From the Editor – The Incredible Journey of a Phone

Last year in September, I was really happy. One of my most precious dreams was coming true. I was in a tour bus that was travelling through the misty, green highlands of Scotland. We were looking out at the mesmerising terrain of the Isle of Skye, the island where even today, no one locks their doors or cars at night. It was the third day of my 5-day trip. We had just visited a cemetary at the top of a hill and a general sense of calm had descended upon the occupants of the bus. Several dozed off as the sun made a brief appearance. It was the perfect time to call my parents. So I reached inside my pocket, the phone wasn’t there. I knew at that instant that it was lost. But I still kept searching inside my handbag, my rucksack, hoping to prove my intuition wrong. The search, however, yielded no results. In the bus full of strangers, I suddenly felt lonely as hell…

The Tour Bus that Swallowed my Phone


The story doesn’t end here though. Even though there isn’t much of a suspense, it will be worth waiting a bit to find out what happened next. For now, let me introduce you to the Featured Author of the Month of May 2012.

And it is none other than Manish Kumar, whose sophisticated travel tales can easily be confused with poetry. He joined Ghumakkar in November 2008 and has 23 brilliant stories to his credit. His polished, sophisticated language and effortlessly drawn similies and metaphors encourage you to percieve the world in a new light that transforms everything around you into something magical. If you wish to get lost in his surreal world, click here.

And those who have received and read through the Author’s Newsletter yesterday, would already be aware of this. The Featured Story for the Month of April 2012 goes to Temple Trails of Karnataka by Venkat. This crisp, rich five-part story is great reference material for anyone planning a similar trip to any of the places covered in this series. Click here to read the story and do leave a comment or two if you haven’t done so already.

So congratulations to both the winners. They will both be receiving a small token of appreciation from us very soon. Hoping to read many more stories from them.

Coming back to the story. I had most definitely lost my phone. I decided not to give up though and when the bus stopped at a restaurant for lunch break, I informed our guide about the mishap. He searched the entire bus, but to no avail. He kept on asking me where I had used it last. I couldn’t recall. My brain was too numb for any meaningful activity. The helpful guide talked to the reception person at the restaurant and called up the information desks of all the places we had visited since morning. Everyone regretfully informed us that they hadn’t found any phone and then proceeded to assure us that if they do find a phone, they’d be sure to send it to the office of the tourist bus service. By this time, I had started losing hope. We aren’t used to recovering our lost mobile phones. But the guide assured me that if someone finds it, it would be returned to the tour bus service and they, in turn, will send it to me.

After lunch, when we came back to the tourist bus, the guide tried to call my phone. “It’s ringing.” He proclaimed. My heart leapt. Most of the areas we had stopped at since the morning, didn’t have any mobile signals so the phone was obviously not there. And then I remembered that I had put the phone on silent. So for all the hassle, the phone could as well have been in the bus all along. Our guide kept on calling the phone and I listened hard till I thought I could detect a slight vibration near my seat. The guide happily pulled the seat out of it’s place and unzipped the upholstery. But the phone wasn’t there.

By this time, I was sure that the phone was in the bus. Everyone else also confirmed that they could hear the vibrations. And this was when I noticed it. Between my seat and the window, right next to the place, where my coat pocket would have rested, was a long narrow iron pocket fixed to the body of the bus. And sure enough, resting at the bottom of this pocket was my mobile phone. It had managed to wedge itself in a place from where I couldn’t see how they could extract it unless they turned the bus upside down and shook it up.

But my guide was ever an optimist. He assured me that after dropping us off to our hotels, he would try to extract the phone from this impossible place. I placed my hope in him and slept with a heavy heart that night. The next day, in spite of the impossibility of the guide’s mission, I dared to hope a little. When I boarded the bus, I looked at him. He smiled and shook his head. Apparently, he had tried his best to extract the phone using metal wires, but nothing had helped. The phone was snug inside the metal pocket and it apparently didn’t want to come out. At this point I started thinking that it was futile to harbour any hopes now. It was time for me and my phone to part ways. It was difficult because all this while the phone was so near me and yet so far. Anyways, I bade farewell to the phone. And thanked the guide for his genuine efforts in retrieving the phone. “Oh you’ll get it back, don’t worry.” he said in his heavy Scottish accent. “How?” I asked. I wasn’t sure I had heard him right. “When the bus goes for the service the next time, we will inform them and they will take the side panel out and extract the phone.” “It’s no use. I’ll be in India by then.” “No worries, we’ll ship it to India.”

“Okay this guy’s crazy.” I thought. I closed my eyes and sank back into my seat, trying to forget that I ever owned a gorgeous white Nokia E71. I tried to still make the most of the trip and called my parents regularly from the payphone instead.

In a few days, I flew back to India. I exchanged a few emails with the Tour Bus Operators, and they told me the same thing. This was a snag in these buses and they would get the phone extracted during the next service and ship it to me in India. In my heart, I knew that this is never going to happen. This isn’t how things work in the world. No one would go through so much of trouble. And sure enough, by December 2011, the email exchanges stopped. By now, I was used to the fact that I had lost my phone and had almost come to terms with it. I even started seeing the humour in the fact that my phone was still touring Scotland. It apparently had a mind of its own.

It would indeed have been a sad story if it had ended like this. However, an editorial is no place for sad stories. A couple of weeks back, almost 7 months after my phone had got stuck in the bus, I received an email from the Tour Bus Operator. They had apparently sent the bus to the workshop and the mechanics had managed to retrieve the phone. They confirmed my address so that they could ship it to me. And now, my phone is apparently on its way across several country to be reunited with me.

As for the Tour Bus Operator, they are going through all this trouble just because they had assured me that they would send my phone back to me. It goes to show how much honourable dealings mattered to them. Their philosophy somehow reinstated my belief in the Service Sector. I wish all of us would value the words that slip out of our mouths as much. World would be such a lovely place to live in.

The Honourable Guide who was True to his Words

Have you ever had any such incredible experiences? If you have, feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment. You never know, your experience might give hope to some fellow traveller somewhere and teach us to believe in the impossible.

35 Comments

  • ???? ?? ?????????? ………???? ?? , ????? ?? ??? ??

  • Congratulations Manish for being “Featured Author of the month” a great honour . I am waiting for your interview.

    And Equally Congrats to Venkatt for getting recognition for Featured Story. Also I feel this recognition is as good as Featured Author. Being best among 60 odd stories is not a joke.

    I feel even Featured Story should get 2 – 3 questions at least for an interview………………………..As to know how did the author write his story……………….So that other authors try to add as much variety in their stories learning from different authors……………………………..

    What do readers , authors, editors and owners feel about it ???????????????????????

    • SilentSoul says:

      ????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ??? ?? important ??… ???? ?????? ??????? ?? ?? ????

      • Nandan Jha says:

        We are picking things one by one. :-).

        The plan is to excel in one before picking the other. It is a good suggestion and we would try our hand on it, once the ‘Featured Author Interview’ evolves to a level we are aiming at. Over time, we have made it more colorful, more interactive but a lot can still be done which includes video, a better layout, some sort of way to get questions from the community/fans and so on. We would get there with everyone’s love and support.

  • Nandan says:

    Congratulations Manish. Thoroughly deserved and this time, the interview would come out at Ghumakkar :-).

    Congratulations Venkatt, the series has come out really well with mouth-watering (pun intended) photos. Enjoy. We look fwd to read many more from you.

    And the phone after doing hazaar arounds of Scottish-high is now on the way back. Indeed, things like these further strengthen our hope.

    @ Vishal – It is a great suggestion but having an interview might be an overkill at this point of time. But it would be nice for the ‘Featured Story Author’ to write a few words on the ‘Featured Story’ as a comment :-)

  • Kavita Bhalse says:

    ???? ?? ?? “??? ?? ??????? ????” ?????? ????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ????? “??????? ?? ????? ?????” ?? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ??? ?? ????? ????? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ????????.

  • Harish Bhatt says:

    Congratulations Manish and Venkat….

    Salutes to the tour guide who kept his words…these kinda people make the world a better place to live….

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Congratulations to Manish Kumar and Venkatt; thanks to both of them for giving us hours of pleasure as we traveled along with them along mangroves in coastal Odisha and on the temple trail in Karnataka.

    @ Vibha-As always a pleasure to read; it is amazing how you can spin interesting tales about something as commonplace as a lost phone. Almost everyone I know, including myself, have lost phones. May I suggest that your white Nokia E71 be nominated for the inanimate Ghumakkar of the month/year award? Not only has it travelled in style in a luxurious Mercedes Benz all over Scotland for months on end, it even crossed the proverbial seven seas all by itself. If that isn’t real ghumakkari, I do not know what is!

    • Vibha says:

      LOL, you are right DL. This phone is a bigger Ghumakkar than any other phone can ever hope to be. :) Thanks for your kind comments. But the credit goes to the circumstances. Sometime life indeed is stranger than fiction… :)

  • Mayank Khanduri says:

    The same thing happened in India and in Mumbai when my family visited Mumabi for family fucntion. My father lost his purse in Mumbai BEST bus while visiting Hanging garden. He was not aware of his lost till he try to pull his purse to buy another return ticket to the way back. Almost 6 hours has been spent in between. The conductor was very polite and immediately called to their union offie and informed them about the missing purse. The good and surprising thing was that my father purse was already way back to my uncle home and it was in their custody for last four hours while my father was unaware of his loss. The conductor, in whose bus the purse was left has already reported it to the union and the union officers searched some phone numbers through my father diary and contacted my unclein Mumbai. I still believe that the most honest people live in Mumbai. That is why, Mumabi is economic capital.

    Well nice to read such interesting experience of yours

    • Vibha says:

      Nice to hear about your father’s pleasant experience in the BEST bus. Such incredible experiences, though rare, have the strength to wipe out the negativity caused by several disappointments. Thanks for sharing this with us Mayank.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Congratulations to Manish ji & Venkat ji

  • Archana says:

    Congrats winners! Your stories and experiences have really won our hearts many times.

    DLN sir, I second your opinion for nominating the “White gorgeous Nokia E71” as the Ghumakkar of the month/year :) All that was needed was a story tracker in that mobile or a constant feeding of events by the phone itself which could later get published here :)

    All credit goes to Vibha for beautifully weaving this story and making it so interesting!
    Great write up and implicitly apt on Ghumakkar :)

    Cheers!

    • Vibha says:

      I can’t stop laughing at the thought of my phone submitting a story at Ghumakkar for review. Well, you never know. It may have acquired a few skills while it was travelling alone. :)

      Thanks for you kind comments Archana. I am glad you liked the post.

  • ram dhall says:

    Heartiest congratulations Manish ji. A richly deserved honour.

    Congratulations Venkat.

    Vibha: Your story kept me on the edge of seat.

  • ashok sharma says:

    nice post.i was there in Scotland,but in and around Edinburgh only, couldn’t go for this highland tour.your cellphone story was interesting too.

  • Vibha says:

    Dear Ashok,

    Edinburgh is a very vibrant city. I love it a lot. I wrote a story about it some time back. Do read it whenever you can find time: http://www.ghumakkar.com/2011/08/08/of-ghosts-castles-and-dungeons-the-edinburgh-exploit/
    I am glad you liked the story. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Yes Edinburgh is a great city… I have lived in Edinburgh for 3 and half years… and enjoyed every bit and corner of it, with many tours to Highlands

  • Stone says:

    Congratulations Manishji and Venkatji.

    @Manishji -I’ve been following your blogs for years now, and Vibha has rightly said your way of writing is so simple yet is so poetic that it transports the reader into your magic world.

    @Vibha – I would say this was one your best piece , it kept us engulfed in it till the last word. Thank you.

  • Manish Kumar says:

    ????????? ???? ? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ????????

    ????? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ??????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ?? ???????? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ?????

    ???? ???? ???? ??? ?? ????? ? ????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?????? ????????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ???

    ???? ???? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?????????? ????? ?? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ??? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???

    • Vibha says:

      ???? ??, ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ????????? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ????? ????? ?? ????????? ??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?????

  • Nisha says:

    Congratulations to both Manish & Venkat for their achievements.

    Vibha,
    I don’t comment on every post here so you know the reason. :) You have narrated a very interesting travel story that kept us glued till the end though some of us would have guessed the outcome. Kudos to the optimist guide & the team.
    Keep writing.

  • Vibha says:

    Dear Nisha,

    Thanks for your generous comment. I agree about the end being predictable. I think the title gave it away!

    It has been a while since you shared a story with us. Hope you will soon find time to write one. :)

  • Sudip says:

    Hi Vibha!

    Another great piece…

    Regards,
    Sudip

  • vibha says:

    There’s an update on this. The journey of the phone is now complete and it has reached its destination safely. The phone is in great condition and for a bit my mother (she received the courier) thought that they had actually sent a new one.

    The relationship between the phone and me is now stronger than it had ever been.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Vibha,

    NOkia ?? YES ????.

    Very well narrated story of a home-coming. I am sure every reader has already fallen in love with the white, gorgeous E-71. And yes, impossible happens more often than we thought.

    Enjoyed.

    Auro

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