I dropped my wife & kid in front of the venue, told them I will park the car and call when I am inside the venue. They walked away, I had driven few metres, when I turned to pick my mobile phone, I couldn’t spot it. It was not in my pocket, not in the dashboard, not in the seat next to me. I looked around to see them, no sight of them, road was jam packed so I couldn’t stop the car and go after them. I began to panic!
My mind was playing tens of options on what to do next. It’s not going to be a simple matter of borrowing a phone from a stranger and calling. Wife unlikely to hear the ring in the high decibel levels inside the venue, even then she will be hesitant to pick a call from an unknown number. SMS will be best, but for that to work I need to be next to the stranger for ten minutes – the message has to go, she has to see it and reply to come back. She might be trying my number and since I won’t be pick up, she could be standing in the entrance.
I parked the vehicle, then in fast strides went to the venue. The place was crowded every inch. I couldn’t find them anywhere near the entrance. I am not an introvert, neither I am a socializing character, so speaking to strangers doesn’t come easy to me. I went around the whole place, searching for them or any other known face. After two rounds of the place, I went to information desk; the lady there kindly gave her personal mobile and allowed me to call. I called my wife, call was not going – there should have been 5000 people or more, so networks seemed to be jammed. Apologetically I asked the lady to try once more, this time 6 rings, 7 rings, no reply. I thanked the lady and went around looking. Then in one of the stalls I saw a friend of mine, borrowed his phone and kept trying my wife’s number. Luckily she picked the call this time and I asked her to come to the stall I was standing; disconnected I turned there she was few feet away from me. I called her to come near, introduced to my friend and we moved from there.
I explained to her what happened and got a good dose of how I should be careful with my phone and not leave it in the house. On our way back I thanked the lady in information desk and left the place feeling exhausted.
The whole episode made me realize how dependent we are with everyone carrying an individual mobile phone. I can’t seem to find my way without one for a single hour. I was recollecting the days till 15 years back on how we lived without mobile phones, still we went to places, dropped people, agreed on a common meeting point and life went on smoothly.
This incident happened to me two weeks back while we visited Chennai Book Fair. There was another instance when I was searching for my wife for 5 hours during our first Australian trip in 2002 but that story is for a different day.