I heard myself say sadly to the police, ”There were, one Motorola mobile W270, one Motorola W270 charger, one Motorola headphone, and … umm.”
He interrupted annoyingly, ”quick please!!” and mumbled, “we don’t have all day here.”
Said I quickly, “Sorry Sir, one Nokia 5233 mobile charger, one electric shaver, USB connector cords” and shyly added, “My toothpaste and toothbrush were also there”.
He waived and said,”Ah that will not be necessary, Time and place??”, -- “about 6:30 am today at Bilaspur station”.
“What were you doing that time”, -- “Sleeping, Sir”, I said slowly looking at my perplexed parents standing near me, Father tensed and Mother thinking something looking at the photo of the Father of our Nation hung in the front wall. The feeling of being ashamed was riding on me like a Tsunami, ready to take me down.
“Where was YOUR BAG kept?”, he asked a little toughly, -- “On the upper berth opposite side of where I was sle.. sleeping”, “Ah that explains” he said and a big laugh and the others also joined. The Tsunami was on.
“Ok, Mr. Sunit, I will file an FIR on behalf of your details but I can not guarantee the return of the goods lost but you did a good thing to not to hide this incident and register this one since now at least we can know the modus operendi”, -- “Ah a little relief that he said something positive about me”, I thought, looking for a sign of positive emotions on the father’s face, oops not found, and then mother’s face, oops again not found, better try later.
“OK , thanks Sunit, you can leave now and yes .. Happy vacations, enjoy your stay at Korba, the mineral and Power capital of Chhattisgarh”, he said with a grin. “YA Sure, with this type of beginning sure it will be”, I said in my mind.
It all started with my plan to visit my hometown, Korba during the 4th trimester holidays. So I booked 2 sets of journey tickets for to as well as fro journey since there were no confirmed tickets available and I thought for a plan B to work out when the plan A fails.
But what I did not expect was that Plans B failed miserably before to the Plan A which failed proudly.
But as planned I boarded the train with my Plan B 3rd AC waiting list tickets after consulting the TTE at Kacheguda station who consoled me saying that he will try to do his best. I, then was oblivious to his wicked trap.
My wait for him in the Sleeper 9 bogey got over after waiting for him to arrive to relieve me 3 hours after departure. Then he gave me the most dreaded bad new (made up) that all sorts of AC compartments did not have an iota of space for me to fit in, but he can squeeze me a berth in the burning sleeper coach to make me a barbeque of myself (I did not know that he knew I loved barbeque chicken so much). Having no choice I consented as I wanted to touch the feet of my parents ASAP and gain their blessings. He allotted me a berth and just as I was to stand up the innocent and selfless TTE made a grunting sound and was grinning at me. Then I realized what his plan was, and was perfectly executed. Even after paying the AC fare and travelling by sleeper, he wanted me to bribe ah sorry acknowledge his greatness to allot me a berth which I guess was his duty. Parting with a fresh Rs 100 note was a painful farewell.
I think, God was not so busy at that moment and so he thought of cutting a little slack and suddenly the temperature lowered and clouds emerged out of nowhere and brought smiles to faces of many. I thanked God as I did not have the appetite for a barbeque at that moment of time.
Time passed and in the midst of all this I met a budding architect from Debgrah in Bihar who was returning after the completion of his Bachelor of Engineering semester training at Bangaluru. He enthusiastically showed me his project report of A3 size and so heavy that my abs started to build under the fat. The project was about a client’s Office and Residence building plan, elevation, section etc. I had a fair knowledge of that because of my BE in EC background where Engineering Drawing is a compulsory subject to master where many fail and dread its name like the Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter series. We had a brain storming session about the project and general life and everything.
After a while we all drifted to the dreamland. That was the beginning of the mistake for which I had to pay for.
The sleep in the train is always a broken one without the stretchy 8 hours one. I woke up at each and every stop and it was soon morning. Being a little careless during the night and for the want of space I kept my bag which was my solo luggage in the opposite upper berth. One lady and her daughter were in the lower berths to whom I had wished good night last night.
My mobile rang melodiously with the song of Prince- ‘Aa bhi ja Sanam’, and I woke up. I noticed that the train had halted and the bogey was empty, the mother and daughter gone already as it was Bilaspur where they told they had to get off. It was a call from father to know the current position of the train as he was going to come with mother to receive me at the Korba station. I touched the screen and received the call and turned my head to the other side only to find out that my bag was gone. The colour of my face became yellow as the blood drained out of it. I hurried out of the upper berth almost jumped out of it, told father that I will call back and started looking in all possible directions. I saw a couple sitting there at some distance for assistance and asked them if someone has seen someone scooting with my bag. They started to ask me 10 different questions so as to absorb the situation properly.
My mind was racing in the same levels as that of James Bond. A sudden thought came to my mind that that bag was my only luggage and I have lost it. How will I face my parents with empty hands (literally). A random thought came to me to look out of the window to see anyone standing there carrying my bag on his shoulder or running away. I found all the people staring at me and all looked crooked to me. Thieves all of them!! I was standing hopelessly and then thought, I did not why, to search even in the toilets. I opened the left one and it was empty. Then I opened the right door and there it was, lying there strangled and dead, my bag. I picked it up and carried in my arms to my berth and examined what I have lost. The thief it seems have searched it well and taken away all the electronics and wiry things it contained leaving me poorer by a few thousand bucks.
Now here I am sitting at home and writing this blog entry having learnt a lesson today which will be reminding me of this day for a long-long time.