“You are a life saviour”

Yesterday night was a different experience. The chief protagonist of the incident is the typical door locking mechanism in Eliza Ritchie Hall at the Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. The mechanism is, if you want to lock your room from outside, you have to rotate a knob while you are in, & if you want to keep it open, you have to rotate it further and eject the knob. In this mechanism, there is no possibility that you can lock yourself inside the room. Once the door is locked, it can be opened from outside using keys, if the door was in the locked position & can be opened without keys if the door was in open position. Now, if you miss your keys inside, and forgot to switch the knob to open position, a great trouble awaits you.

A similar trouble awaited one of the girls in Eliza Ritchie Hall. It was 12:15 in the night. I went to kitchen to see if there is anything left in the fridge. When I came out, I saw an anxious girl moving in the corridoor. She was wearing a funny dress. I can’t explain it, but trust me, it was funny. She came to me and said, “I have locked myself out of my room”. I knew exactly what could have happened, but remained quite to hear her, as it reduced some stress from her helpless face. I said, “What are you going to do now?” She didn’t know what she would do. Even if I put myself at that place, I could do nothing. It was raining outside, and she was wearing a funny dress. I didn’t know anyone else in the hall, because its almost vacant as summer school haven’t started yet. Neither she knew anyone. On the top of it, we didn’t have any communication device like phone or internet (my user ID is to be issued in a few days). What can she possibly do? I suggested her to pass time in the lounge watching TV. But that was a silly idea, I knew before I uttered that. Then she said, “Ok, you can have your sleep. I don’t know what to do. Good Night.”

Now, this is really painful, to pass the whole night in lounge wondering what to do once the sun rises. I couldn’t wish back a good night, as by no means she would have a good sleep (with a funny dress) in the lounge. Instead, I asked her name. She said Ora (or Oro) & she is doing a Bachelor of arts at Dalhousie University. I introduced myself & said, I am from India. She was the first person in Canada who didn’t ask to repeat my first name. She was in deep trouble & didn’t care what my name was, but she must have heard India properly.

I suggested to search the notice board, maybe we could find some useful information. We went there and found it well decorated with scraps like, “Rights and duties of Eliza Ritchies”, “Welcome to Eliza Ritchie”. At one random location, there was a scrap which had emergency contacts written on it. What do we do even if we have the contacts, we don’t have any communication device. “Wait a minute”, Ora said, “There is a coin operated phone here”. Obviously, she didn’t come out to the kitchen with coins in her hand (I doubt she haad pockets in her dress).

*The damn phone is not going to work. But, there were no alternatives. I went to my room and checked if I had sufficient coins. I came back, we found out that there was just one combination to make 25cents (2X10 + 1X5), which meant she can call just one number. There were five categories on the scrap, Tiger Patrol, Emergency, Casino Taxi, Yellow Cab and Distress Line. Which number was the best bet? There was one number common in Tiger Patrol and Emergency. I said, “This is the safest bet, try this”.

She was pretty scared to use the machine as she may loose my money for nothing. I went to the machine, followed the instructions, inserted the coins and dialled 902-494-6400. Damn, the machine didn’t work. We didn’t have anything left to try once again. I was left with no option other than shaking and pressing some random keys on the device till I pressed a big cylindrical key marked with a dollar sign. We heard coins dropping into something. I searched for an outlet and found one. There weren’t 3 coins, instead there were 4. Two 10 cents, one 5 cent and one 25 cent. This 25 cent coin was not mine and must have come out due to someone else’s unsuccessful attempt.

“Lets try one more time”. I inserted the 25 cent coin and followed the instructions again. It worked! It worked this time!! I said, “You have just one minute to explain. Go ahead.” She explained the incident to the Tiger Patrol/Emergency. They told that they will be arriving in a few minutes. She gave me a lot of thanks and started waiting for the rescue people to arrive. I went to my room thinking they may take a lot of time to arrive.

It was hardly a minute, I heard footsteps of two people walking across the corridoor. I don’t know how they travel, but that was really quick. This made me realize, even on an alien land, somebody is there to rescue when you are in deep shit.

They had a master key. They opened Ora’s room and returned. I went to Ora’s room to double check if her room was successfully opened. Yes, it was. And her room was much more arranged and neat & clean than mine. Also, her internet user ID was created. While I was leaving, she summarized the whole event into just one sentence. “You are a life saviour.” It felt great to be a messiah to some one. :P

This incident had two good things for me. Firstly, she will talk to everyone and say, “An Indian helped me out”. And secondly, till my internet user ID is issued, I shall use her to get access. :)

* This reminded me of toronto airport, where I missed my flight. I had to tell this to my professor, else he would return from the Halifax airport after searching me in the previous flight. I didn’t have coins, I didn’t know how to go about the telephone machine. I collected some coins by buying the cheapest stuff in a nearby shop. And the damn thing didn’t work. I don’t know how to time the coins, but I didn’t wish to waste some more dollars into the device. Then I went to a coin operated internet kiosk which ate two dollars for 10 minutes. That was enough time. I chatted with my friends, wrote the email to professor that I shall be arriving late, and when it was about one minute remaining, I thought why don’t I make copies and send it home and my friends as well, to remain updated. So, I pressed CTRL-C. The whole email was erased, and was replaced with just a “C”. The control key wasn’t working. The content couldn’t be undo-ed (CTRL-Z) as the control key didn’t work. The machine wished to eat more money. I poured two more dollars and things went well after that.

Comments (4)

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SomadityaMay 8th, 2009 at 4:21 pm

great bro….

Niharika RoyMay 8th, 2009 at 8:54 pm

adventurous

ujjwalMay 10th, 2009 at 10:40 am

thanks :)

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