Thursday, 28 August 2008

What to do

Earlier I had contemplated whether I will steal someone else's chappals, if I could not find mine outside a temple. My obvious answer was - no, I will not. I may have to go home barefoot, but I will stop the potential chain of unhappiness then and there. The fact I did not consider while answering was the price of new chappals. Then something happened after I wrote that post.

About 3 months back, my and my friend's laptops got stolen from our hostel room, during our summer internship in Hyderabad. It happened because of ignorance of many people, including us. The police were reluctant to accept the FIR, but we did lodge a complaint against the theft (without any bribe).

Meanwhile, as laptop is a must for academic (and entertainment) requirements in IIMB, I purchased a relatively cheaper one with a decent config, and returned to Bangalore. I occasionally missed the data I had not backed up (the bugger stole my USB hard drive as well, where I had most of the backup. Though I saved few CDs which turned out handy). Otherwise the incident was put in the backseat. Rather it was written off.

Lessons learned:
1) Ensure that your room is locked in an unfamiliar place, at whatever cost.
2) Back up your data on multiple media - CDs, online storage.
3) Do not keep all the eggs in same basket.

Now the twist: earlier this month, I got a totally unexpected call - from the police station, saying that our laptops have been recovered from the concerned person. They asked us to travel to Hyderabad and collect the laptops, no questions asked! We were ecstatic and astonished about their efficiency.

What was the last time you recovered a theft, via police? We were jumping with joy and celebrating. I almost gave a mini-treat to friends.

But wait, what if the trip to Hyderabad turned out meaningless? After all, taking a weekday off from life at a B-school was not that easy, not including the expenditure on travel. What if they demanded money to return the laptops? What if the process took too much time? What if the laptops were not ours?

We called the concerned officer. We enquired about all that. Later we also asked friends in Hyderabad to meet them. The police seemed to be worried about the court-case that was imminent from the FIR. They give us the laptops, we cancel the FIR, problem solved. So bribe was probably not required. About the processing time, they said that we will require at least another trip later, but they promised to solve the things quickly - remember, they had the responsibility on them and they didn't want the matter to reach courts.

And then we realized, that was the precise problem - they didn't want the trouble in their books. We asked them to describe the laptops. From the description, it was clear that one laptop could be ours, one surely was not.

Now here is the dilemma we faced. Should we take the laptops which are not ours? We have the following two options:

Option1: Take. Use in whatever way possible - sell, give to friend/family, donate. Police are also relieved. Live with the choice - possibly few sleepless nights about whom the laptops actually belong to.

Option2: Refuse. No hassle about going to Hyderabad, no time spent chasing papers and no visits required further. Possibly we were the lumberjacks in the folklore. Or possibly the laptops will be scrapped, nobody would claim them, and there was no chain of unhappiness.

We have made our choice mostly. Before revealing that I would like to see what you would have done in this situation. While making your choice, remember the temple connection, the old folklore of the lumberjack and his axe, and the opportunity cost of not taking the laptops.

Your thoughts?

2 comments:

foniars said...

laptop was found!! I didn't knew.
neway if they were not mine; I would not have taken them!!

ScrewDriver said...

since you bought a new one ... i guess you did not go