Piyush Jha is an acclaimed ad filmmaker, film director and a best-selling novelist. A student political leader at the university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make advertising commercials for some of the country's largest brands, and then write and direct feature films. His films include "Chalo America", "King of Bollywood" and "Sikandar". His debut novel "Mumbaistan" is already in its third reprint, and was also long-listed for the Tata First Book Award at the Mumbai Lit Live Festival. He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories. For the truly interested, he can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thepiyushjhapage
'Mera Baby'! She shouted.
Police constable Daulat Shinde's head snapped in her direction. He saw the expensive, silver-coloured car that she was running after.
'My car...! My baby is inside!' She screamed. Louder now.
Without giving it a second thought, Shinde ran past her in the direction of the car speeding up LJ Road, Mahim.
As he ran, Shinde's brain raced along with his feet. If the car thief were smart, he would turn right at St Michael's Church. At the Tulsi Pipe Road signal, he would turn left and loop across the flyover and slip into Dharavi. Once there, he would disappear.
But, Shinde also knew that it was Wednesday; Novena Day at St Michael's church. With all the cars, and crowds milling around the makeshift pavement stalls, the car-thief would slow down to a crawl, but only for a short stretch near the church.
So, a few hundred yards up Shinde took a turn into a lane, which ran perpendicular to LJ Road. His five years spent patrolling the Mahim area had given him an intricate knowledge of the arterial gullies that he now weaved through, taking the shortest route possible to the church.
However, as he emerged out of a lane near the church, he saw the silver car whizz past him.
Shinde now ran the fastest he could. His breath soon became ragged in his throat. His brain told him that his legs would not support his flailing strides for too long. He had to do something drastic if he wanted to save the baby.
Just then, the BEST double-decker caught his eye; Number 305 en-route to Mahim Station. It was a godsend.
Shinde's leap landed him safely onto the foot-board. Before the confused conductor could say anything, Shinde ran up the stairs to the upper deck. From his vantage point in the moving bus, he scanned the traffic.
His desperate eyes spotted the silver car, gleaming at the head of the Tulsi Pipe Road traffic signal, ready to turn left towards the flyover.
The bus veered to the right towards the Mahim station. Shinde shouted for the bus to stop, but the bus driver was in no mood to go slow. The traffic lights for the right turn signal were about to turn red and the bus driver was determined to go through.
In a split second, Shinde decided that he was going to do what he had always fantasised about as a child. He ran up to the front of the upper deck, and as the bus swung to the right, Shinde jumped out from the open front window.
The momentum swung him to the left. He sailed through the air, just managing to straighten at the last moment. His feet connected with the slick rooftop of the silver car. The massive THUMP was enough to shock the driver into submission.
Although, jarred to the bone, Shinde's body was still on an adrenalin-high. He jumped off the roof, and grabbed the handle, almost ripping the door of its hinges.
The cowering car-thief was not going to put up a fight. But, Shinde was not interested in him. His eyes scanned the car. Finding it empty, but for the thief, Shinde growled, "Baby kidhar hai?"
The car-thief look nonplussed, "Kaunsa baby?"
Shinde's right arm shot out and grabbed the car-thief's neck, "Seedha bol, nahin toh..."
He stopped mid-sentence as he heard the whine.
A fluffy, white, Pomeranian jumped out of the back of the car and scampered past Shinde and the car-thief. The dog's tiny feet hit the road running, as it disappeared into the traffic.
Shinde could have sworn he read the word 'BABY' written on the dog's collar, as it had flashed past him.