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Hey, is this your passport?

Bikram Vohra (Between the Lines)
Filed on November 9, 2019 | Last updated on November 9, 2019 at 10.09 pm

We lose that little boarding pass section that you are supposed to keep until the end of the flight in about five minutes after boarding.

The human race (that means you) does incredibly stupid things. A friend of mine is currently stuck in India because his passport has expired.

His residence visa is alive but he cannot leave Mumbai until he gets a new one. And since the old one was issued in Dubai he is not finding it easy to get one in Mumbai because he is an NRI (non-resident Indian). And advice that he should come here on a visit visa is not sound because you have to be a resident to renew your visa at the Consulate so it is a kind of catch-22. He called me to ask what he should do and I had no advice to give.

So, like a good friend I admonished him.

You nitwit, didn't you see the date? How do you travel without checking your passport? I mean, how can you be so dumb?

So easy in hindsight to be critical.

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 into the car, journey done.

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, I am usually smart' 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.

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. So, either you leave on bawling kid back or everyone goes home till you work it out.

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 at check-in we lie blatantly and 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.

Let me tell you something real odd. Do you know how many people read 1745 hrs as 7.45pm, not 5.45pm, and 1945 hrs as 9.45pm 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 3.30pm without the zero at the start. Zero is only for forenoon 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 until 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. And it is a common sight pre-boarding to see some group desperately hunting for a boarding pass gone absent.

We check into a hotel and put all our valuables into the safe and then we forget the four-digit code. It is a four-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.

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.

Books, 18 per cent; cell phones, 9 per cent; magazines or newspapers, 8 per cent, clothing, 8 per cent; glasses or sunglasses, 8 per cent; headphones, 6 per cent; passports or other identification, 5 per cent; cameras, 3 per cent; iPads, 3 per cent; and food, 3 per cent.

You have a favourite that I missed out?

-bikram@khaleejtimes.com

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