Sunday, 17 November 2013

"Now, if this had been Chennai……."

It was a lovely black cardigan with little pearl buttons down the front, and I liked it a lot. My daughter-in-law Jaisri had given it to me when we went to Seattle for the first time in 1998. And it has seen me through our many visits. Soft to the touch and warm to the skin, it was ideal for a mild winter day.

And now I had lost it. I had taken it with me to Bangalore in January earlier this year, when we visited our son Sankar who was there with Jaisri and the children on a work related trip. It was a brief stay of about three days, but a very happy, fun-filled one. The weather stayed fine, and I did not need to use my black cardigan. We stayed in the guest apartment that they stayed in, and spent all our time with the two little girls, as happy and carefree as they.

Leaving them was a wrench, and it was sad to get into the train and seeing them getting smaller and smaller, waving as the super fast Shatabdi moved out of the platform.

The air conditioned coach remained comfortable and we relaxed in our seats, enjoying the coffee and snacks served en route. When it began to become a little too cool for comfort, I pulled out my cardigan and wore it. However when we reached Madras Central station, I found it was too warm, and I took off the cardigan and held on to it, while we waited our turn at the Fast Track cab counter. This is a cab facility where the customer tells the person at the counter where he wants to go and pays the fare in advance. We paid and rode home comfortably. Our driver was a quiet and friendly person, and we reached home quite quickly with not much traffic on the roads because of the late hour.

The famous cardigan
Then I realised I could not find my cardigan. I remembered I had been holding on to it, but could not clearly think what I had done with it. My best guess was that I must have left it in the car. I was ready to say a sad farewell to it, but not without making an attempt to locate it.

My husband had the receipt for the cab fare, and I called the number on it, and told the person at the other end the story of my lost cardigan. He was very polite and asked me to contact the person at the Central station counter, and gave me a number. The person at Central said he was sorry, but he was not on duty earlier, but if I told him the cab registration number he would see if he could do something. Since that was on the receipt, I was able to give it to him and he said I should call a number where I could get the number of the driver of the taxi.

By now I began to feel I was on a Mission Impossible, but decided to continue with the chase, even though it was quite late. After some attempts, I was able to connect to that number, and that person told me to go right back to the Central number since that was where we had picked up the cab. It required a lot of effort to keep my cool while I told him that the people at Central had given me the number, and could he please help. He told me he would see, and after much dilly dallying, gave me the number of the person who drove the car.

With a sigh of relief I called the number, but not with much hope of getting the cardigan back. In a previous instance I had left an expensive umbrella in a cab, and forgot to pick it up when we finished our trip, and that was the last I heard of it. The driver had claimed there was nothing in the car.

The person who now answered the phone said, yes he was the owner driver of the car with that registration number, but that somebody else was driving the car that day, but he would give me his number. And he gave me that number. I called the number, and got the driver. He remembered us clearly since we were his last fare, but said he could not check the cab then, as he had already parked it in the shed for the night. But he said he would look at it first thing in the morning, and if it was there he would bring it back to us at our place. I guessed that the shed must be somewhere distant from his home, and hence his reluctance to check then. But I did not have any hope of seeing that cardigan again. My husband who had been dissuading me from all the to-ing and fro-ing on the phone for he thought it was a lost cause, told me to forget it.

The following morning was Pongal, and we were up early. I heard the doorbell ring and wondered who it could be at 7 am. I opened the door and there was the driver from last night, with that cardigan. “Madam,” he said, “It had fallen on the floor, and that is why you did not see it.”

I was bowled over by his honesty and sincerity.

Courtesy Internet
Now I want to eat my words from the penultimate line of this post

"Now, if this had been Chennai……."


venky said...

It finally turned out to be MISSION POSSIBLE


venky said...


satchitananda said...

Very heartening indeed to know there are still some honest souls left around. Was not so lucky when I lost my mobile recently in a cab.

Gowri Mohanakrishnan said...

Thank you for this warm and lovely story. Loved it.

Anonymous said...

I hope the driver of that car got a wonderful Pongal gift from you. b


He did indeed. Didn't think it needed mentioning.

Asha said...

deeds like this restore faith in humanity. May his tribe increase:)

Yes, ma'am goes to show that good people are everywhere irrespective of America, Africa or Asia.

And nice to see you back with a warm post, as always.

Hope to read your more:)

Kamini said...

All's well that ends well! I, too, have been pleasantly surprised by instances of generosity, kindness and unexpected honesty in big cities One hears only the negative side of things, it's always so nice to read stories like this.

Unknown said...

A lovely Ponggal surprise.

Viji Venkatesh said...

So here's a guy who did not say No Sweater but No Sweat

Recollections said...

"soft to the touch and warm to the skin .." beautifully expressed .

Rameeza Rasheed said...

I am admiring your chasing spirit . Honest efforts are always rewarded

lalsub said...

Hi. Discovered your blog via your sis who mentioned you on twitter.I find her posts interesting and follow her; now you too.:) Loved your tale of the black sweater. Proud to be a Chennai-ite.Auto and cab guys are generally honest in this part of India.


Thank you lalsub.
We chennai-ites are cool, aren't we?

lalsub said...