Note: London local time has been used in this narrative
Trip: October 2009, exactly 2 years ago!!!
I landed in Heathrow, London, 9:55am; immigration hardly took anytime and I was out by 10:30. Since my cousin had not yet arrived to pick me up, I opened my laptop and updated my 'social networking sites' to "In London for 2 weeks :)"
Sneha (my cousin sis) and Jiju (brother in law) arrived at about 11am and we left by the London tube to reach their place. We had to change 2 trains and then take a cab to reach Essex (they stay there), should have taken us about an hour and half.
The PLAN: was to reach home by about 1:30pm, have lunch and go watch movie and local site seeing in the evening. But what happened was I did not see Essex and their house till 9pm in the night...
….Why you ask??? read on…..
I checked all my belongings after I got down from the first train and we changed to the second train at about 12:15pm.
1:15 pm: got down from train 2 at East Ham; as soon as I got down realized that I did not have my passport. I checked my bags, my cousin checked too. Everything in place, except my PASSPORT!!!....
1:50pm: Jiju informed the tube station office at East Ham, they informed the Barking station were the train was headed coz.... the authorities check the train before it heads out again...... to see if had my passport
2:00-2:30pm waited in the station for news from Barking. NO NEWS....NO PASSPORT
2:30pm: East Ham train station authorities told us to report it to the local police station. Either the staff on the train could have picked up my passport or member of public could have picked up my passport. So it would either go to the station authorities or eventually land up in Baker Street (lost property office) or with the Police.
2:45pm: I and Jiju walked to the East Ham police station to register the loss.
3:00pm: The police officer told us we have to go to BTP and register our loss there as all tubes are under their jurisdiction.
BTP: being British Transport Police. BTP was in a Ham too but West Ham ( 20 minutes from our current location)
3:15pm: Back at East Ham train station, we put my big bags and Sneha on a cab to go home, and Jiju and I took the tube to West Ham to go to BTP.
3:50pm: Reached West Ham BTP station.
First impression: as if I had entered Tom Cruise's office in Minority Repot. A nice police man took our loss, made out a report on paper gave us a reference number. We needed the reference number so that we could tell the Indian Consulate about the lost passport and get temporary travel documents so that I can go to India...... phew!!!!!!!!!!
4:10pm: Registered the loss, got reference number and number of Indian consulate and got on train back to East Ham.
4:30pm: reached East Ham....finally got through the number and spoke to INDIAN Consulate.........and according to them as Saturday, Sunday and Monday are holidays we should register the loss of passport only on Tuesday at their office coz no one works on weekends and LOSS of PASSPORT is NOT important and that guy cud not understand why we were upset about losing an Indian passport in a Phirang Land.
We wondered what he thought the function of a passport was....
4:45pm: Daddy calls me from India and gives me a number in London. The owner of that number had my passport. WAIT!! Huh??!!! How???? HUH???
5:10pm: we talk to the guy and take his address.
Central London, Trafalgar Square, an hour from where we were.
6:45pm: After a lot of walking and tube travelling, we reach Mint Leaf restaurant and Mr. Mahesh who works as a cook there handed me my passport!!!
8:45pm: I am finally at home with my passport.
My Savior: A Mr. Mahesh, born in Chennai and who had worked as a cook in Delhi found my passport on the train1 (he is now a cook in Mint Leaf restaurant, London). He saw my details and realized I too was born in Chennai (Tamilian) but was residing in Delhi. As he was familiar with Delhi, He called his friend in Delhi and asked him to go to the address on the passport to inform my family that he has my passport. (My Passport does not carry my phone number)
His friend went all the way from Rajouri Garden to Vasant Kunj at night in Delhi... And we don’t stay at that address anymore!!!. The people currently staying in that flat directed Mr Mahesh’s friend to a neighbor’s house. Our old neighbors called my parents in Dwarka and enquired if I had lost my passport in London. My Parents were surprised that our neighbors knew I had lost my passport How??they them took Mr. Mahesh ka number from his friend and gave it to my parents and the rest is that I am very LUCKY that I have the passport in my hand now..
GOD Bless him and his friend!!!!!
The best part is that even before the complaint got entered and registered on the London computer system the connection has gone to Delhi and I got my passport.
There are many types of dialects of British English and though all sound very cute ...all are NOT easy to understand esp. if spoken very fast
'O Blimey' = ' O Baba re'
‘Hunky Dory’ = ‘Mast’
There are Whites in London (Seemed to me that 99% Londoners were from the subcontinent)
Stations are named Barking and Ham
They serve Chicken Tikka Tandoori as a topping on Pizza in UK ;)
Glad to be a part of that population of the world which has representatives Everywhere!!!! :)
(don’t be so careless Shraddha??? :)