Colosseum in Rome

“Non Preoccuparti Signora” and Other Joys of Losing A Passport!

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Soumya

It was the summer of 2012 and the husband and I were on a two-week trip to Italy. We were almost done and Venice was our last stop. I was already feeling sad about going back. Arches, columns, and mosaics were almost family now. Pizza marinara was slowly trying to grow on me. And Venetian gondolas were beckoning me like never before. Was there any possible way to extend this vacation? Well, it did not seem like there was. At least not then!

Sunkissed, enchanted, and hungry for more we alighted in Venice, our last stop, from an early morning train at Venezia Mestre. I was thrilled to have finally made it to “The City of Love”.

We purchased city passes for Venice, got bites to eat, made quick trips to the loo, and boarded a bus to the city center. We got down at the city center and started walking towards our hotel when I had a sudden urge to check on our passports in my backpack. It was almost as if I could sense that something was amiss. A shiver ran down my spine when I could not locate my passport holder in its usual spot and then nowhere in our luggage. The passport holder was gone along with our passports, a couple of credit cards and some cash and I had no clue how and where!

The next couple of hours were filled with extreme frenzy and elevated stress levels. We rushed back to the railway station, checked all the spots that we had been to including the toilets but could find nothing or no one who had seen two orphaned Indian passports. We called numerous people across the world but nobody had a clue on how to help passport-losers in Italy until a friend in Kuwait mentioned that we should get short-term validity passports from the Indian embassy in Italy.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I still could not believe that I would never see my passports again. Grudgingly, I dragged myself to the nearest police station and filed a complaint. “Non preoccuparti signora!” (“Don’t worry madam!”) the policeman reassured me with a highly preoccupied expression on his face and that sealed the fate of my passport. I lost all hope of seeing it ever again.

We rushed back to Milan to queue up at the Indian embassy where we were issued with handwritten passports that were valid for a year. But then came the catch. We could use these passports only to fly back to India but not to Kuwait, where we worked because they did not have our Kuwait visas. Frantic calls ensued again until, finally, we learned that we would have to wait longer in Italy until new visas were issued.

I am not sure what exactly I felt at that point in time. Was it frustration at being put through bureaucratic delays, once again? Was it dejection at not being able to go back home? Or was it happiness at the prospect of seeing more of this beautiful country? I think happiness overpowered the other two before I even got a chance to ruminate.

I was back in Rome before I knew it, eager to explore again. We lived in Rome for another week and explored some of the finest eating places there. I tried more gelato, cooked in my Roman apartment, visited the Etruscans in Tarquinia, and tripped to Parco de Mostri in Bomarzo. I cherished every bit of the bonus holiday while paying homage to my lost passport that had caused it all!

Sometimes happiness is in losing. Sometimes happiness is about letting go. Sometimes happiness is about throwing away your inhibitions and taking a deep plunge. And sometimes happiness is just about LIVING, wherever you are.

Spiral staircase at the Vatican
The spiral staircase of Vatican

Soumya is an acclaimed travel writer who has traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 8 while pursuing her passion for history and culture. Her writings have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. She loves exploring world heritage sites and has a deep affinity for everything ancient, especially the lost civilizations of Mesoamerica!

5 thoughts on ““Non Preoccuparti Signora” and Other Joys of Losing A Passport!

  1. I was smiling as I was reading your conclusive lines “..Sometimes happiness is in losing. Sometimes happiness is about letting go…” and it is so true. I can totally imagine how scary it would have been to find all important things like passports and credit cards gone and the line of activities that followed there after! The stress would have been so overpowering. At the same time, its amazing how you made the best of the extra time you got. As they say, sometimes, be careful what you wish for, it might just come true as in here, where you did not want to leave Italy as yet!

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