Every morning, as in thousands of other homes, the milk delivery man delivers three packets of milk to our house. He usually leaves the milk packets outside our door, rings the bell and leaves. He does not wait for the packets to be collected by us.
This morning, we waited and waited. But the milk never came. My mother called the milkman and asked him about the milk. He was quite surprised and said that he had left the packets outside our door just like any other day. My mother said there were no packets outside our door. He then said that he left the packets about an hour back and the red car was also not there in our compound which was true as I had taken the car and gone out early in the morning.
My mother then asked him to deliver three more packets and we would pay for them.
My grandmother, my mother , our lady cook and our domestic help then got into an elaborate discussion about the missing milk packets. The milkman must have come and delivered the packets because he knew the car wasn't there. This has never happened before and our milkman is quite a nice guy.
Then what could have happened?
"A dog or a cat perhaps", our cook helpfully offered. The ladies thought about that for a second but dismissed the suggestion because a dog or cat would have tried to open the packets there itself and we would have seen spilt milk. They wouldn't have neatly taken all the three packets and gone away. With the small mouths these creatures have, they couldn't possibly have held the three packets too.
"Then it must have been a thief", they concluded in unison. My father and I who were haplessly listening to this discussion, unable to comprehend the fuss that was being created over three humble packets of milk, were quite relieved that a consensus had been reached.
But it was not to be.
The four ladies then went into an analysis about how a repeat of this could be avoided.
"The packets must be handed over to a person. That way we are sure that they can never be pilfered."
"That's not practical. The guy comes quite early sometimes."
"Let's identify a secret place which only the milkman and we know. The place should not be visible from outside."
Action Items were chalked out. Responsibilities were assigned. Processes that could easily qualify for CMM Level 5 were drawn up.
I wondered if so much discussion had taken place even after the terrorist attacks at Mumbai.