I got a shiny new bank debit card a few days back, yet again. Considering the alarming frequency with which I tread the thin line between carefree and careless, the 3 times (twice irreplaceably) I lost my salary bank ATM card do deserve a look back. The college ATM card that I lost once in the meanwhile can wait.
Before I begin, the four years in college that I had an ATM card passed on peacefully. And it is not that I did not use it that often to be lost. I mean every time we went to the main gate I had to rush to the ATM to get whatever little cash I had in my account to pay for the vada pav and cutting chai we had. Nothing ever happened.
After coming into this job thing, the little money in the account part didn't change. The frequent use didn't change. Curiously the mishandling part did. I mean the SBI ATM had this swipe and remove thing, where you had to be an absolute moron to lose a card. This ATM that I have now eats up the card, dispenses the cash and you have to wait for eternity after pressing a button to wait for the card. A lesser degree of morons find this change slightly unnerving.
So the inevitable happened the first time around November. It had been just 2 months since I had gotten this card, before that I had no identity proof to even open a salary account. I had to depend on my SBI card, which I managed to lose right about then! Talk about poor timing. Anyway, just to substantiate Murphy's law, I lost my salary account card right on the day I got my salary. As I described, I must have forgotten it in some bloody ATM which gladly would have eaten it up. The conjectures because I wasn't even sure until about a day later.
The realization part was comical, it had to be. As usual we had no food at home. We were hosting a friend and I volunteered to go to the market and get some food. Again adding to the situation all the ATM's in the market were non-functional, sparing one. This meant that there was this half a kilometer long queue outside that solitary functioning one. I waited in the line patiently. The guy behind me asked if we could use an ABN card at an SBI ATM. I consoled him telling that is exactly what I was going to do before him.
My chance came in about five hundred hours, compounded by the fact that I was very hungry by then. I entered the room with the machine and took out my wallet. Hard luck, there was no card. I searched frantically, and realized there were people behind who were getting irritated. I came out making a stupid face. Trying to figure out what happened all the while.
It was around 9 in the night. It was cold. It started raining. Cold November rain. I phoned back home, they sympathized. My friend volunteered to accompany me to the far off market we had visited in the morning to trace the missing card. We were the only ones in the bus. It was playing cheesy Bappi Da numbers which somehow irritated me to the point of laughter. It was all so surrealistically comical. Not the end mind you.
We reached the market in about 40 minutes. We knocked on the ATM doors and asked the guards. They were clueless. What were we thinking? The best part was that it was an AXIS bank ATM and I had a had time explaining both the customer care people. I gave up. We had to get back, and the place was deserted. Windy, chilly, raining, freezing cold. We saw a bus going to our place. The conductor said it would go if it starts. We pushed it, ran in the rains pushing that damn bus. It started and we ran to hop in before it gathered speed. I took and seat and laughed. Unstoppable laughter. It was all so surrealistically improbably insane. And yet it was happening.
The blocking and re-issue of course went like clockwork. I decided to be ultra careful from now on.
Ultra careful, right. Once again, about 2 months later, I forgot it while taking cash from downstairs my company. I went up, got a call from an office number, which as always I almost didn't pick up:
"Hi, is this Nikhil?'"
"I think you left your card in the ATM downstairs"
'You think, you're not sure?' (what a real smart thing to say, isn't it?)
"No, no I mean you did leave it. I left it with the guard."
'Well. Thanks a lot. Thank you.'
Quite obviously that guy thought right. I rushed down and embarrassingly but fortunately reclaimed my card.
This third time, again the day I got my salary this month, I don't even remember. It's almost as if the card underwent spontaneous combustion. I pick up my wallet that morning, all happy to finally able to fill it with some cash and presto... my card's gone. I tried using my SBI card, but it was so long that I had forgotten the pin. Every day I went to the SBI ATM, tried a random (absolutely sure at that point of time) combination of four numerals but the machine refused to dispense me any money. All this at a time when I was supposed to treat people on my birthday. Talk about timing!
Honestly, this time I'm taking serious care :)