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What I Gained by Losing

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What do we gain when we lose something valuable? Anger, unhappiness, anxiety and maybe a feeling of irresponsibility and guilt? What happens when our children lose something? We try to harbour the identical feelings in our children. When a child breaks a toy or someone else breaks or loses their prized toy - we land up encouraging them to focus on the loss. Learning to express these negative emotions is an important part of developmental growth. However, through my recent experience of losing my cellphone, I gained much more than I did by losing.

It was a Monday morning and I was very pre-occupied with my upcoming training program. We stopped at the HDFC Bank branch on the way to work at about 9:30am. My husband insisted I make a withdrawal from the ATM as it had been a long time since my last transaction. I stepped out of my car with my wallet and new phone. It had been 3 days since I had been gifted a one-plus 5T cellphone by my husband. I was still getting used to the large phone (previously used to the iphone series). I placed the phone above the ATM machine and completed my transaction. I counted the cash, put it in my wallet and stepped out in a hurry. I went back in to check if I had properly exited the screen. My husband was done with his check deposits at the bank and so we rushed to our office at 9:50am. As soon as I got to my desk, I reached into my purse for my cellphone only to be disappointed. I checked in the car and was disappointed for the second time. I rushed to my husband to tell him we had to go back to the bank and he started with his lecture - how I could be so forgetful, how I could leave my phone...etc. He suggested I call one of my teachers from my NIBM branch as it was much closer to the bank.

I called my supervisor, Vanesa Fernandes, who hung up half way through my narration to rush to the bank. She must have reached the bank exactly 15 minutes after I had left but the phone was gone. She stepped in and met the branch manager. She narrated how I had lost my phone at the adjacent ATM and requested to watch the CCTV footage from the ATM. He requested her to get an application from the nearest police station.

We went to the police station and the officer on duty was a rather nice person and very positive that I would find my phone. He asked me to write an application requesting the police to help me find further details about the person who stole my phone. He stamped my application and wrote a note to the bank requesting them to assist me in any way possible. We went back to the bank with our letter. The Bank manager was extremely cooperative. They allowed access to watch the CCTV footage at the time of robbery. We could clearly see a man in a red t-shirt who made a withdrawl of rs. 7000 and noticed my phone on the ATM. He checked to see if anyone was near him or if the security guard was looking and then quickly took the phone and stepped out. The man's account number was caught on the camera.

He made a few calls and sent out some emails to find out the person's identity. The account number that we had was not from HDFC bank and so it was difficult to find more details. It required inter-bank requests, paper work etc. He assured me that he would let me know as soon as he had something. I had now spent more than half my day tracing my phone. I was unable to do any productive work and these negative feelings related to the loss of my phone were occupying my mind in a big way.

We used google to trace the last location where the phone was seen. We locked the phone and entered a message "This phone is stolen and is being tracked by the police" to be displayed on the screen. The data was intact but the phone could only be unlocked by me. Later in the evening I stopped at the bank to remind them about finding the information. The bank manager reassured me that they would get back to me however this would probably take a few days. I had now given up hope of finding the phone. The person who stole it would certainly sell it in that much time.

I also went to the Vodafone store and got a replacement simcard. My iphone had been repaired and I put in the simcard into it. By now I was trying to be more positive about the situation. I decided to conclude that maybe I was not doing enough charity and this was the universe's way of signaling this to me. Our main business account was in HDFC Bank in Aurangabad. The manager in the Aurangabad branch helped us to find the name and phone number of the person who stole it. He had a good relationship with the concerned bank where this person had his account. My husband gave me this news at 7:30pm and somehow I felt relieved. He was about the call the person. I intervened and asked him to go to the police station and have the cop talk to him instead.

The cop was surprised to see my husband and could not believe how we were able to trace the person so quickly. He called the person who stole it and politely requested him to come to the station to return the phone or the cops would come to him. The person was too scared and in a last attempt to redeem himself, tried to say it wasn't him and he had given his debit card to someone else. My husband spoke to him and asked him to meet him at NIBM junction. He sent a very elderly person with the phone as he was too scared to face my husband. The person who stold it was into painting and plaster work at construction sites. After returning the phone he told my husband in case he has any need for a painter etc. to call him. Yeah right!! My husband came home by 8pm and handed me my phone.

My phone was lost and found or rather traced back all in a day. I felt happy that even if I didn’t find my phone this experience had taught me many things: for starters to be more careful and responsible about your things (the most obvious one). I learnt how to write my first pre-FIR application at the police station. I learnt that to get anything done – it requires multiple follow ups and persistence. I also learned that when you are preoccupied and not aware or present in the moment – whatever you do – will be incomplete or messed up. I lost my phone because I was too preoccupied when I was doing the transaction at the ATM and not focusing at the task I was doing. This is my big lesson and I really plan to teach this to my children in every task that they do. If they can be aware and mentally present, they can be much closer to success.

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Written By -- Insiyah Rahim (Director, Toddlers Nursery & Learn2Teach)

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