In one of my family houses, in Calcutta, the dining room window overlooks a driveway and over to the neighbor house's side--an elegant three or four story structure, as are most of the homes on the street, with a side door on the second or third floor. On the morning after we arrived in Calcutta, a visit that came after a very long gap, my mother wandered over to the window and gazed out at one of her childhood views. Her brother walked up behind her.
"Something seem a little a different?"
Yes, something did seem a little different, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. He informed her something was missing, and soon she realized what. She called us, and asked to us to guess what had been stolen from the neighbor's house. We were jetlagged and mystified. Finally she told us.
The house was not designed so that the door on the second or third floor opened out onto thin air. It normally had an antique and ornate wrought-iron spiral staircase leading down to the ground from the extra entrance. Some enterprising thieves had carefully disconnected the entire stair case, piece by piece, and carried it away. Luckily, I think Calcutta is having better times now.
With this in mind, I was vastly amused that such clever cunning is held in common between Bengalis and Bosnians---though the Bosnians got caught. You can't blame them though, they were thinking on a grander scale--why just a stair case? They tried to steal a whole bridge.
(Reuters). From the AP article
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- In what could qualify for Ripley's Believe It or Not, seven thieves stole an entire 13-yard bridge near the southern Bosnian town of Mostar, police said Friday.
Over several days, the group dismantled the metal bridge built during the Austro-Hungarian empire 150 years ago, transported the parts to a local junk yard and sold them, a police statement said.
I have been reading, off and on for a while now, the great novel The Bridge on The River Drina
, by Nobel Laureate Ivo Andric. It is perhaps the most famous novel written about Bosnia, telling the story of a famous stone bridge built by the Ottoman Turks, and through it, the story of Bosnia
. Perhaps these gypsies merely had literary aspirations.