The Man from Madras Musings had driven up for a meeting at one of the better class of hotels in the city. He was in a hurry and having handed over his keys to one of the valets in attendance, took the token and rushed away to his rendezvous. MMM returned an hour later and handed back his token at the counter to a harassed looking valet who appeared to be the only person on duty. The man duly set off and MMM waited, spending his time on watching people come and go. He was quite used to a long wait. Cars of the kind that MMM uses are not parked under the portico of the hotel but somewhere far below in its underbelly from where it takes quite a while to retrieve them.

Suddenly there was a hush even as an expensive vehicle rolled up. MMM too gazed at the car and remained gazing long enough to overlook an obsequious presence by his side. The man appeared to be entreating MMM to do something and so MMM, rather reluctantly turned his gaze towards him and paid attention. Would, Sir, not get into his car, asked the scraping and bowing minion. MMM looked around and could not see his car anywhere in sight. He said as much to the fawning valet who looked ready to prostrate before MMM. Surely Sir was joking, said the man, for was this not Sir’s car? MMM blinked at the changeling that was standing in place of his more humble steed. He assured the man that this was not so and demanded to see the token that he MMM, handed over to the him, the valet. This was duly produced and sure enough there was the number of the swanky car that stood at the portico.

MMM was tempted for a moment but his conscience advised him against it. He could clearly see that this was a case of mixed up tokens and the hotel would have hell to pay if the rightful owner of the expensive vehicle found it gone with the wind. And no doubt MMM too would have hell to pay. He therefore explained as much to the valet who, rather disbelievingly, launched an investigation and found much to his consternation that MMM was correct after all. MMM’s car was driven up after a long wait and when MMM got in, he noticed that nobody took note, not even the valet, a reasonable tip notwithstanding. The car makes the man.