How can we be so stupid? Easy, very easy

Every time I read in the classifieds column that someone has lost his passport, I ask myself, what is wrong with the guy. How can you be so careless?

bikram

Bikram Vohra | December 13, 2014



The human race (that means you) does incredibly stupid things. A friend of mine is stuck in India because his passport has expired. You nitwit, didn’t you see the date? How do you travel without checking your passport? Very easily. Like him, there are thousands every day caught in their own ignorance.  We even lose the document.

Every time I read in the classifieds column that someone has lost his passport, I ask myself, what is wrong with the guy. How can you be so careless?

That’s the way we are. We leave handbags at airports, in the overhead cabins of the aircraft, even on the baggage carousel and if my research is anything to go by, in the excitement of reunions we leave bags on the trolley as we jolly off in the car.

I have done that and then gone back next morning to the police control room for Lost and Found with that sheepish ‘what an ass but I have to tell you this is an aberration’ expression on my face and the police don’t care because there are scores of us idiots every day and there are thousands of unclaimed bags stacked to the ceiling.

And then there are the recriminations, the family arguments, the accusations of whose fault it was. Thing is, Indians make bad travellers. First, we over load on luggage. Then we generally have no system for keeping out documents. Have you never seen people scrabbling for their tickets which they cannot find.

We don’t check the dates of our visas, there are scores of folks who will be looking hangdog at airports with invalid visas, especially one out of their three kids, a victim of daddy’s genius.NRIs are more susceptible in this matter and every few hours there is a case on ‘no go.’

We carry packages for ‘friends’ without ever checking what is inside them. That must rank as the most foolish placement of trust whatsoever. And then, when asked we blithely say we packed our own bags. You don’t even know what is inside that packet. We make friends with strangers whom we will never meet again while waiting for a flight and then ask them to keep an eye on our bags while we go to the toilet. Where did this instant faith come from…you don’t know them.

Another major Indian ‘hospitality’ gesture is to carry medicines for people. Without checking what the ingredients are. You arrive in the Gulf with codeine tablets (which are over the counter meds in India) and you can be arrested. Passengers munching poppy seeds can be held for carrying a narcotic substance.

A young man carrying a computer on behalf of his dad’s boss was discovered to have contraband in it at Mumbai.

It became a major story. The boss washed his hands of it the boy went to jail.

Let me tell you something real odd. Do you know how many people read 1745 hrs as 7.45 pm, not 5.45 pm  and 1945 hrs as 9.45 pm and not two hours prior. This is a fact and some airline schedules have made it even more complex by writing 0330pm. This is wrong. It is either 1530 hours or it is 3.30 pm without the zero at the start. Zero is only for fore-noon timings.

Is it any wonder that dozens of otherwise smart folks mess it up every day?

We lose that little boarding pass section that you are supposed to keep till the end of the flight in about five minutes after boarding. It has a life of its own and has nothing to do with our stupidity. However safe you keep it that square will vanish.

We check into a hotel and put all our valuables into the safe and then we forget the 4 digit code. It is a 4 digit code, that’s all and do you know that most of us put 1234 or just the same numbers repeated. Even then we forget. People put their birth dates and downstairs they have just given a copy of their passports. With birthdates. How much genius does anyone need to make the connection.

Before you read further think of the 10 most common things left on planes then go with the Skyscanner list and see what their research shows. 1.Books 18% 2. Cell phones: 9% 3. Magazines or newspapers: 8% 4. Clothing: 8% 5. Glasses or sunglasses: 8%  6. Headphones: 6%  7. Passports or other identification: 5% 8. Cameras: 3% 9. iPads: 3% 10. Food: 3%. You have a favourite that I missed out?

 

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