Saturday, November 2, 2013

All packets are intact!

Traveling has its share of pleasures and pains.  Packing and unpacking are indeed an integral part of the traveling saga.  Packing and unpacking woes leaves their scars on the trips and sometimes even beyond them. Missing suitcases, rerouted or late arriving baggage, broken handles, torn bags are all part of the traveler's worries.  Broken bottles, leaking creams and cracked souvenirs leave indelible marks on materials as well on the mind.  The relief one experiences when things are in order after unpacking at destination is sometimes seen to be believed.  This is all the more true when the journey is through three or four long flights and crossing many countries and airports.

There are funny instances too.  At the baggage receiving areas in many international airports warning signs are displayed: "Beware of similar looking baggage!".  Despite this warning passengers sometimes take out the wrong suitcases and realise this only after opening them at their hotels or homes.  When they make a quick trip back to the airport, they find another passenger confronted with a similar problem.  If it is a boy and girl suitcase swap, it may result in a marriage in true "Bollywood" style.  Afterwards they need not worry since it will be common suitcases thereafter.  Of course, they may not worry about suitcases at all as there would be many more things to worry about.

Recently I had to help pack a close relative's luggage items for a long trip to a far away land.  I was cautioned not to open a carton box and that it should go in the suitcase as it is.  Instructions were faithfully carried out and the carton box was loaded along with other items, many of them being glass ones.  When the phone call came after the person reached destination, the first thing I heard was that all the items were safe and just as they were before they were packed.  "All packets are intact!" was the first communication.  Other details of the journey followed only thereafter.

The problems involved in moving (shifting to a different house) is no different.  First is the problem of sorting out the existing items at home.  Even bigger problem is the one of discarding useless items.  In fact, the existence of some of the items at home dawns on us only when we see them at the time of shifting!  Life has been going on for several years without their use and yet it is difficult to discard them.  They are again packed and carefully taken to the new house only to keep them in the attic till the next move is made.  Even with all the care taken in packing and moving the items, there are always some parts broken which even the best "Fevicol" cannot bind.  This loss of goods due to breakage is universally accepted and many companies give a fixed or variable allowance called "breakage allowance" when employees move on transfer.

Modern living has introduced the services of "Packing and transporting agents" who take care of all the packing, transporting and unpacking at destination.  Some of them advertise that they are the "Second best packers" meaning that the Lord is the best packer ever in business.  They even exhibit a Pomegranate or Jack-fruit in their advertisements as a tribute to the best packer in business.  When shifting work is entrusted to these second best teams, one need not worry about shifting except the big bill and broken items.  They are not responsible for breakages as it is a natural by-product of shifting.

A close friend met with an accident and was admitted to a hospital for treating a fracture.  When I met him at  the hospital, his first request was to move the wrecked car to the garage of his house.  Not being familiar with automobiles I was at a loss to meet this request.  The car had been moved by the Police from the accident spot to the yard in front of the police station.  If the car was not moved immediately, there was the danger of many parts missing in a few days.  Anyone who has seen vehicles dumped in front of a police station knows this.  I suddenly remembered an advertisement by a "Packers and Movers" company that claimed "We move anything, anywhere, anytime".  When I called the company over phone, the person receiving the call said they do not do this kind of work.  I asked him as to why they claimed to move anything, anywhere, anytime if they could not move a wrecked car from police station to a garage.  The person at the other end said that he did not know about it and would ask his father who was the owner of the business.  I left my telephone number to call me back.  The call was returned in the evening and they agreed to do the job.  The father-son duo came in their Jeep and towed the wrecked car from the police station to the garage at the friend's house.  "I am not charging you anything, Sir.  Thank you for reading our advertisement and reminding us of its value", said he senior man.

While thinking of packing and forwarding, an old accountancy joke comes to mind.  Managing Director of a company was in the habit of charging all personal expenses also to the company's account.  His accountant being a paid employee had no alternative but to comply with the given instructions.  When the Managing Director's mother died, MD instructed that all the funeral expenses should also be charged to the company's account.  The Accountant queried as to what "Head of Account" he should debit the expenses.  MD thought for a while and nonchalantly replied - "Packing and Forwarding expenses".  Some wonderful accounting that was!             


  1. Lovely to read your post after a long time.As usual, a very good narration with a flavor of humor. Can we expect your posts more often?

  2. Excellent write up. The reader can not help feeling that he is living through the experiences narrated. I admire the father-son duo who are reminded of the value proposition of their advertisement by the author. Great work. Please keep it up.

  3. very well written.after a long time you seem to have found some time to write and it makes very interesting and funny reading.Keep up the writing.

  4. Sir these round the clock stories are wonderful. Thanks for keeping it ticking

  5. Though every one knows about the truth, it is the lucid style in which you have narrated is commendable. Moving the the wrecked car from the police station to the garage at the friend's house is very interesting.

    I look forward to see your mails, worth reading.

  6. That's a nice one. Plenty of humour. The ending is the icing on the cake.

  7. Sir,

    I was made to remember/ recollect my experience with a well known Packers & Movers and similar experiences I had encountered when I moved the house hold things from Delhi to Nellore.

    Really a nice piece and enjoyed the reading.

    Basava Raju K

  8. Nicely narrated. Interesting to read. I enjoyed.

    R Jagannathan

  9. You are always replete with wit Keshav!! It was nice to know you though the association was short & sweet.