That day was yesterday. I was at the end of a pretty good day of architectural photography and was headed back to pick up my motorbike from one of the buildings that I had photographed. I had a bag with me, which had some papers, but was essentially empty. The car dropped me off at the gate of the building in which I’d parked the bike, and took off, back to the architect’s offices with my Dad.
I happily went in to get my bike, anticipating the nice lunch that I was headed towards… Biryani… and I certainly was hungry… The car was headed off now. It was 3PM and I’d had my breakfast at 8AM that morning… (I usually have breakfast at 11AM and lunch at 3PM)
Well, as I walked towards my bike, I reached into the pocket of my jeans to get my bike key, they were not in the right back pocket, so I tried the left back pocket where I usually keep my office keys; they didn’t seem to be there either. I figured that I’d put them into my bag; so I dug around into the bag… No luck… Wait; my Dad had them… He’d taken the bike out earlier… Quick, run outside (I knew there was no hope of catching the car, but still….) Ok, second option, call him on the phone and get him to turn the car around…
I take my phone out… and the battery is dead! I’d been playing around with the GPRS connection that I’d recently activated and I’d drained the battery last night. It was then that I had this sinking feeling… Sinking because I was stranded. I could get to a pay phone, but deep down, I knew that I had no money with me… Not a single Rupee; and all I needed was a Rupee to make that phone call. Oh wait, I had money… 500 Rupees, but it was all in one note, and no matter where I tried, I could not get anyone to change it for me in that locality.
I could buy something of a little higher value, but the shops in the area were only tiny tea shops and a food shack that made snacks. If I ate all the snacks I could eat, the bill would still come to only about fifteen rupees… and the guy there wouldnt have enough change anyway…
I decided to con the guy at the telephone booth. I went up to him and said I needed to make a phone call “Sure, go ahead…” so I picked up the phone and called my Dad and told him the entire story. He said he’d be there in 5 minutes. I pulled out the note and showed it to the shop keeper “I have no change for that note…”, that’s what he told me. “I thought so…” . I told him that my Dad would be there in a while and I’d pay him then.
10 Minutes later and still no sign of my bike key arriving. I went up to the phone booth: There’s girl there now…
“Where’s the guy?”
“Well, I need to make a phone call…”
“Sorry, the phone is disconnected, he does that when he sleeps”
“What? I need to make a phone call now, it’s an emergency!”
“Sorry, I don’t know what to do!”
I took a look behind the counter, “All you have to do is plug in that socket, and it will work!”
“Sorry, he has to come!”
(Gimme a break!) Phew… Well, I did have my phone! And the charger was with me too…
“Ok, at least let me plug my charger into the power outlet!”
“I don’t know… ” she said, pointing to the wall sockets.
I took a look and found that all the sockets were full. “Ok, all you have to do is pull out that plug,” pointing to a plug that belonged to the Radio “and plug my charger in. I need it only till I’ve made my phone call.”
“Sorry, He’ll have to come. I don’t know.”
I was getting sick of her by now, this was a girl who was old enough to know how to plug a charger into a wall socket. I decided to try the food joint.
“I need to charge my phone,” I said, pointing to the free row of plug points.
The guy at the counter looked up & grinned at me. Recognising my plight, and the fact that I had no choice, he said, “Five Rupees”
I was stranded, yes, but I was not going to give in to his greed. I snarled at him in anger, like a wolf; the best I could without baring my teeth, and walked away, thoroughly disgusted! How on earth could a person take advantage of your situation like that? He called after me, asking me to go ahead and plug it in, but by then I was too enraged to know what I’d do if I turned back. So I just kept walking.
My Dad arrived a while after that, and I got my bike keys, but I didn’t really recover from the episode until I got to that restaurant and had a good Biryani.
I’d intended to post this on the day that it happened, but I didn’t finish the post. This incident happened a couple of months ago, but I can’t really shake the feeling of helplessness that it left me with. I just can’t imagine what being stranded on an island would be like. I just wish that if it did happen, that it would be with a beautiful “un-attached” woman who was around my age. Then I’d have to do something to show that I was capable. Then, and only then would I ever get off the Island. Not if I was alone…