Early December, 2013 I spent 4 days in Mumbai. As part of what i do, i travel regularly to Delhi-Mumbai-Bangalore. So, this was nothing special, but one of the regular visits before i’d head off to Auroville to end the year on a silent note.
A bit of a background: I’ve been kinda compulsive all my life and paranoid to making sure i have all my things intact. I’ve grown up with folks telling me i am carefree, careless, i don’t pay attention to things and maybe that (till sometime back) had rubbed so deeply off on me that i was nearing paranoia in making sure i was careful with things. And so, i’d check if i had my bags around a 100 times. Constantly touched my pocket to see if my wallet was around. Touched my ears to check if my earrings were intact and so on!
Over time, i had made patterns in my mind and mapped that with specific actions to ensure that i had secured all things i had with me when i moved from a place to another. For example, when i got into a cab from the airport the sequence was to put my wallet in my backpack > slip the phone in my pocket > place my rucksack on the seat beside me > pass my less used hand into the sling of my backpack and lug onto it, while i took my ride!
In the recent months, i’ve been in the process of deconstruction and reconstruction of myself. In that i’ve managed to let go of my paranoia, break the pattern and sequence, and be more free flowing; not worrying about losing things or even thinking that i am capable of losing things. I’d thought i had successfully overcome this old pattern and moved to being more light headed. But this was not tested.
Now: This time when i got my pre-paid taxi slip to board at the Mumbai airport, i was on a phone call. I boarded the taxi as i spoke on the phone. This was an evening flight and i was looking forward to going home to Andheri and spending a quite evening bonding with my sister-in-law, who i had not spent too much time with in the recent past. Work would resume the following day.
The taxi ride was interesting, as the driver and i spoke of many topics ranging from the monorail and metro projects to school fees and Salman Khan. I was dropped off at my destination. I thanked the man and disappeared into my apartment complex. This was around 6:30pm.
At home, post some catching up, Shweta (my sister-in-law) and i decided we’ll watch a movie at the theatre nearby post a quick “chaat” stop. Advantages of living in Lokhandwala, Andheri is that you can literally walk down to watch a movie! So by around 8pm we decided to leave, i stopped to pick my wallet up. And lo! there was no wallet.
Under normal circumstance, paranoia would have taken over. I’d have panicked. All hell would have broken lose.
But this time, i was super calm. I told Shweta – If i have to get it back i will. Then i quickly tracked my memory back to where i could have left it. It was in the taxi. By now, Shweta was a little unsettled. She started to look up for numbers to call, online. I told her, the taxi driver was a good guy. Maybe he has not realised yet, that i have left my wallet in his car. Or he has not got a chance to get in touch with us. I’ll get it back. Incase, there was someone else who boarded the taxi and decided to keep it and not hand it over to the driver, then it was not for me to get it!
Shweta, who knows me for a decade now, was unsettled looking at my calm nature – which was very unlike me. She managed to call the airport and get the taxi service complaints number. (I had handed over even the acknowledgement slip to taxi driver and i did not have the booking ID either)
I told Shweta, lets go watch the movie and if no one comes back with it by end of day, we’ll check with the airport taxi guys in the morning. But Shweta was adamant that we ride to the airport to check, so i followed her instructions!
We drove to the airport, checked with the taxi folks. They said, the taxi driver had not encashed for the day and they’d with hold his payment and contact us when he came by.
Meanwhile, I had called home and folks were concerned. I’d talked to Sameer to courier me my alternate Photo ID, as i was flying to Chennai three days later. Infact, my only concern was that. If i did not get my wallet back, what would i do for an ID to travel. Nothing else concerned me. Not the money in the wallet, nor the bank cards. So, Sameer, the smart guy he is gave me a suggestion – I went to the airlines counter at Departures, asked them if a photocopy of the ID would work as i had lost my wallet. They said yes. I went and spoke to the security head and he confirmed positive, under the given circumstance. Now that my flying out of Mumbai was covered. I dragged Shweta to have Chaat at the airport. We hung out there for a bit, missing the movie and drove back to Andheri to meet other friends.
Just as we reached home, my phone rang. The Taxi Complaints Manager was calling to tell me that the cab driver was infront of him with my wallet. I smiled as my faith/ belief was confirmed. I told the Manager to take some money off my wallet and hand it over to the driver as my token of thanks and gratitude, as he may not be waiting for me till i got to the airport. Also requested the Manger that if my wallet did not have that money to pay from him pocket and i’d pay him back when i met him.
We then drove back to the airport at night, picked the wallet up. Thanked the Manager and drove back home. While all this was happening. Not once did i panic. I saw that i had really changed and this tested it out.
Incidentally, i had a lot of money in my wallet that day; which is very unlike me, but was incidental that I had withdrawn a significantly large amount for something and that did not get used. All that money was intact.
In other times, i’d have felt bad, cursed myself for being careless, run and re-run the episode in my mind to figuring out how it could have been avoided if i had paid more attention to one specific action, so on! Wasting a lot of energy. Spreading a lot of negative energy. So on!
This time, nothing of that sort happened. It was all peaceful and good prevailed.
Amidst all this, one big thing that i learnt is that – it’s okay to lose. it’s okay to slip on a few things. I also for once was reminded of all the times that i have been opinionated about Sameer misplacing his things or losing his ATM cards (which btw is a joke now at TMHQ!) I realised how i’d feel bad about it and spread negative energy around me. It taught me – such things happen to all, when its meant to happen. So just go with the flow. Let go. But have faith. Have the belief that there are good people all around you. Think Good & Good prevails!