Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Life's Most Expensive Mistake [Fiction]

Snow DustingImage by Captain Kirt via Flickr
The cold wind was blowing hard and fierce. My face was getting dry. This was the first time I experienced sub zero temperatures. The snow flakes would occassionally get into my mouth. I and my uncle were returning after purchasing clothes from the so called 'after christmas clearance sale'. When we got down from the car, we took all those bags and we hurried our way to home. We had to just go some 100 odd feet, but buffetted by the chill wind and not wearing enough winter clothes it felt like a mile to go and we were literally running. After reaching home, I ran hot water through my hands - I had thought that I got frostbite.

We settled down, drank hot coffee and were started watching 'Headline News'. After about an hour, we started opening the bags to show the clothes to aunt. I was very happy because it was the first time I was buying something for myself after coming to USA with my own hard earned money. I was particulary proud that I could buy original branded items of Nike etc, which I could never dream of while in India. My smiles were broken by my uncle, "Did we not buy that green colored T Shirt of Calvin Klein?". "Of course, we did." I said in a normal tone with no clue of what more was about to come. "I can't find it in here, why don't you search it and show it to your aunt?". "Haha, how could you become this tired, you haven't checked all those bags that are out of reach. Your software job has made you sedentary. Anyways here it is" I said, with smiles again coming up because that was a 50$ T shirt, the most expensive of them all and the best I liked. I reached out inside the bag but it turned out to be a pair of socks and some other stuff. With a minor sigh, I reached out to other bags and checked out. It wasn't there. A second round, much more carefully - it wasn't there. I checked out the bill - it had been billed. I felt as if I was standing out there in the chill. "Damn, how could this happen?" I asked myself. "Hey don't worry, may be its in the car itself. Anyways we will check out tomorrow morning when we will go to the temple". "Oh come on, we will check out now". "I am too tired. Will have to wear all those winter stuff again. May be you could go and check out". "That sounds great" and in no time I put on my jacket and now I put my gloves. "Or leave it as such". I could sense that he was afraid to give me the keys. "Huh, of course I know how to open and close a car with your remote controlled key. Now give it to me". I grabbed it and went out. Again the winds. Lost in thoughts, I was walking slowly in the ice "Damn damn damn, how did that happen? Ok keep your mind calm, where would I have left it? Did I take it from the counter? Yes. Did I.. Oh here is the car." I used the remote key to unlock the car and then checked out thoroughly. No, it wasn't there. The truth is I had lost it. I sat in the driver's seat and wanted to drive back to Macys. "I wish I had a driver's licence". I switched on the heater inside the car and was lost in thoughts. My uncle called me on phone asking me why I was taking so long. "I am on my way.." I said and hurriedly got down, locked the car, made sure it was locked again and started walking back. Suddenly I felt that I hadn't switched off the heater. Then I told to myself that "If I remove the key it would be off". But I ran back to the car and unlocked it and saw that everything was off. I also checked whether the headlights were off. My alter ego was screaming at me now. I talked sense to it in a melodramatic tone "All my life I have been very careful. Thats how I have been able to succeed and thats the reason I am here. I haven't lost anything in my life. Now when unfortunate things like this happen, you got to be a little more careful. So what I did now was sensible.. ". My alter ego was screaming loudly. Realizing that I was lost in thoughts, I forced myself to carefully look around while walking back home to see whether we had dropped the bag. I reached home and I scolded Murphy for his stupid law. "Well, this might be the most expensive mistake I had ever made. But this is the last. I swear in the name of.. " again lost in thoughts, I was interrupted by my uncle "So you didn't find it? Hmm.. Don't worry. It happens (he meant 'Shit happens'). Forget it now, lets have lunch..". It took me longer to digest the bitter truth than the food.

The next day morning, we were ready to go to the temple. As we reached the car parking area, my uncle said to me. "I thought I had parked my car here." There was some other car. Horrified, realized that I hadn't locked the car the second time and I knew what my most expensive mistake was.
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