48 hours since my bombastic entry into Greece. My first armed robbery (armed because they stole my valuables from literally under my arm). Hundreds of messages from friends and family wanting to know how I am doing. How am I? I am okay. Trying to cope after coming dangerously close to having to sell a kidney. I feel 10 times heavier. I have splitting headaches and nightmares. When bad news comes in little installments over a period of time (like an impending breakup or obesity), one gets more time to prepare. But when the same dose of bad news happens in 60 seconds leaving you almost bankrupt, the mind does not know how to respond. It was traumatic to take another metro after that.
But then, there are many good things that happened after that. The Indian embassy gave me a temporary passport in 2 hours. I met Sara, a fellow traveler from Singapore. Together, we did some sightseeing in Athens and hiking in a nearby island. Disaster was about to strike again when while hiking, we were chased byan angry donkey and had to run downhill for our lives after huffing and puffing and hiking for 40 minutes. We never made it to the top again, the donkey blocked the trail. Robbed by Greek thieves and then death by a donkey? There would be no dignity for me after that.
Now the big question that was plaguing me was, should I or should I not go to Malta next? And the even bigger question. Will they or won't they allow me to take a plane to Malta on a handwritten, temporary passport? I decided to leave it to my fate. What saved me is that they did not steal my German residence card. That would have jeopardized my entry even to Germany as my new passport has no visa. Between stealing a passport and stealing a residence card, they somehow cushioned my loss by stealing the passport.
The people at the airport were a little intrigued by a new passport with no stamps. I decided to shut my mouth until being questioned. A handwritten passport could have been a problem. But I boarded the 6 am flight. When the security people at the airport in Malta wanted to check my passport again, my heart stopped. They could ask me to return. They did not. They said, "Oh, you have a new passport? No problem, the residence card is good enough."
All this seemed to have happened a lifetime ago. Greece and Malta later, I came back to Germany, applied for a new passport, obtained one, and flew eastward ho to Kolkata for a few weeks. The mangoes and litchis have been cushioning my sense of loss so far.