Tobin Crook – A Short Story


Suresh was born in a slum area. His mother was a maid servant and father, a junior carpenter in a local furniture shop. One day during a political campaign, the slum area children were shown a film for free. Suresh had never seen a film on such a big screen and he considered that incident to be the happiest moment of his life.

The hero of the film was basically playing the role of Robinhood – the fairy tale character who used to rob the rich and distribute the goodies among the poor. The 9 years old Suresh loved the role and started hero worshipping the character and wanted to become like him. The film indicated that the rich are the cunning, ruthless people and the poor are the good, sober, innocent people suppressed by the tyrannical rich people with power and money.

Thus started his journey towards becoming the local Robinhood. He started mixing with the anti-social elements and learnt the art and science of stealing. True to his own self, whenever he made some extra money, he used to give to whoever asked him for it. This became known among many other slum dwellers and thus the aged, the young and the juvenile were ready with a story for him so that they could extract some easy money from the absolute fool!

His own mother was the worst sufferer. His father left working and depended totally on his son. He lied to his son about his mother’s ill-health and took money from him. Since Suresh – who had nick-named himself as Tobin, never used to be in his own locality for fear of the cops, so he didn’t realize that his father had been lying to him. With Tobin’s money he had started consuming country liquor and had made relations with the local prostitutes as well. Since he was old and haggard, he had to pay extra to the prostitute – which of course he did as his son was getting him easy money!

At 22, Tobin and his gang thought of breaking into the goldsmith’s shop at broad daylight! Unfortunately (for the robbers) the goldsmith had good relations with the cops and he had hired strong Security Guards for his shop. The rest of Tobin’s gang managed to escape as soon as they smelt danger but young and hot blooded Tobin continued to fight as he was certain that he was doing the right thing. He had been watching films and was doubly sure that even the Gods must be on his side because he helped the poor! Little did he know how his money was being utilized and what a grave mistake it was to follow the films made by the irresponsible, dumb and conniving money minded film makers!

He was caught and handed over to the public that beat him up black and blue. He was sent to jail and could only be bailed out if someone could pay Rs.3000/- on his behalf. Tobin was sure that by evening one of his friends would certainly come with the said amount and release him. His wait continued for 10 days after which he was jailed for 4 years.

Once in jail he met higher level criminals. They were very amused to hear his story and told him that the film makers in fact had become rich and affluent by implanting stupid and silly hopes & goals  in the minds of people ! Tobin soon became a servant to the senior criminals and did odd jobs for them. If he dared to refuse, he was beaten right in front of the warden . This way Tobin managed to complete 4 years in jail.

Once outside, he came to know that his father had expired because of adulterated country liquor… although some said that he was poisoned to death by couple of pimps in the locality. He also came to know how his father had left his mother for the local prostitute and in fact had the capacity to bail him out but the female he was involved with at that point of time – convinced him to take her on an outing near the beach! His mother had married a fish seller and was happy with him. As soon as she saw Tobin she attacked him with her slippers and drove him away as she felt that he had eaten up her ex-husband by giving him easy money!

Tobin’s childhood  girl friend had got married to a School-bus driver and was ‘living happily ever after’ with him. He saw her wearing the same earrings that he had bought for her from the local fair. He had given her many gifts in fact ….that included dresses, cosmetics, jewellery, perfumes… all that are shown in films… all that are considered to be close to a woman’s heart….all those things that ties a woman to her man for the rest of her life! When he confronted her, she cried and pled that he should forget their past and leave… lest her husband would beat her up….she was carrying her 2 years old son and told Tobin that she could not wait for an indefinite period of time…that only happened in films!

Tobin then realized that one need not be rich or poor in order to be corrupt, greedy, debauch, desperate… innocent, decent or sober… all depended on an individual and the environment one grows up in! But alas, it was too late to realize that. He was already a branded thief. He then joined the gang he had befriended in jail. He now stole from everyone – from the rich, poor & even the down trodden !

He lived till he was 32. He got shot during  a booth capturing episode. His name was mentioned in the local news and his picture came on the newspapers. His mother cried out loud to get some sympathy…. she got none!

This is the end of the real life story of a local Robinhood.

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