Monday, April 05, 2004

Gentleman Cambrioleur (Burglar)

Arsène Lupin, the french contemporary of Sherlock Holmes (but of different genre) was known by this epithet. The stylish, extremely rich and refined gentleman mingled with high society and robbed them and helped the poor. On my way to Paris on saturday, I was suddenly reminded of him or rather 'gentleman cambrioleur'.

It happened just after I got into a crowded metro at Gare De l'est. A tall young chap was standing with a large suitcase between his knees, blocking most of the entrance. The compartment itself has standing room only and barely at that. Just as the doors began to close, I heard a woman shout out 'No, No' in a brit accent. Startled, we looked around to see a fat lady prise open the door and lunge out and immediately the tall young chap who had been standing at the door (and had obviously gotten out before the doors shut) turn around and calmly hand her wallet back to her and walk away. She grabbed and lunged back in again. This whole thing must have taken seconds since the automatic doors had already started closing and one can only hold it up for only so much time. The doors shut for a second time and the train rolled on. The tourist shook her head and people raised eyebrows and shot slanting smiles at each other!! Near Miss for both of them. Phew!!

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