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The thief that was not to be

Business people standing at baggage claim in airport.

Business people standing at baggage claim in airport.  

Our flight touched down at an airport in South India on a November night in 2018. When the seat belt sign was off, the passengers hurriedly got up to take out their carry-on luggage from the overhead bins.

As I stepped out of the aircraft and onto the aerobridge, the glass panels on either side gave a glimpse of the quietness of the night. I arrived at the baggage claim area and found that the carousel was already moving. Soon, the place became crowded. All eyes were fixed on the moving belt, and a sudden elation went up in me at the sight of a familiar-looking bag immediately only to be followed by a sigh of disappointment. The cycle got repeated until my first dark green bag arrived. I waited for the second. Initially, my eyes searched for only dark green, but after some time, they looked for every shade of green and then all colours until they got tired. The “last bag” sign flashed on the screen and the belt stopped its merry-go-round game.

I thought a co-passenger must have taken my bag, and after realising his mistake, left it somewhere. I went to the customer service desk to complain and even before I finished my sentence, the woman at the desk pulled out a form and gestured with her hand to fill it up. I handed over the form and walked out of the airport and stood on the pavement looking for my brother’s car. Another passenger stood next to me with his luggage. My eyes opened wide with fury when I spotted the green bag he was holding. It looked just like the one I lost. Luckily for him, I noticed the tag of another airline on it. I still eyed him with suspicion.

Next day, I called the airline but to no avail. As I remembered the man with the green bag, my rage returned. However, after a series of phone calls and a long wait, the bag arrived one fine morning. Only after examining it and its contents did I forgive the so-called thief.

slakshmi.nandyala@gmail.com

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 12:59:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-thief-that-was-not-to-be/article31542475.ece

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