The Disappearing Trick by Tara Bose
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The Disappearing Trick
by Tara Bose
The third class bogey was packed with passengers who were on their way to Ahmedabad. Mohammed Chhel was amongst them. The journey was tedious and everyone looked bored. Suddenly a naughty twinkle lit Mohammed's eye. He turned to a fellow passenger and asked him what the time was.

The man put his hand into his pocket and took out his watch and chain and replied, "It is ten past ten."

"That is a nice watch you have. Where did you get it ?" asked Chhel. "From Surat," the man replied. "Could I please have a look at it."

The man took it out and handed it to him. Mohammed Chhel looked at it carefully and found that it was made of pure silver; the chain, too, was a silver one. Then instead of returning it to the owner, Mohammed Chhel threw the watch out of the open window. The watch hit a passing tree and broke into pieces. The passengers were too shocked to speak, but they looked at him with horror, convinced that he was mad. The owner of the watch, breaking the heavy silence, cried out, "Pay me the cost of the watch immediately or I'll hand you over to the police at the next station."

Mohammed Chhel stood up and asked , "Who says that I threw the watch away?"

All the passengers cried in unison: "We saw you. You'd better pay for it or you will go to the police station."

Mohammed Chhel looked at all the passengers carefully. Then suddenly he pointed out to a meek-looking shepherd and said, "Look into his turban. You will find the watch there. He is the thief."

The shepherd, a poor honest man, was completely bewildered and denied ever having seen the watch. But he was persuaded after much forcing, to take off his turban. And lo ! there was the watch snug in one of the folds. The shepherd was most upset. But everyone reassured him. He couldn't possibly have taken the watch when the watch had been thrown out of the window ! They looked suspiciously at Mohammed Chhel and then into their pockets, holding on carefully to their purses and other valuables. Mohammed Chhel smiled at them.

As the train stopped at the station he got off. The journey had been long. This little incident had relieved the boredom of the travelers and in spite of their present annoyance they would long remember him. Immersed in these thoughts he walked out of the station.
9-May-2010
 
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