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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

An addiction

Mumbai Mirror profiles Mohammed Qadir, a pickpocket, who doesn't need to steal, but does it because he can't help himself. The article quotes him as saying:
My father-in-law was a landlord and owns sizeable property in Kolkata. Even I own a shop and a three-storey building in Kolkata from which I earn a rent of Rs 60,000 annually. But I cannot describe the high I get from picking people’s pockets. I feel like a film hero.


It gives me so much pleasure that I find it quite therapeutic. Though I have three grandchildren and should play with them, the fun in my job surpasses everything in the world.
Most of us have minor addictions and fetishes that are probably so close to being normal that we wouldn't even term them that way. Is there perhaps a bit of luck involved in the things that give each of us a high? With someone, it may be the mere smell of a sock, harmless and legal to indulge in; with Qadir it was the thrill of taking someone's wallet away; and some may find themselves drawn to children, like Humbert Humbert.

In the end, of course, it's not our feelings but our actions we are responsible for. We can't help the way we feel, but no matter how much helplessness we plead, we are in charge of what we do. So while I empathise with Mr Qadir, if I catch his hand in my pocket in an Andheri-Churchgate local, I will not have regard for his age or weakness, but will turn him over to the cops. After perhaps a jhaap or two.
amit varma, 11:16 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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