Image: Rashmi Suralkar
So, I usually take a train from Mumbai to Pune. I know, people take buses usually but I have my theories for taking the trains.
A month back, I was seated in the women’s coach on my reserved seat heading home. I wished myself a happy journey and started reading the book I was carrying with me.
A lady sat on the corner seat next to me. I was reading and munching on some biscuits. I offered her some and she happily took two of the them. We exchanged smiles and I was back to my book. After a while, I got up to keep the half packet of biscuits in my sack which was kept on the luggage shelf. I had a sling bag on my shoulder with the essentials like a bottle of water, wallet, phone, earphones and other little things. I sat back and after couple of minutes I realized that my phone was missing. I checked my bag repeatedly. I checked the sack as well, just in case if I had kept the phone with the biscuits. No!
And, then I realized that the well-dressed lady was missing too! Women around me started telling me to look here or there. Under the seat, above the seat, in my pockets but hey, it was big enough a phone. 5.8” screen. Close to me, just like my baby. I had completely personalized it and more than anything, I had my 2 months, unbacked-up, writings in it. Thousands of photos, online wallets and everything. My life system!
I was panicking. Someone said that lady is nowhere to be seen. Ask her once she is back. I thought, she must have gone to use the washroom but she took too long to come back. Or never to come back! I started looking for her. Someone told me the direction she was last seen heading toward. Yellow saree was my first search criteria. Each cubicle that I was passing by. Yellow dupatta – no, yellow dress – no. Finally, I saw a yellow saree in the next coach. I rushed toward it. She saw me and started getting up. I quickly went up to her and asked if she has seen my phone which was missing since she left the seat.
She started yelling at me, “kya samjhte ho aap? Hum kya chor lagte hein apko?” I said things, she replied. Finally, a police constable heard us and asked for the entire episode. After I narrated it, she asked the lady to cooperate and let her check the ladies’ belongings for the phone. I was relieved and hopeful. Three of us started heading toward the women’s coach and the washroom there. As we were passing by the door of the coach, I heard a loud metal clinging sound and by the time I realized what it was, it was too late! I had heard and seen my phone being thrown out of the door from the train!
And that is how I relearned the forgotten lesson of not trusting anyone while travelling or otherwise!