Incident happened in a girl’s life, which might be small at glance but gave her very strong impression of her father and his endless love. The story portrays the father’s reaction to his daughter’s problem without giving the slightest thought on his own health. It also shows the girl’s courage to fight difficult time all alone.
It was 6 am in the morning. I was traveling from Mumbai to my hometown in a Salo seater luxury. I boarded it at 10.30 pm and was supposed to reach by 7 am in morning. I was going to see my father who has undergone the eye cataract surgery.
It was the last week of March in 2013, it was Holi season and the PLs for BE final semester exam. Submission of final year was after the holiday of 3 days. So I carried my Laptop along, which I bought a year back, to update my project report and Software project.
Suddenly Luxury halted at 6 am where cleaner and the driver asked us to shift to another bus for further journey. Usually, they do so when they carry a small number of passengers. It was Dhule Stop. My town was 35 km away from here. I was one more hour away from my home sweet home. I was half asleep. I woke up and tried getting my college bag, my luggage from the rack above my seat.
I was shocked noticing my college bag was not in place. I went into a frenzy, adrenaline kicked in and madly dashed searching whole luxury racks, each and every seat side and scanning every person around.
I was blank with my mind-set, as time passed. I had bought that laptop with hard earned money of my father. My papa and my project guide face started roaming in my mind. The laptop had all my final year project detail. If is not got on time I will be wasting my precious academic year.
I understood, the bag is stolen because nothing else moved around. By this time remaining passengers were shifted to another luxury.
The cleaner asked me,” madam, why you still here? That luxury is about to leave. This bus won’t take you to your destination.”
I told him,” Bhaiya, My college bag is missing from the rack. I want my bag right now. Till then, I won’t leave this bus.”
I had the habit to keep my eye on my stuff while traveling. I had been travelling in such luxury buses very often but never faced such problem. Cleaner started searching for the same. We went to bus standing beside, to check if anybody has carried it by mistake.
But couldn’t find it. It was 6.30 am. I started panicking.
The cleaner said,” Madam, you don’t worry we will search your bag and deliver to your address. You seat in another bus to move to your destination.”
But I was reluctant.
I was scared yet reluctant to move away without my bag. It was just a bag for others but it had my much worth laptop. I was not worried about my papa’s scolding but I was more worried about how he will feel when I will tell him about this. What I will do, of my submission.
My phone rang. It was the papa, calling to ask how long I will take to reach now. So he can come to receive on luxury stop.
I was numb and speechless. Thinking of how to tell him I lost my Laptop.
He understood my silence and asked,” Is everything OK?”
I told him with a low voice,” Papa, my college bag is stolen from this bus.”
He asked,” What were you carrying in the bag?”
I was speechless. Again he understood.
He asked,” Laptop?”
I acknowledged him quietly, saying,”Yes”
He disconnected the phone without saying a word.
I kept on searching. I found a similar college bag lying on the rack, above the back seat. Meanwhile, another bus left with all passengers. I was all alone with cleaner and the driver of the bus.
I asked the cleaner,” Bhaiya, ye bag kiska hai?”
He said,” madam, this bag belongs to two burkhawali ladies. They were mother-daughter by relation.”
I asked,” So you must be having contact detail of these ladies. Give me her contact number which you people usually note down while booking tickets.”
The cleaner said,” No madam, we don’t have it as they got into the bus in Bhiwandi which is outer stop and no prior bookings were made.”
Suddenly the grief was turned into anger.
I shouted to cleaner and driver, “ How could you be so irresponsible. How you people have not maintained any passenger records. Is this the way you manage your passenger.. and blaah blaah blaah.”
I was blank but after getting this similar bag, I got a hope to search my bag. I started exploring the stuff within.
The driver said,” madam its 6.45 am in the morning right now. No office will be open.”
He requested me,” you please leave this bus I want to park it alienated place.”
As we were on the highway, luxuries are not allowed to get into the city after 7 am was the rule otherwise they will be penalized.
I threaten them to call police if at all they forced me to leave.
That similar bag had cosmetics, some pharmacy books and one piece of paper which was Hall ticket.
I asked them,” where do they get down?”
The driver said,”They got down at 5 am at Malegaon.”
After the halt over Dhaba at 3 am and halt right now at 6 am, this was the only halt taken in-between.
So I understood that this means my bag is exchanged by mistake and it is taken by some lady whose name as per the hall ticket was Fatima sohib.
I kept on exploring her bag. Everything was general with no clue.
It was 7 am, my mom not knowing, what had happened called me up and asked,” Where are you? What you told your papa that he just took his bike and left with serious mood.”
I was confused. Papa didn’t say anything about this.
I said,”Mom I am fine. My Bag is stolen. I am searching it. I am in luxury Bus trying to get some clue”
mom said,” OMG, it’s not your business to investigate all alone. You don’t stay there alone, you come home then we will make a police complain.”
I said,” Mom, you don’t worry. Your daughter is safe and is brave enough to get my stuff back.”
I ended the call.
While exploring through her stuff, I got one contact number on the back page of one of the books. The phone number, we usually get when we buy our textbook. The number was of some book stall. Printed using stamp. I thought to call the number and inquire for Fatima sohib as there was no other clue in hand. I gave it a try.
A guy picked-up the call.
I asked him for Fatima.
He said,”No, I don’t know any Fatima and don’t call again it is early morning. ”
I insisted him to help if at all he knows anything about this girl as she has forgotten her bag in the luxury and bag contain her important belongings.
He was sounding as if he just got up with the interruption of my call. He asked what all stuff? I said her books, money-wallet and main thing her hall ticket.
During those days hall tickets were given in college unlike today’s scenario of download and print.
He started saying little about Fatima that she usually purchase the books from him and his book stall is in Mumbai.
I told him that the hall ticket has Malegaon’s college name. he said yes because she stays there with her mamajan.
I was amazed how come a bookseller can have this much info about a girl who purchases her books from him.
This was not enough actually.
I asked him if he can get me her number. He said he will search for it and provide. He asked me why I wanted to help her.
So this was one tricky question to answer. If at all I will say she took my laptop unknowingly then there is a chance to cruel his mind and sell my laptop.
I told,” I had my My final year project in that bag which is very sensitive and is to be handled with care. ”
He gave me her contact number. My hope was little boosted.
I called that number more than 20 times but got no response.
It was 8 am. I was still in the luxury bus all alone with two strangers who wanted to park luxury at some other place. But I was afraid to move from the main road and for that sake, I threaten them to call to police.
I called that Mumbai guy again. He took the time to receive phone and negative thoughts started getting in my mind. I tried again. He received.
I told him, “No one is answering the call on the number you gave. Can you provide me her detail, please?”
He said,” I won’t be able to get up to her.”
I asked, “Why?”
He said,” today is a holiday. She generally stays in the hostel but hostel is close today. Other place she could go is her mamajan’s place. He stays in very narrow area near kalu halwai and …..blaah blaah blaah.”
I noted each and every detail he mentioned and kept on trying to call her.
It was around 8.30 am now. Papa called me and asked with concern where I was waiting. I guided him with the address, where I was exactly.
He said,” I will be there in 15 min.”
I was so much about to cry as was all alone with two strangers.
I kept encouraging myself saying,” Everything gonna be alright”.
I again called up Mumbai guy and asked him to help me with proper address. I got a bike now to move to the narrow roads.
Papa came and I told him every single detail. He listened to everything calmly. He asked me to sit on bike and he drew to malgaon.
It was around 87 km from my hometown.
We reached Malegaon by 11.15am. The place mentioned by Mumbai guy was seriously very strange and narrow. We any how managed to reach Fatima’s mamajan’s place.
Mamajan was the angry old man who asked very angrily,” who you want to meet.”
By that time my anger was much more than his. I could see the entrance of his house from outside and saw my bag, kept as it is .I ran to my bag without his permission and grab it and held it tight. Tears rolled out of my eyes.
He was shouting at me as he was not getting what I was struggling through. My papa made him understand what had happened to me.
Mamajan called out for Fatima and you won’t believe almost 25 girls came out of his place. I was impatiently searching for this irresponsible girl Fatima. Mamajan took me n papa inside and asked Fatima to apologize. Papa was still calm and very supportive.
She, unaware of whole scenario, asked, “What happened?”
I lost my temper and explained her, what all I went through all because of her carelessness.
I told her, “My dad had his eye cataract surgery. I had my final submission tension. Anyhow, I managed to come and rest with my family for 2 days holiday. You just took my precious bag in your half-sleep. What kind of girl you are. My bag was around 6 kg in weight. How couldn’t you get any idea that it wasn’t yours? Papa and I are struggling since 6 am till 12.30pm without having a single drop of water. This could have been easier for me if at all you would have received your phone.”
My temper was too high to listen to her. I told her to throw up her phone and her all educational degree in bin. I scolded her that, I called you more than 100 times and no one out of so many members could receive it once.
She said sorry for all problems she made me face.
She asked me to have breakfast and some water. I was feeling damn weak to handle my temper and was more worried by thinking of my papa’s consultation from surgeon to rest. He kept his hand on my head and asked me to calm down and be happy that finally, we got our belongings safe. I put one small smile for my papa’s saying and thanked him for being there as always. I just left her house and moved out saying kindly thank that bookseller guy who helped me to reach up to you.
All the members of her house started asking her about that guy. No one knew about him. At last, I got to know that they were in secret relation which I had exposed to all at one stroke.
While I was leaving, I could only hear scolding at her for this secret relation. Papa and I left Malegaon and travelled for 2.30 hour and finally reached home. Papa didn’t scold me for what happened instead, he appreciated the way I handled the case all my own. Thinking in such difficult situation, staying active all alone with strangers, yet investigating and linking all clues was hats-off act.
I was strong in all cases only because of my papa. All because of his endless love. I thanked him for always being there. My papa is my real hero and my first love of my life. On this day, my belief was made stronger that whenever and wherever I’ll be stuck; my papa will always be there for me. Without thinking of his own health and any other odd-conditions, he was with me.