The Airport Booth

It’s not the English booth, like the telephone booth.

It’s the Hindi booth, like the Ram Gopal Varma’s movie. Telugu lo – deyyam!

We’ve seen it live in Hyderabad International Airport. Well, not literally seeing with our eyes per se, but experienced it. I couldn’t stop laughing all night in spite of being in trouble.

It was about 10 days ago, a Saturday night. One of our friends was leaving to US and we went to drop him off at the airport.

We started at home around midnight. We did have good time in reserve for the flight. We headed directly to the terminal first. After a couple of them got down with luggage at the ‘departures’ terminal, we looked for parking. We were two in the car.

We entered the parking area, took the parking ticket and parked the car. We then discussed whether to carry the parking ticket with us or leave it in the car.

We decided to leave it in the car. If neither of us two come for the car again, there would be a confusion. So, we were sure to leave the ticket with the car. We placed it on the storage area near the gear knob (near the cup holder and stuff) and locked the car.

We went up to the terminal, had something to eat at Mc Donald’s, said goodbye to our friend, clicked a few pictures around and also looked at some movie shooting going on for a few minutes. It was good time all the while, but also early hours of Sunday; we wanted to head home.

We came to pick up the car from parking.

Surprise! Parking ticket is missing!!

Normally, we would wonder whether we left it in the car or took it with us. But, as we explicitly discussed it, we were damn sure it should be in the car. Except the fact that, it was not there!

I have an iPhone and my friend has a HTC Desire. We both switched on the LED lights on mobiles and searched the car. Completely. We moved the seats around too, but couldn’t find the damn ticket!

To look into some hard-to-reach places, we even switched on the phones’ video camera with LED light ON and checked. No trace of the ticket.

Again, we know it’s not in our wallet or pockets because we both explicitly discussed and left it in the car. Even then – we emptied our pockets and scanned through our wallets. You never know!

But the ticket was not to be found. 🙁

I personally thought someone got into our car.

Two reasons for my doubt: One, the glove box was open when we got to the car. We wouldn’t normally keep the glove bog open because it’s tough to even get down that way. So, it was my suspicion that somebody broke into the car and looked around for any valuables. Two, there was a sweater we left in the front seat. Normally kept just in one seat when we got down. It was ‘thrown’ over the two seats when we came later.  That still strengthened my doubt that they were ‘looking around’.

However, am not sure now. Why would a thief leave a wonderful sweater but take the parking ticket? 😀

But again, we thought, he/ she took nothing but the ticket was blown away when the doors were open. Fair enough. So, the thief was a good one; we lost nothing we noticed. Or, may be there was no thief.

That doesn’t change the fact though. The parking ticket was not to be found.

We repeated the process. Searched the car. Complete car. Again. And then pockets, wallets and surroundings. No ticket.

The laughs had already started. Hysterical laughs. We know we are not stupid but the ticket was not there. No reasoning seemed right.

We finally took the car out of the parking area and headed to the parking exit. Told the attendant that the ticket was lost.

He explained the process: We have to show them the car registration certificate, driver’s licence and pay Rs 350. That formality should be completed at the Parking Office on the other end.

I always carry Driver’s License in my wallet. So, if I have the Registration ID in the car, I can pay them the fine and get the hell out of there.

Looked at few documents in the car and found the RC. I was holding it in my hand to make sure that’s the right ID. It was the right card I needed. I confirmed the registration number twice to be very sure. Kool. We headed to the Parking Office.

It was less than a minute. We got down and one officer came around to inquire what the problem was. Explained that the parking ticket was lost and we were there to pay the fine.

He asked for the RC and the license.

Surprise! RC is missing!!

😀

I couldn’t just believe it! I had held it in my hand a minute ago. It’s not an exaggeration, I am talking about 60 secs here! But, the fact  is – it’s gone.

We did the drill again. Car search, pocket search, LED light camera search. Even the parking officer couldn’t believe it. He too assisted in moving the seats around and searching the complete car, one more time. But no luck. No parking ticket, no RC.

Howzzat?? 😀

I asked the officer if there was a ‘booth’ around. He laughed too and suggested we search one more time. Another round of drill, in vain.

He probably felt bad for our luck that night. He approached me and told that just License would do for the moment. He said he can let me go without the RC because he was witnessing the situation and he didn’t think it was fake. Good that he actually believed us! Nice fella!

So, while still wondering where the parking ticket had gone and thinking about even more surprising vanish act of the RC, I walked right behind the parking officer. And at the same time, I was also taking out my wallet for Driver’s License.

Ready for another surprise? Bam! There’s no license in my wallet! 😀

I was no longer sure what was going on. Parking ticket fiasco- fine, it’s weird but I give it to you. But then, RC and License is too much. Too-bloody-much I say!

We used friend’s driver’s licence (his was still available in the wallet :P) and got the hell out of there as quickly as we could.

We were puzzled, we were laughing, joking around and all that on the way home, at 3 am. But we did not know where the booth came from and why it took our documents!

A few days after that, the mystery was resolved. Not completely, but a good start. Will continue the resolved mystery in the next post.

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