The most exciting part of travel is that it is a completely unique experience. Even if you are travelling to the same place hundred times each will have a different experience. This makes it fun and challenging. Every journey is a story. There are so many travel stories in India that are just waiting to be told. So many travel stories just waiting to happen on your next trip. In this series, I will share my travel story and experience which could be good, bad, ugly, funny, weird and completely insane.
Losing a baggage is a traveller’s nightmare and it can happen to anybody on any given trip. It happened to me when I was returning home from my sister’s place in Lonavala, a hill station nestled in the Western Ghats couple of hours from the Mumbai city. Those who know me know that I am a “train nut” and that I prefer trains for the commute. However, on this particular day, the trains were running full and I had no option, but to take the state transport bus.
So, after exploring all the options for trains I finally decided to head towards the bus depot a.k.a bus station and try to get a seat on a bus heading towards Mumbai. After waiting and exploring options for over 20 minutes, I finally got a bus. I thanked God when I stepped into the bus because I was tired and bored of running between the train station and bus station.
The only seat available was in the last row window seat, but I took it without any hesitation. The last seats are bumpy and usually, have very less leg space, but for me, it was important to reach home on time than worrying about leg-space issues which would last a couple of hours. The conductor followed me and I bought the tickets. However, I realized that the batteries for my Discman were missing in my bag, I probably left it at my sister’s place. So, I immediately asked the conductor how soon the bus will leave. He replied in around 10-15 minutes. I thought it was a perfect moment to get myself some batteries and listen to music on the way home.
In the very next moment, I put my bag underneath the seat, slide it in with my legs and got down the bus to buy some batteries. Since I had only 10 minutes, I made sure I was back in my seat before the time’s up, but when I returned the bus wasn’t there.
Oh My God. Where. Is. The. Damn. Bus?
I immediately ran outside the bus station and saw the bus racing away from me on the highway. That was not a good sign at all. For a moment, I had no clue what should I do and how do I retrieve my bag. However, I mustered some courage and I ran back to the bus station announcer window. I was so paranoid I could hardly explain what just happened, but I finally did. He immediately called up the next bus station and asked someone to at least pick the bag from the last seat, so I can retrieve it. The announcer immediately arranged a seat for me on the next bus heading to Mumbai. He told me that my backpack would be at the Khandala bus station which is just 15 minutes from Lonavala.
I got into the bus and we raced towards the Khandala bus station. When the bus reached Khandala, I got down at the Khandala bus station to retrieve my backpack. However, the supervisor there told me that the phone came in late and that the earlier bus had passed by then.
I was like – you should have informed that to the announcer so that I could call up the supervisor at the next stop.
He apologized and he said that the next stop would be Panvel and that he can call up the Panvel bus station supervisor now. A bus would take around an hour to reach Panvel so I thought this would be a great idea.
I hopped into the following bus heading towards Panvel thinking about my lost baggage. I was staying at my sister’s for a month so I had plenty of clothes packed in along with my Discman, CDs, and keys to my apartment. Losing the bag would be losing half my closet plus my gadgets. The bus driver saw me and tried to cheer me up, but I couldn’t help much except putting up a fake smile.
I was so angry at myself. Why did I get out of that freaking bus? I could have stayed in and enjoyed the view rather than listening to music. At moments like these wild negative thoughts can make you feel guilty and miserable like hell.
After an hour of mental self-torture in the bus seat I finally saw Panvel bus station approaching and I was ready to pick my bag. Hopefully, I should get it now. Probably, this nightmare must end now. Finally, my bag should be with me.
The bus took a halt at the Panvel bus station. I jumped out of the bus and ran towards the supervisor cabin. Guess what? My nightmare turned into a disaster. The supervisor said there was no bag found on the last seat.
W.T.F. How is that possible?
He said someone on the bus could have stolen it and got down early before the bus station. This event was turning into one of the ugliest experiences of my life.
Far away, the driver of the bus was signalling me to hop on so that we could move ahead. I was depressed, completely shattered into pieces, filled with anger and hatred towards my own insensible decision that had led me to this. However, every dark cloud has a silver lining and mine was the bus driver with whom I was travelling. He told me that all the buses eventually halt at Dadar bus station and that we will be reaching there soon. So he told me that once we get there you inspect the bus yourself.
It was good thinking and a nice piece of advice so I took it gladly. When we reached the Dadar bus station which was the final halt for all buses I thanked the driver and got down. I searched for the bus and found it. However, the door was locked, so I went to the supervisor and asked him for the keys. I explained to him the entire situation. However, he was not very cooperative and told me that there was no backpack found on the bus.
While we were busy arguing a senior guy came up and asked me why I was so adamant. I explained to him what had happened. I requested him to open the bus for me so I could check and confirm if there’s no backpack. He finally agreed. We all went to the bus, one of the transport employees opened it up for us and I went in.
I went to the last seat and bend down and….my bag was still there.
I dragged it out from under the seat and opened it. Thankfully, everything was in there as it should be. I finally came out with my backpack only to see shocked faces of the state transport bus employees. It was a moment of happiness that has stayed with me forever. I finally got my backpack and happily went home. The journey finally came to an end, but the experience still lives on in my mind.
Have you ever lost your luggage during your travel? What is your worst travel experience?