Limiting the number of bags you carry on a trip is a very useful tip. Ignoring that very tip caused me a Rs. 75000 headache. When you have two bags dangling from your shoulders, getting hurriedly off a bus to Mangalore driven by a manic homicidal driver may result in you not quite noticing that you are missing one. As it happened to me. That particular bag contained my camera, along with a new lens I had recently acquired all totally worth about Rs 75000.
After I, along with Subbu, Bhayak, Tho and Goobe, got off the bus, Goobe points out that I am missing a bag. My camera bag. By then the bus had already left. After the initial minute of panic, me and Subbu hail an auto and head to the bus stand where all the private buses halt. We reached there and began to hunt for the bus. Fortunately, Bhayak still had the ticket stub. The bus belonged to an agency called Deacent travels. We asked around the bus stand for the bus, but none knew where it was. It was certainly not in the bus stand. One fellow helpfully pointed out that if we could track down the phone number of the owner of the travels, we could find out where the bus was parked for the night to refuel. Also since the time was 9:30 pm, this would the last trip and the bus would still be in Mangalore. That gave us hope.
A little more asking around told us that the bus probably was headed in the direction of Pumpwell. At this point, me and Goobe head off to the police station to see if the police could track down the number of the agency. While Tho, Bhayak and Subbu jump into an auto and head in the direction of Pumpwell with no clue as to how to find the bus. Also a point to note, doing business with stoned auto drivers is not a good idea.
Me and Goobe arrive at the police station and file a report saying that I had lost my camera and the police set about trying to locate that illusive phone number. I actually recorded our entire conversation with the police on my phone just in case they tried something funny. But the were decent, almost to a fault. In the meanwhile, roaming from petrol bunk to petrol bunk, were Subbu, Tho and Bhayak. Tracking down the bus proved fruitless.
At this point Bhayak has a plan. When we studied in college, we usually booked tickets home from a travel agent in Surathkal named Santosh. Bhayak acquired his number through a friend in college and called him up. Santosh, we wonder at his contacts, called back with the number for the travel agency. The boys give him a call. The bus was parked at a petrol bunk in Kattara Chowki. They hurry over only to see the driver and conductor going through my bag. Subbu immediately runs over and claims the bag. The bag was dropped by my friend he says. They found it while cleaning they say. They hand over the bag while asking what it was and how much it was worth. Subbu artfully evades saying that it was his friend's and he didn't know. They hoped into the auto and called me to tell me that they had found my camera intact.
After withdrawing the report filed at the police station, me and Goobe arrive at the bus stand where we were to catch the bus back to Bangalore. As it so happened, we were to head back to Bangalore that very night by the 11 pm bus. We arrived at the bus stand at 10:45 pm. The whole ordeal had lasted only one and half hours. But this will be remembered for a life-time. Forgetting it may prove very expensive. A very grateful thanks to, in no particular order, Goobe, Tho, Subbu and Bhayak.
All things considered, it was a brilliant close to what could have been a disastrous weekend. Then again, as Bhayak put it, if we had ended up at Liquid Lounge as was originally planned, it would have resulted in us not remembering anything at all.