The Missing Car

As part of the preparations for NaSCon 03 on Saturday, I went to have a sign board made for our pavilion. The best place for this type of work is in the old bazaars of Islamabad’s twin city, Rawalpindi. The cost for most things is half of what you would have to pay in the capital and the people are sometimes more skilled than the designers with credentials, but the price you pay is braving the ultra-narrow streets, insane traffic and hordes of beggars and street vendors.

This part is especially old and looks like something out of an Indian underworld movie. I parked the car at a nice cosy place just outside a bakery and went on to find the craftsmen. The first one didn’t care much about what we wanted and suggested something that I imagined would look ugly at best. Then we went to the nice old man who printed our visiting cards. It took a while to get everything the way we wanted, but when we returned to the bakery, the Car was gone.

My first reaction was “Oh great, not again”. The car is worth many times more than my camera and whatever I had lost last week, but at least there was some hope of getting it back. David Copperfield was nowhere to be found so we asked the fruit seller if he had seen anything. To our relief, if that’s what you’d like to call it, he said it had been towed away to the nearby police station (illegal parking, though where else are you supposed to park in a place like that?).

The real amusement came when we went to pay the fine and collect the vehicle. Since my driving license was lost with the camera, it could have gotten messy, but hey, Sufyan was driving it wasn’t he? And he has a valid license. 😉

To our surprise, all the officer asked for was the Rs.200 fine. I paid it, considering it a parking fee, and drove back without showing any ID, driving license or registration. Amazing.