This weekend saw our home transform into a campsite, with folks from various corners of Pune, Mumbai and France. A separate blog post would follow later, for the people who could not make it.
As an aside, I had my own personal adventure of sorts on Saturday morning. I had to make a quick trip to the other side of town to run an errand. Mrugesh had brought along his Bullet from Mumbai and we decided to take a ride on it. I slung my bag and put on a red coloured helmet and was all set for the long ride. We took off and after about an uneventful 3 kilometers were approaching the crossing of Mundhwa, which recently turned into a full-fledged crossing from a T-junction. Yet another road is currently under construction and without any sort of Traffic signal or police monitoring, and street lights, it is going to be an adventure when this 5th road opens up. From this crossing, we had to take a right turn to move towards Kalyaninagar. Mrugesh spotted another bike rider making way from the left and started honking hard. The guy looked right, slowed down and just as we were about to cross him, inched forward a little more coming into our path. A collision was inevitable. I tried to move my body a little to the right, and turned my head away. Mrugesh had slowed down considerably by then, and I felt a small nudge on my left side, probably from the handle of the other bike. Thankfully, it did not pain, not then or later. We rode down another 50-60 meters and came to a halt. Both of us checked if either of us were hurt and after confirming that things were not serious enough we restarted our journey.
We rode down for another 2 kilometers or so, until we reached the traffic signal near the Westin Hotel. I took off my helmet since it was getting hot and we had to wait for about a minute at that signal. Thats when I realised that my bag pack with a purse full of cash was missing! I started howling frantically. It seemed idiotic that it took me so long to feel that the bag was not present. We turned and rushed back to the spot, checking on the road as we rode. Back at the junction, I got off the bike and asked a few folks around. One person told me, that a bag matching the description had been picked up by a biker and he had gone down the same way from where we had returned. It seemed like an impossible proposition to go after that person. Especially more, since Mrugesh was unfamiliar with the streets of Pune and it was getting difficult for me to give directions from the backseat. I called Sankarshan and told him to come over with our car. We sent Mrugesh back to our home and set off to complete the errand by ourselves. Sankarshan and I quickly started to recall the contents that could have gone missing with the bag and the purse. Thankfully, my credit cards were in a small pouch in my pocket and the only thing in the bag was the purse, which contained a good amount of cash, some loyalty cards, food coupons, receipts and an ID card. We decided, that on the way back we would drop by at the nearest police station at Koregaon Park to check if anyone had deposited a lost bag.
After we reached our destination, I had to make a few phone calls to locate the person I was scheduled to meet up. After hanging up I noticed a couple of missed call alerts from one number. I called back to check and got through to a gentleman named Yadav. He told me that he had found my bag from the junction and I could collect it from him. Since I had my visiting card in both my bag and my purse, I had been half-heartedly hoping that someone may call back. It seemed too good to be real. I told him, that I would contact him in another 30 mins and meet up with him. After completing our work, we drove back without any further delay and met Mr.Yadav near the State Bank of India at Mundhwa. He handed me back my bag, purse et al. and as a word of advice added that we should have slowed down further when approaching the junction. Apparently, it was his bike that we had collided with. We could not thank him enough for his gesture. He told me that if he had not been able to locate my phone number, he would have indeed dropped my bag off at the police station. We parted after both Sankarshan and I had profusely Thanked him. As I had been suspecting, the top part of the strap (a single strap) had torn and slid off my back. Since the bag and its contents were light, I could not realise its absence. Especially, since I was more absorbed in balancing the gigantic helmet on my head.
Although this is not a work related post, I decided to put it through onto the planets. Mr.Yadav reinstated some bit of my faith in the fact that, sometimes the world does still function in the way I have always learnt it to be. It was extremely kind of him to take time out to locate me. Often we see newspaper reports about similar incidents, where the ‘honesty’ of the person returning the valuables is tomtomed. Excuse me, but that is what it should have been in the first place – you find something that does not belong to you, you locate the owner youself or undertake the accepted practice (police/newspaper) to find him/her. In my opinion, media reports of this nature insinuate a ‘natural lack of honesty’ as the norm and anything other than that is a glorified gesture of goodwill. Well, given the times we live in, it may not be an aberration. Personally, I hope and wish that Mr.Yadav also encounters honest people like him in his dealings.
Additionally, I would also like to list in here some relatively simple steps of caution, which can come in handy in case of similar situations:
- Always keep a copy of a photo-id card and a visiting card or any other card with your contact details in your purses and bags.
- Keep photocopies of all your credit/debit cards at home in a place where you can easily locate them, with the emergency contact details of the issuing bank. (Instead of photocopying individually, copy all the cards together in one page and then make multiple copies of the page)
- Do not carry all your photo-ID cards with you. Keep something back at home, which you can use to establish your identity if the others are lost and you need to reclaim them.
- Spread out the money in pockets and purses, so that not all is lost if the purse goes missing.