Part 1: The Nothing
So that’s that then. It has served me well, if not for long, like a beautiful woman. I spent most of last week in an indignant huff, and apparent well-wishers expounding on the five stages of grief only made things worse. (Yes, that’s a warning to you. I’m a professional kickboxer and there aren’t many things more kickable than your head.) Maybe this is only punishment for slacking out on one too many Mondays. (Sorry. I promise to be so conscientious from now on that it will border on masochism. There, I said it. Now can I have it back?)
Going late to work on Monday is easy to force my conscience into ignoring. But repeating the same sin on Tuesday is slightly less forgivable. Who knows? Maybe if I had left my house fifteen minutes early, it would not have happened? (Again I warn you. The next person who mentions ‘denial’ or ‘bargaining’ is going to not only lose his head but have it reattached backwards.) Well, it did and after a week’s worth of lamentation, I think I’ve made my peace.
It’s no biggie really, all that prologue-ing really gives the impression that I care too much, which I don’t, so I’ll stop. I lost my phone. To be precise, a-nimble-pickpocket-palmed-it-from-my-front-pocket-while-I-was-travelling-in-a-bus. Prepare to be gobsmacked, fellow Bangalorean bus travellers! For it happened in not just any bus, but in the bus of all buses – the Vajra. There’s nothing much to narrate here because (duh) I don’t know what happened, but I can give some context.
I got onto my regular bus, a high frequency air conditioned bus specially commissioned by BMTC for paunchy, sweaty software engineers, in my usual haze of solitude. Weirdly, because the time then was not on the right side of 10:30 AM, the bus was as crowded as a Lady Gaga concert. I barely got my backside in before I was nearly amputated by a lever attached to the sliding doors, which in its hurry to shut them decided to squish my right thigh.
My reserves of what-I-would-call propriety have dipped alarmingly in the recent past, neatly coinciding with my life as a bus traveller. I shouldered my way into the crowd and those whose propriety still hadn’t been burnt out of them (read: noobs) made way for me as I planted myself solidly in the middle of the concert crowd. Thinking back, that was probably when I first noticed something odd.
It didn’t matter though. My solitary bus journeys are spent in what is best described as a delirium. They’re as close as I can get to sensory deprivation without hallucinogens. Even in that state of mind, I noticed those poorly dressed, skinny Northie-types (excuse my lack of tact, but you know, I lost my bloody phone) who, with their paan-stained teeth, untucked shirts and French pencil moustaches were as out of place on the bus as Roshan Priyadarshi in a guys bathroom. I only barely noticed, mind you, because somebody in the aisle crowd decided to get down just then, and I used the opportunity to muscle my way into the infinitely more comfortable aisle area. That’s it.
That’s really it. There was lots of pushing and shoving going on, but if you think I can distinguish between pushing type A (both hands out, hip attached to nearby seat, head tilted up), pushing type B (hands inconspicuously placed behind back, shoulder leaning forwards, hip muscles working overtime) and pushing type C (one hand thrust, second hand in another’s pocket), you’re wrong. I really didn’t notice a sneaky hand groping my thigh. But, hold, that’s not it. There’s never a story which Lord Murphy does not like to pervert for his silly, childish pleasure, and this certainly was no exception.
I almost always plug in my earphones before I get on to the bus. Metal helps me hit the haze quicker, and I need to hit the haze because that’s the best way to enjoy three teaspoons of solitude. That time though, I didn’t do it. I’ve tried a thousand times over to capture what my state of mind was like then (in fact, if you kill me right now, I think you can use my -erm- analysis to reproduce my mind to the last molecule, to the extent that the first thing I would do would be to finish this blog post, or look for a cybertronic arm to do so) that I didn’t plug in the music, but all solutions lead to Murphy. If I had plugged myself in on my phone, nobody on Earth could have pocketed my phone without me noticing. Absence of metal lifts the haze in approximately 0.25 microseconds - plenty of time to chop a wandering hand off at the wrist.
The rest is well, predictable. It was when I eventually decided to listen to music that I noticed my strangely lighter left pocket. The incorrigible optimist that I am, I immediately assumed that a) it was probably in my bag, b) it was probably in the other pocket, c) oh no, it must have fallen down somewhere (not a disaster as I didn’t see any 120 kg dudes nearby), d) @#$%. I looked around and identified Smarmy Guy texting away on his swanky mobile phone (
“Excuse me sir... I-think-I’ve-lost-my-phone-can-I-borrow-yours-for-a-minute-I-just-want-ring-it-and-see-if-it’s-fallen-down-here-somewhere-thanks!”
After a critical lookover which I apparently passed, Smarmy Guy typed out the number on his phone himself (no he didn’t hand it over. OK maybe I only partially passed. :/), and confirmed the worst. Switched off. And so I plunged into bottomless agony. Outwardly of course, my face became only blander than ever, prompting people around me (yes, my frenzy had alerted several of my ever-bored neighbours) to ask.
“It wasn’t an expensive phone, no?”
Some last shreds of dignity forced me to lie through my teeth. The effort made my usually awesome baritone voice gain several octaves, and I squeaked back that, yes it was only a cheap Nokia phone. A kind soul advised me to rush to the driver and ‘Stop the bus now!’; which I did so promptly, inspite of my grief induced lethargy, possibly because stopping the bus and checking everyone’s pockets was way cooler than just losing a mobile phone.
I told them. The conductor exchanged a significant look with the driver, who started off with the most ill-timed ‘I knew it!’ rant ever. Apparently, he had noticed this bunch of shady looking folks get in some time back. He had noticed how they had refused to move out of the standing space in the middle of the bus and move to the aisle, and how that made them even shadier. The slightly terser conductor simply nodded away, eyes politely downcast. Unfortunately, those shady looking folks (whom I was already convinced I had seen myself) had got down three stops ago, and there was nothing they could do. He added philosophically:
Part 2: The Office
Office was agony, and I choose not to dwell on those painful moments when my colleagues amused themselves heartily at my expense. (Schadenfreude is a fad, I tell you.) I mean, how was it funny? It was just a straightforward pocket swipe. It wasn’t like I had been riding a motorbike when I had suddenly felt the urge to check out my handsome self in the rearview mirror, and had leant over, only for my brand new touchphone to fall out of my pocket and get squashed by a passing eighteen-wheeler. Now, that is lol-worthy. (And honest to Lord Murphy, true. A slightly more sympathetic colleague consoled me with that tale.) Most of what happened at work is better skipped, except for on little discussion on insurance.
“What? There’s. Such. A. Thing. Called. Insuring. Mobile. Phones?” incredulity forcing me into hyperventilation.
“Yes. It’s not easy to get, but it’s there. Wait, your phone wasn’t covered?”
And with that, the merriment resumed.
There's part 3, and naturally, it happens at the police station, but since I really need to get my backside off this chair and get some Sunday work done - until later.