A couple of weeks before the Eid celebrations, I had this Yahoo Messenger conversation with my aunt, who lives in Karachi.
Me: Assalam o Alaikum, Phupo. How are you?
Aunt: Walaikum Assalam, beta. I’m doing good, Alhumdulillah. How is everyone there? How’s Masood?
Me: We’re all fine. How’s the Eid preparations coming along?
Aunt: I’m going to the tailor today to get the dresses. I was supposed to get them yesterday, but because of the burglar, all the plans were ruined.
Aunt: You know, guys breaking into the homes. What are you wearing on Eid?
Me: When did this happen?! What time?
Aunt: Just as we finished suhoor and prayers, around 5:30 am. That reminds me, prices of all the food commodities are sky rocketing.
Me: But how? Was he able to take anything with him? Is everyone safe?
Aunt: Your uncle was in the living room when I went in to sleep. He had to go somewhere, so I just told him to close the gate.
Me (impatiently): Then?
Aunt: Well, a few minutes later, I heard footsteps. I ignored them, thinking it could still be your uncle. I just took my medications and was feeling very sleepy. Can’t you guys come here for Eid?
Me: Did he enter your room?
Aunt: No. Your uncle forgot his wallet, so he returned home after driving for just a couple of blocks. He came in and saw this young man looking around in our living room.
Me: And you were sleeping?
Aunt: I was half-asleep, until I heard voices and sound of something breaking. When I went out to the living room, your uncle was beating this poor boy.
Me: You’re feeling sorry for this burglar?!
Aunt: Of course, he was so thin. I’m sure he’s suffering so much and this prompted him to steal.
Me: You’re lucky that he was just an amateur. He didn’t know how to get away, or did he?
Aunt: No, your uncle dragged him all the way to the police station. Bechara, the police must have beaten him too. He kept apologizing though. I feel sorry for our younger generation growing up in poverty.
Me: Thank goodness, at least you’re safe!
Aunt: Well, he didn’t seem strong enough to cause us any harm.
Aunt: Ok, beta, I have to go prepare iftaari. You take good care of yourself and Masood.
Is theft and burglary so common already that people have started taking it so casually?