This is an incident that happened to us recently. My partner lost his phone in the middle of a rainy night in front of our office, sometime mid-July. We went back scanning the streets, but couldn’t find it. We called the number, it was unreachable. I messaged the number asking anyone who finds it to call back my number with a received receipt.
Though this phone was a very basic CDMA handset, it was important we get it back as it had a whole lot of important contacts in it.
I sent a few SMSs with delivery acknowledgement with the following text: Please call this number back to return the phone. Caller will be rewarded Rs. 500. Please return the phone. We waited for a few days and gave up since I got no delivery acknowledgement, nor did we hear from anyone. And so life went on… it used to get a little sore when we couldn’t find a number to call handy or when you had some work and we knew that One number in the phone book would help us. But, life went on nonetheless….
One afternoon, I was busy with work. The phone rang and I engrossed in work said a rather mundane “hello” and I was startled to complete consciousness when I heard a young girl on the other end speak with me in Kannada. Then I realized that I had seen my partner’s name flashing on the screen … I was confused, my mind filled with questions and curiosity….
The girl on the other end flooded me with questions too: “Who are you?” “Where are “Where are you?” “Is this your phone, you’ve lost?” and So on…. I answered a few of her questions, but my curiosity took over soon. When I started questioning her… like a typical filmy suspense, the phone line dropped. I tried calling a few times, but she did not lift the phone. Now, my mind was pacing fast figuring who it could be, what did that kid want, so on… Finally after a few attempts, the girl answered the call. Now I flooded her with my questions – she asked me to contact her father and gave me his number.
I immediately called the father. Srinivas answered the call. I introduced myself and spoke to him of the lost phone. On hearing this, Srinivas’ tone changed to the one with concern and worry. He said, I have been trying hard to contact you, but haven’t been. “Your phone did not have any charge and none of us at home use this handset. So I borrowed a charger from a friend yesterday and charged the battery last evening.”
When I asked him where he got the phone, he said, “I am a driver with a travels near Igate office, that night when it was raining, I happen to get the airport to gandhi bazaar route. I hardly do that route. When I had dropped the person and coming back I saw something shining in the middle of the road. I stopped my car, got off to check what it is. It was your phone; it had opened up in 3 pieces on the road. There was no one on the street for me to check with, so I picked it up, put it together to find out and call someone, but I never started. The battery was dead. So I got it home, and ever since I have been looking to contact you.”
I was over-whelmed and jumping with happiness by now. Srinivas, further continued saying, “I have a phone and I don’t want a phone. What would I do with your phone. Moreover, I am sure you will have numbers that are important stored in this which will help you, not me.” Hearing this I died a thousand times!
We fixed up a time when we could go and pick the phone up and a colleague of ours (Sunder) dearly helped us pick the phone up from Srinivas. When Sunder took the phone and gave him Rs. 500. Srinivas after initial refusals accepted it and said that he’d use it to buy his daughter a phone!
In a day and time, as this – it is difficult to believe anyone or take them at face value, how much
ever you’d want to. Unfortunate as it may seem, life has become such – selfish and non trust worthy. This incident, for me, personally has led me to believe that I need to reconsider my judgments about people. There are many such people in this world who still are honest, value their self respect and are humane in its true sense!