Lessons from a Parking Ticket


"Do you realise who I AM?"

It was a fun Saturday — the afternoon of our much-awaited family day out spent at the cinema.

The husband and Sid munched on popcorn trying hard to encipher the storyline while Little Princess and I played a game of catch. Since the only occupants inside the plush darkened interiors were just another couple, we were a welcome treat to the bored couple.

Luckily, the movie was the husband’s choice so he took it upon himself to enlighten us on its positive aspects. The positivity came in handy for post lunch at a restaurant that promised an authentic Delhi cuisine but served us limp bread, bland curry and rubbery kebabs — we were still a happy family.

Just to ensure a better end to our day, I suggested visiting a friend’s home.

We reached our destination and even found a parking spot without much ado. While the husband parked, I made a virtual parking payment.

Zone entry — Check.

Message confirmation receipt — Check.

We were good to go for a full hour.

At the friend’s place, I ensured that the phone sat beside me so that I would not miss out on the reminder SMS to make an extension on the ticket.

It is not in my nature to boast, but I try to ensure that any job I undertake is done to the best of my ability. Or so I thought until we caught sight of a parking ticket slapped on the windscreen of our car.

download (3)

We checked the message and the confirmation. A closer scrutiny of the numbers revealed that there sure was an error —the last digit of the car’s number plate typed in was incorrect.

As we weaved our way back through the traffic, I stared ahead annoyed at my oversight.

My oversight had hurt our pocket, but his sneer on catching me in this precarious position (that was usually his) was not lost on me. It was my turn to eat humble pie.


When the real world is robbed of inspiration, we can always plunge into the virtual world that is in overabundance with happy toddlers and sunsets along with cheery inspirational thoughts that come free with ‘Good Morning’ messages.

Freezing smartphones and running out of phone memory have not deterred Indians  with cheery ‘Good Morning’ messages fired off nineteen to the dozen, driving WhatsApp to near exhaustion and leaving Google researchers at Silicon Valley baffled.

Being an inactive member in many family and friends’ groups, it only took a single click to be hit by a sea of cheery messages and waves of inspiration for my not-so-happy mind to assimilate.

One message from a friend caught my attention. She explained that for every negative thought, we just need to look around us and think of five positive ones.

To start with, I look up at the husband who is still beaming at his ‘we all make mistakes’ remark — but at least he was still smiling.

I look around me and see my family tired and happy after an enjoyable day and feel the first warmth of gratefulness fill my insides.

There was so much to be thankful for.

While I made a mental note to take heed of my oversight and take care to avoid another fine in the future, I use my new-found inspiration to ensure a happy end to our day out.

I wonder if researchers at Silicon Valley too had used inspiration from the sea of cheery Good Morning messages to come up with the Files Go application that that is capable of weeding out ‘good-morning messages’ and has cleared up more than 1 gigabyte of data per user on an average.


This is an extract from my article in the Off the Cuff section of the Gulf News. Click here for the full article.


21 responses »

  1. Not many are inspired to write a humorous post after being on the paying side of an otherwise fine day, Pranitha. I must say the Good Morning messages do play their role well into the evening. The pics are well parked in the post to add their sparkle to a FIne Post… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Absolutely, Sunith. I guess I was left with little choice other than seeing the bright side after my folly. Lets just say that the tsunami of Good Morning messages that my poor phone is bombarded with at least for the first time cheered up an evening.
      Thank you, Sunith.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, fines are never fun. But while they aren’t fun, they’re also not the worst thing in the world. I wrote about my experience of getting my first-ever speeding ticket about a year ago, and it was definitely easier to see a bit of humor in the situation… after the fact. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I remember reading about it. You are right, it is definitely easy to see humor AFTER the blunder has been committed. I guess we are left with little choice other than paying up and then pretend to be cheerful and believe that ‘everything happens for a reason, and a good one’ 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I should definitely try out the Files Go application. I’m definitely guilty of turning off auto-download on WhatsApp and being inactive in several groups. Sometimes an oversight happens on our part. Though beating ourselves about it won’t change a thing, that still doesn’t stop us from doing exactly that. Been there, done that. (Not the parking ticket. Just stuff in general. Vandi ondayitt vende parking ticket kittaan. 😂)


  4. Accidently got sent before I was done! “every negative thought, we just need to look around us and think of five positive ones.” That’s some great advice. I’m definitely going to try that one out.


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