied in a calm voice, handing over his ID to the lady.

While the lady began to examine his ID, victor took out a pencil torch and flashed it on the bar-code on the artifact which reflected blue, “you see mam,here’s the proof- all artifacts sanctioned by archeological authority for sale, shine golden in barcodes..isn’t it you scoundrel!”,he said ,menacingly to the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper who was rattled by the events & criminal accusations, looked completely caught in guilty and then agreed to every word of victor’s enquiry, like an obedient dog.

Victor then made a call from his phone, “yes! Please send in a van and five officers ,along with the arrest warrant”, he said, while looking out of the shop’s window. He looked at the lady for a brief moment and continued, “am sorry for your troubles Mam, but the shop will have to be shut down and all the old artifacts will be ceased & taken in our custody. Now if you excuse me, I have to wave to my partner whose awaiting my know if all is good”, he said. He opened the shop’s glass door, which read in black paint “ no returns, no credits” and waved at a man standing across road, slouching on a metallic black Mercedes. At the sight of victor, the man stood straight in attention gave him a thumb’s up with a smile. The lady and the shopkeeper observed victor’s moves and followed him around in complete silence as he stepped out and came back inside the shop. Victor gazed at the lady’s blue furred purse and golden Bentley car keys and commented, “mam , please don’t  mind my saying so but your high heels, expensive attire gives away the fact that you belong to the affluent section of society..they do look good but today they almost got you into trouble, I must ask you to be smarter and careful next time”, he said and smiled.

victor then ordered the shopkeeper to produce the original artifact. Meanwhile, he explained to the lady that how this shop has been selling duplicate items with real certificates and all that is left among the few pieces, is this precious 150 year old pot jar that the shopkeeper reluctantly produced from the inner room. However, just like the others in the lot, this old artifact had no issuing certificate as all the original ones have already been given away with fake items.

Victor further explained that none of the customers’ ever bother to confirm their item’s authentication. Therefore, this crook business was running good for a while & the original pieces were illegally sold with very high prices in the black market. These acts of malice were carried out through a well thought out plan, which involved hoarding and cheating. “So, it must be returned to the authority for evidence and re-issuing”, he stated. The lady was listening to victor’s fluent commentary with strictest attention, she then stepped towards victor and returned his ID , she asked curiously, “officer! I have an unusual request, you see! I have been searching for this particular artifact in this old-market for one month and I am really tired of it. None of the other 13 antique item-shops, that row along this market’s corner lane, seem to possess it. This dungy little shop was my lasting hope. I really want this one, if it’s okay with you, I can even give you extra for your help”, she said in a desperate tone.

“mam! The police will be here in fifteen minutes, this piece has no certificate, so you can’t sell it to anyone later on. Please! don’t find my reasons rude but frankly I will risk my job for 25,000 bucks”, he said, trying to convince her. She took a deep breath and said, “Do hell with law! I will give you 10,000 extra right now! and 5,000 to even this crooked shopkeeper, for keeping his mouth shut!.Now! that’s 40,000 bucks, you can’t refuse that mister”.

“mam! Please understand! I need an evidence, the money is good but..”, he said, unable to articulate further.

“oh! Its okay officer! you have other pieces to confiscate. here’s the money, completely in cash!..i couldn’t make it more easier, now hurry!”,she said, seemingly unaffected to any more logical deniability. It was quite clear that her passion for the item was very high and it was the decisive factor for the extra money. The officer and shopkeeper exchanged a nod of agreement and then gave her the artifact for the high-priced deal, along with the cheap certificate of 500 bucks sale value just as a certification formality. Victor then asked her to leave the shop and move away from the market, as police team was on the way.

An hour later- the lady decided to roll around the street to see what hullabaloo is going  around the corner shop and that old street, but strangely! It was as quiet as she left it an hour ago. She parked her car across the street and started pacing towards the shop to inquire. She stumbled upon the same Mercedes driver who stood there reading his newspaper, “ where’s your officer”,she asked.

“what officer mam..”,he replied,cluelessly.

“Officer victor.. your department’s detective..the man you waved to into the store”, she inquired.

“oh! That guy- ya! Amazing fellow! He gave me 500 bucks, just to wave at him..he said he wanted to impress some rich girl in the store and wanted me to pretend as his chauffeur, crazy guy, must be in love!”,he said, smiling towards the horrified lady.

Not wasting a second, the lady stormed through the glass door and encountered a mid-aged fellow with light brown hair. The old-man looked puzzled at the sight of this flustered female, he looked at her through his half moon spectacles, “yes mam! What can I do for you..”,he asked.

“the owner!, the young boy!, wearing check shirt and trousers..where is he, where is the owner!!”, she said, fervently.

“umm.. I am the owner young lady, I assure you.”, he smiled.. “and the boy your probably talking about is working here temporarily  for the month, in the afternoons ,as I go home for a nap.I am an old guy you see..well! he’s really hardworking and an honest boy I can tell ,came in handy. its like, just what I needed for the afternoons.he went home for a vacation today but he will return in few you want to meet him?”,he said, still wondering why the woman was agitated.

“probably not!..”,she said and she produced the pot, her recently bought purchase, a staggering 40,000 bucks purchase, “do you recognize this pot..its an ancient artifact, I bought this from your shop an hour has a golden barcode”

“yes I do’s as ancient as this newly built shop madam!.. if you’re looking for a discount, I can at best give you two for 900 bucks, along with a valid certificate.. and there’s no barcodes madam! it’s a ceramic replica not an electronic item”, he replied, smiling at her.

Now tearful in her eyes and gasping for breath, she looked up in the air. “no! I have the certificate.. no barcodes right!,and i am pretty sure that there’s no such thing as an anti-duplicacy regulatory officer as well”,she said, in a low and depressed voice.

The old man replied, “mam! I have no clue what you’re talking about. I can at max give you a discount, that’s the best I can do, but as the board says-“ no returns, no credits”.


Thank you for reading.


The security breach

security breach

the story teller

Introduction– As I sit with my good friend in the coldest hours of Delhi winter in this popular café, warmed with the ambience of multi-ethnicity groups, buzzing with their chit-chatter, clattering spoons and plates, stamping bottom of beer and whisky glasses to the tables, of which ours were filled with rum, and a continuous usher of waiters who were moving back and forth in the final closing hour of the bar. The Dj was in the final mix of his playlist including-classic rock, top charts, pop, techno but mostly on the lines of popular tracks. Alike him, Engulfed in the atmosphere were both me and my storyteller friend who was about to throw in an interesting narration as our crunchy – crummy snack for the second drink, which was already on the order placed and would also come in an accord with me about giving mental check and pass to this place which we were visiting for the very first time, with definite double green tick marks to the place based on its ambience, cost effectivity, theme, choice of our time, and its viable distance from our place, considering these points we could conclude from our observation that it will turn out to be a fairly good spot for future incoming with a group.

Core– The story was thrown in reference to the date of 23rd Jan, as my friend who would rather hide with an alias of mister. clueless, who works in the ministry(enough credentials! As he would say!! 😀 ), had a funny incident on this date the previous year, as the day is always booked for dress rehearsal of the armed forces who are to march on the republic day parade, aggregate for practice sessions at raj path.As Mr. clueless plans to spectate this event with one more colleague from his department, who guides him loosely about the possible route changes of the buses that generally ply via raj path road and a highly probable barricading up to 2-3 kms due to the merit of this event along with high security personnel on duty. So following the advice, Mr. clueless takes bus no. 410 which usually runs via the destination route but was running today via a different route as Mr. clueless anticipated in his second thoughts but still believed otherwise in his actions. So, co- incidentally! Re-routing of the only bus that he generally travelled by, to that place which was today’s epic destination to be and a critical twist in his story, actually complimented brilliantly to the situation.

Now, Mr. clueless gets down at kendriya vidhyalaya and decides to walk the way, as to his sheer personal levels of general ignorance of details and brilliant story ingredient as complimented from bus 410s’ route change, no other buses were running to his destination, which actually were! but he bought it well enough and was too uncaring for further inquiry, he decides to walk, as now it’s done mentally, that no buses are running today. he begins his journey walking on foot.Now, since this guy is walking on foot, he decides to take a shorter route straight through north block towards south block, he surpasses rakabganj gurudwara, and enter the north block lane, he finally crosses it and takes a left towards the vijay chowk!.but Meanwhile in his on foot journey, he is amused a great deal! as to his astonishment, he couldn’t see a single person on the road; strange!!, or to this untraversed region, the roads are big and broad as they could be; strange again!!, the nearby buildings are imperial in structure and address houses to top authority of the central government; hmm good!! and the area is closed and sealed! ;okay!! Yet Mr. clueless is cruising his way towards the vijay chowk uninterrupted, unfrisked, un-attended by any security personnel, came across no barricades, no police patrolling vehicles, no man in his sharp sight!.A highly confident “gawachi gaan” (Punjabi slang for ‘lost cow’;innocent and clueless) as he exclaimed with an outburst of laughter! which partly was from the memory of that long walk and rest from the rum and coke effect to this eleventh hour of the night at MY BAR.

So try appreciating this situation-In this journey, Mr. clueless is attired in a thick jacket to protect himself from cold, carries a big strapped office bag to his right shoulder and a govt. ID of home ministry, which now he agrees, could have been his last and only resort, in case he was tackled down, questioned or arrested for security breach for a possible terrorist threat, a possible suicide bomber or anyone too dangerous, carrying a possibility of almost anything beneath his thick fur jacket and a big stuffed black office bag, which he carries with an ease of non-responsive sensory perception; which brings a profound but very funny contrast with the demand and appreciation of the situation as anticipated by anyone in his right mind either the security officers or the tresspassers ( imagine the movie scene where a serial killer or a notorious terrorist is entering police headquarters or a vip zone for surrender! 😀 ), so he stood nothing but a danger to his own naiveté.

now, as he describes in his narration, the area is highest level security zone, and the dress rehearsal is to be attended by chiefs, generals, army high officials, other officials of special forces as he later checked it, usually federal level security people can be seen brisk walking in black coats with ear pieces, transponders, interceptors, signal jammers, wireless communication vehicles, special units are on duty, special provisions are employed, back ups are on ready toes, vip protocols are in order and etc etc etc but still this guy is walking uninterrupted towards vijay chowk. Now, as he recalls reaching towards the ‘rice on hill’ which decent to a down slope towards raj path and is front yard to the president’s house, this big giant circle is always closed to public, but since Mr. clueless is on a golden run on foot as he is reaching the place with nothing but an intent to ask someone for right directions!.he looks up meanwhile to his surroundings and first time in his lucky life, can see snipers sitting with their special guns pointing towards him! All looking at him, from different zones, windows, angles, hide outs, as he gives them a look but un-attempting to make a foolish move; lyk taking his hands into his fur jacket!! or trying to get his hands into his black bag!! or going haywire to this response and running in random directions!!. Maybe-couldbe, but if any of those possibilities occurred as an event, well I guess! then he won’t have been sitting here narrating this story. As he continues with his narration, seeing all these snipers he decides to play smart, he comes with a brilliant idea; a genius thought popped to this certainly genius fellow! he looks at the snipers, acknowledges them with an upward chin(cocky?;well I dunno! ), gives a blank look and continues to walk towards vijay chowk as if snipers dint existed!

Now, finally Mr. clueless is at vijay chowk! standing in the right middle of it!! The RIGHT MIDDLE! ;On a closed day! Sealed zone! High security provisions! On the ‘rice on hill’!!, With a road descending to raj path, where he actually intended to be and also backgrounded by nothing but rashtrapati bhawan-tagged to be in no fly zone, no man’s zone, special security zone, high alert zone, highest priority zone etc etc etc but fact of the day, he is somehow standing there with his baggy-fur jacket, A stuffed black bag and still looking for his RIGHT DIRECTIONS! so he takes out his cellphone in the middle of road;yes! His CELLPHONE!! (in order to detonate the device!! 😀 or blow himself up! 😀 ) and is finally spotted by a black coated officer who briskly marches towards him. And goes with –

Officer(amazed)-“excuse me! Umm..(to his shock).. yes! Who are you????!!

Mr.clueless –“kuch ni sirji! Mujhe rajpath jaana hai toh rasta dhoondh raha tha..aur apne dost ko call kar raha tha” (nothing sir! I was lost in my way to rajpath and so I was calling my friend for directions)

Officer(caught in surprise, lost in protocols, thinks for 5-10 seconds, too many things going in his head, looks at his ID ,looks at him top-down, his black bag, his fur jacket and finally says):-aa…hmm.. sir! please come with me.

Mr. clueless(blank face)-ji sir!

Officer takes him to his on site superior officer, who happened to be the DCP of prime minister security ! was standing just yards away, on the other side of the road ,talking to some other decorated official. The officer explains the matter to dcp but softly in his ears.

DCP(attentively, looks at our hero Mr. clueless and pauses and then speaks slowly in a heavy, warm , yet with a tone of inquiry)-“ aap kahan se aaye hein!”( where are you coming from!)

Mr.clueless-“sir! Mein M.H.A. ka employee hoon.. rajpath jaana tha ..woh..dress rehearsal dekhne,rasta ni mil raa” (sir! I am a mha employee,I had to be at rajpath for the event,I am trying to find my way)

DCP-(flabbergasted) –“oh okay! (checks his govt. ID then looks at his bag for a moment and then his baggy jacket ,looks at him top to bottom, looks astonished and gave a stupefied look to the officer)-“aa..hmm..okay, koi baat ni! Umm..Ye officer aapko escort kar dega! Aap inke saath chale jaayein.. please! (its okay! This officer will escort you, you please go with him!)”

Mr. clueless (expressionless; stoned face)- ji sir! Thanks! (leaves)


Mr. clueless’s friend- aabey! Kahan reh gaya thaa!( hey! Where were you!)

Mr. clueless- “kuch ni yaar! Rasta dhoondne mein time lag gaya!( nothing buddy! Took time to find my way).

Mr. clueless’s friend- haan yaar! Bahot security hai!!(yes! Lot of security today!)

Mr.clueless- hmmmm..

the security breach

the security breach

by: vishu mishra