Reel life blended into real life at a nondescript Kalina neighbourhood on Thursday evening when a wallet in a video parlour owner's pocket came between him and certain death.
Krishna Shetty is now in hospital, showing family and close friends the mangled five-rupee coin that took the full impact of the bullet that would have otherwise pierced his heart. He's having a little chuckle at their expense as well, for, as he reveals, he has been listening to taunts all his life about his "strange" habit of carrying his wallet in his shirt pocket.
Shetty and his neighbour, Nicholas Gomes, were sitting outside the video parlour engaged in causal conversation when three persons sped by on a motorcycle and fired four bullets at them. One of these hit Gomes while Shetty took the brunt of two—one in his stomach, the other aimed straight at his heart. Enter the five-rupee coin a la Bollywood. "It was the only coin in the purse but there were cards and photographs as well," Shetty's wife recounts.
"The bullet would have definitely killed him, but thanks to the coin it fell harmlessly to the ground," assistant commissioner of police Arvind Mahabadi told TOI.
The news spread like wildfire among Shetty's neighbours and friends. His son, who's studying in the United States, is flying back to Mumbai. "He's as interested in seeing his dad as the coin that saved his dad's life," Shetty's wife smiles.
Both Shetty and Gomes are out of danger and are recuperating at Guru Nanak Hospital at Bandra East. "We suspect it was a case of mistaken identity," says Mahabadi. Krishna Shetty owns the Pushpak Bar and Restaurant in Kalina but has given it to Ganesh Shetty to run. Officials believe the miscreants had come to collect money from Ganesh Shetty, though residents of the area have told the police that the assailants were local toughs who run extortion rackets in Kalina.
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