Better to have lost and found than never to have found at all
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Well, we can start with the fact that you’re lying on the couch talking to yourself”
“?? Err… that was a rhetorical question, you know…”
“Oh. How was I to know. Besides, as far as rhetorics go, that was a particularly stupid”
“Stupid?? It’s NOT stupid. If anything, it’s profound… You know, like ‘What is the meaning of life?’ or ‘Why am I me?’…”
“Hmrph! Profound indeed. Profound must necessarily include depth. If you ask me, tha…”
“No one asked you, ok? So shut up!!”
You have no idea how annoying it is when you try to talk to yourself and find yourself talking back. And it’s even less enjoyable pickled with snide remarks. I enjoy a cheery debate now and then. In fact, you can hardly find an aquaintance who wouldn’t acknowledge this trait, and chances are that they’d acknowledge it with a look of frustration on their faces, the kind that would indicate, even to the causal observer, that the subject is not one that evokes mirth. But this particular debate was parading a naked display of ignorance. It was, hence, not without a cerain amount of irritation that I decided to return to my reverie.
“What is wrong with me?”
Huh?? Nothing’s wrong with me. I couldn’t believe I had asked myself such a question. Why would anything be wrong with me? I am what I yam and all that, and still… I couldn’t dispute the fact that before my inner bully started interrupting my thoughts, this was the very question that flung me into a reverie.
As the answer struck me, I uttered a sharp ‘Ha‘, the kind of utterance that could have cured hiccups, had an opportune patient been fortunate enough to be around. As it stood, my ‘Ha‘ bounced harmlessly off the walls.
What’s wrong with me is that I alternate. One moment, I’m thanking the random array of cosmic forces for the systematic assembly and evolution of matter, circumstances, and thoughts that shaped me into who I am; a general thumbs up to the Father who art in heaven. The next, I’m, opening critique on some trait of mine which is generally considered as flaws, such as my aloofness, laze, procrastination, anger and irresponsibility. Though these moments of critique are admittedly rare, they can be quite harsh. I am my own bully, in a manner of speaking. The object of my latest critique is my tendency to lose things. Everybody loses stuff. I just tend to overachieve my quota.
I’ve lost books, currency notes, regular notes, movie disks, shirts, mobile phones, paper, pens, pen drives, bus tickets, computer mice, coupons, glasses, a hard disk, vessels, spoons, documents, shoes and a Nikon digital SLR camera. And that’s just this month. The really disturbing aspect is that the month hasn’t been particularly out of the ordinary. So what brings me to write about it now? Reason is never a necessity for my posts; as a matter of fact, I typically make an effort to exclude reason as far as possible. In this case, however, there IS a reason. Today, I get another set of keys made for our apartment.
Rewind to about a year ago… back when we found that this apartment was being let out, we rushed in to fill the void – marched into the living room, vaguely promising our landlord that we’d keep the premises clean and tidy. At that point, he had given us four shiny keys to the front door. Of course, he was blissfully ignorant of the ever growing compilation, List of Items Formerly Possessed by Hamish Joy, and I had no intention of confiding this trait of mine with him. Why should I? It’s not like we were kindred spirits or anything. My losing streak wasn’t any of his business. Well, at least not until I started losing the keys, at any rate.
When you lose stuff, you have to be patient. Wait casually for it’s reappearance, appearing as nonchalant as possible. Nonchalance is essential, crucial, even, and I dare say it may be worth it to practice the look. Hands in pockets, eyes wandering, no trace of panic… these are the basic ingredients. Whistling is also a nice strategy, but not everybody can pull it off well. If you are one of those gifted people who can maintain the ‘I-don’t-care-where-you’ve-gotten-lost-to-and-I’m-not-worried‘ look WHILE whistling, then by all means, purse your lips and start away. But if whistling makes you fidget, sweat, shuffle your feet, and generally resemble a burglar with an inferiority complex, then I strongly advice that you resist the urge. If you have already pursed your lips, fake a yawn and resume a non-whistling position.
By historical evidence, missing tidbits would start showing up with a sigh – “Arright, arright, here I am. I must say, buddy, I’m quite saddened that you didn’t miss me at all. In any case, here I am, not that you care.” – Amateurs make the mistake of leaving the nonchalant act at this point. Some are even known to weep in joy, hugging the hitherfore missing item and pledging never to leave it out of sight. This happens most often when the missing item in question is a baby, but it’s been known to happen with other things too.
Rookie mistake. Four out of five psychiatrists agree that this type of kneejerk reaction simply enables juvenile instincts. It will get lost again, and this time… it won’t fall for the nonchalance act.
In any case, if the item doesn’t show up for over two weeks, I say call off the search party, throw in the towel and start accepting the fact… It’s gone. This strategy may not work for babies, but given the time, it can work remarkably well with other items. It’s particularly true for house keys. And it’s even truer for keys to rented apartments. Give it up. It’s not like you can post pictures of the key on milk cartons. You’re done. If you’ve lost the entire set of keys, change your lock. If you have at least one copy, make more copies.
This is precisely what I’ve set to do. The point of concern is that this isn’t the first time this has happened. Bangalore is positively littered with shiny little copies of keys to my apartment. If you walk down a Bangalore road, or even, for arguments sake, UP a Bangalore road, and stumble on a key, chances are high that it would fit my apartment door.
This is one of the saner reasons why I don’t post my apartment address online. I’m not worried about YOU. Of course not. You are of course, as honest a chap as ever brushed a tooth. If you chance upon a random key in Bangalore, you’re precisely the sort of chap who’d post a comment saying “Say, Hammy, old chap. I’ve stumbled on a key here while I was strolling through Bangalore. Damn near tripped on it too. Is it yours? Good thing it didn’t fall into the hands of some dishonest chap, you know.” No siree, I’m not worried about you. I’m more worried about the ‘dishonest chap’ you wrote about up there.
Maybe I can manage not to advertise that I’ve lost so many copies of the key that the savvy Bangalorean burglar can better invest his time looking down gutters than learning the dying art of lock-picking. I will certainly try.
As I stared at the latest set of duplicate keys lamenting on the deteriorating craftsmanship of key works… it suddenly struck me… My tendency to lose things goes beyond physical objects… This characteristic may just be fundamental for me. It may just about explain why I lose my temper frequently; lose my mind occasionally; lose my control, my sense of direction, interest, perspective, drive, balance, faith… and I’m also forever lost in thought. Dammit, I’ve lost a tooth, am losing hair, my health and some hearing. Just about the only thing I haven’t lost is my paunch.
I think I’ll go back into a reverie now.