It was turning out to be a good day. A very good day indeed. Things were flying off my workdesk, long pending tasks were getting closure, I was on a good roll! So I decided to do myself a favor and leave early for home – the idea being I’d continue later from the comfort of home while bypassing the rush hour traffic.

And that, I did for sure. A route that generally takes 45 min at the bare minimum was coming to an end end in less than 40 mins (yes in Mumbai 5 mins count). But I wasn’t really paying attention, my 110% focus was on the mobile, on a whatsapp conversation that really did not go very well with the vibe of the day. Maybe a reckoning of what to come? Retrospection is a bitch.

Aa gaye sir, 120 bees hua bhaada. Chutta zaruur deejiye pleej

One hand responding to the chat messages, the other to get the purse out. But hey, I had the change in my pant pocket! Voila, out came the cash and the grin was back on his face, delighted that I gave in so easily. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention. I got out and entered the gate and headed towards my building block. The happy bugger turned around and went on his way.

A minute must have passed; no probably at the most 45 seconds I guess. It suddenly hit me, I do not have three hands – one for the mobile, one for the cash from the pocket, so the purse must have… A quick check of the pant pockets (there weren’t that many, huh) reconfirmed that. I turn and run back towards the gate. The auto is nowhere to be seen. The bengali guard (whaddayknow, that’s a first – I never have seen a bengali security guy in my life; must ask him how did he get into that profession; alertness and bengalis don’t really go together, no?) looks at me with a lazy-do-not-disturb-me look and waits for me to say something.

Aap ne eak auto jo tha idhar usko jate hue dekha?

Nahi saab, kyu kya hua…

mera purse reh gaya...” 

aapke paas number hai uska… fir toh kuch nahi ho sakta

Like I didn’t know! People really like to rub it in, no! The realization then hit me – 3 credit cards, 2 debit cards, 2 driving licenses (why I was carrying my US license I have absolutely no idea!!!), some 4-5k inr cash, and other documents of minor importance – all gone. I rush out to the main road junction, hoping for some luck, maybe he went and waited there to get a new passenger. Fat luck – there were three autos there, but I could tell jackshit if any of them was my guy. Kinda reminded me of Sherlock’s first episode – no one notices the cab (/auto) guy, no? Anyway I digress; so I went and asked them the stupid Q. All deny, one even nods his head wondering what was I smoking.

So I trudge back home, searching for a purse shaped item on the road, hoping against hope, but without any luck. So much for my great day. Ah I forgot the whatsapp conversation; I quickly jot down my current situation and a “BRB” message (ironically I didn’t) and call up a few friends. This was unknown territory – my friends have absolutely zero pointers for me, one guy even (almost) laughs at my predicament. And like a dream (heh) the boss calls; I gleefully cut the call – I really did not want to entertain any thoughts on work now. Then realization hits in, and I call him back and update him about the situation. He understands and cuts the call. I then call another friend who had gone through a similar situation and get the first real pointers on what to do (you know it already) – block the cards immediately, and also do a visit to the local police station, doesn’t really help but it is required.

So the trudge back home is continued – and the calls happen; ICICI doesn’t allow temporary blocks so out go those cards. Standard Chartered does allow temporary blocks on debit cards only (thank god) – I avail that immediately. HDFC customer care puts me on an infinite loop but I do see the option on the website and I block it immediately. A check again downstairs with the bengali dude reconfirms the situation – the purse is gone for sure.

To be continued…