Catch Me if You Can


Catch Me if You Can

Illustration: Namaah

Tarik is just one of those guys you happen to know from your neighbourhood, but can’t recollect how you know him. Every time you cross each other’s path, you nod in acknowledgement. There’s the customary, “Aur bata, kya bolta hai”, when time permits.

One thing I’ve noticed about Tarik, he’s always dressed to the nines. His personal style can be best described as rapper meets chhapri. This is what strikes me as odd, even though he lives in a modest one-room house in a chawl, sharing a toilet with five other families, this is a dude who never leaves home without his Wayfarers, snapback hats, a bling-bling watch, and a pair of Nike sneakers which seem to magically change every couple of weeks. And all of these are one hundred per cent genuine. (Trust me, I can spot knockoffs from a mile away.) Pardon me, if I’m being judgmental, but how does a dude, who does nothing but waltz around the neighbourhood, shooting the shit over chai and cigarettes with his usual entourage of head-nodding, ass-kissing twats, who only know the words “ek number bhai” afford it all?

Does Tarik have an army of shoe-making elves who magically make him a new pair of sneakers every few weeks? Is he secretly rich and sent to live among the not-so-rich folk to learn a lesson in humility? If this were a crappy Bollywood movie, the answer would probably be yes. But here’s what actually happens: While most people hang up when they receive calls from tele-callers, who rattle off a well-rehearsed script in an attempt to sell you a credit card, Tarik does not. He, in fact, loves tele-callers.