"Madam, your ticket please"
- I was cozily sleeping on a window seat of a bus enroute my office, and this was a checker.
Random checks do happen on our bus routes in Delhi. If you are caught without one or with an undervalue ticket, you would have to pay a fine, may be jailed for two days or both.
"Yes, of course", I replied, waking up. Trying hard to recall where I had shoved it in, I started searching in the most easily available pockets. But whatever came out were of various values of previous journeys on different routes, which have no validity at present. I dug and dug.
"Did you throw it?", taunts the bald man standing next to my seat.
"No, I have it", I assure him, not looking up. I realize I am delaying everybody. "I have a proper ticket, please let me go", I pleaded.
"If this is the case, you should be able to produce it."... Ugh, this guy is adamant.
Not that anyone was complaining, but I offered to get off the bus with them. They agreed. I sat on the seats of the bus stop, took all my time as I drew out each old ticket after another. I kept aside anything that was not a bus ticket: receipts of my tailor, someone's business card, and things like that. Ultimately, from the most unlikely pocket, emerged a freshly bought ticket bearing the requisite serial number. The checker was watching me all the time, quite bored by then, and the moment I drew out the correct piece of paper, he gave out a sigh of relief.
"See, you wasted ten minutes of my time", he said.
"But I told you I had it", I snapped back.
"Now let me go. Do I look like a truant?", I asked him, pulling myself to my full height. I was dressed in formals, my hair was freshly washed and loose, flying in the breeze, giving me an aura. And I had the ticket that I was about to be fined for not having. I was one up.
The man put me on the next bus to my destination. Luckily the frequency is pretty fair, and the roads were fairly empty that time of the day, so I reached office comfortably to take on the day ahead.
Moral of the story: Keep your handbag clean. Learn to throw off stuff you dont need.