In the world of architecture, there are many big and famous architects but there are very few architects who are idolised by almost everyone in the fraternity and very few of them are usually alive. When the Bag met Charles Correa, he was one of them.
So the incident began on a cold, wintery evening at the Heathrow Airport. It was my first overseas trip ever… so I was observing with naivety on my face and curiosity in eyes. As per the standard rules of luck, a fiasco has to occur when it’s your first time.
This time, it was in the form of an overenthusiastic British immigration officer and his barrage of questions that caused the delay in reaching for the baggage collection. Lo and behold; one of our bags had found a new owner! First overseas family trip and missing luggage! Couldn’t think of it getting any worse… I guess the fate wants you to have new experiences and learn new things. That day we learned about the formalities that need to be completed to lodge a ‘luggage missing’ complaint.
Soon it became clear to us that someone had taken our luggage considering it to be his/her. I couldn’t understand how it could happen because as any cautious first timer we had put an A4 sized printout of my name, London address and the international phone number. Sometimes disasters defy logic I guess. So with nothing more left to do, we went home with heavy hearts and partially empty hands.
As the next morning came, we were just getting ready to go to our travel insurance company, our phone rang. On the other end was Mrs. Monika Correa. That didn’t ring much of a bell but when she started to explain (with an apologetic tone) that her husband, Mr. (Ar.) Charles Correa’s assistant had caused this goof-up. This great architect wasn’t keeping up well due to old age and during his rush to leave the airport his assistant caused this fiasco.
First Reaction?! We were speechless and in awe! Suddenly the disaster was feeling like serendipity. And somewhere in some corner, I felt a bit of anger at my bad luck. I mean, you don’t get to meet Charles Correa but somehow my bag had entered his house without any effort.
The next obvious task was to get back that traitor bag which had met my idol without me; and when it comes to idols, you don’t ask idols to deliver your bag (even if it is a mistake from their side). So we told Mrs. Correa that we will get it collected from their place. Now, this sort fandom is what costs you, as it did to us. The club they were staying at was an exclusive club with a shielded secrecy. So even our ‘Black Cab’ driver couldn’t find it. At the back of my mind, I had again felt a bit of annoyance; the bag had gotten inside some exclusive club!
After scouting mid-London, we finally found the place. We received the bag at the door itself and that’s how I got a great souvenir and a good story for my first London trip.
About the author:
Sayantan Gupta is a founder/ director of Square One, and is a avid traveler.