Birthday cake, the famous ghewar sweet, mangoes, cricket bats, bike handles and even dumbbells. This assorted list is of the unusual things people forget behind in cabs — apart from the expected mobile phones, wallets and backpacks.
And of all cities, the country’s most forgetful in this respect is amchi Mumbai — which is unsurprising, since it’s constantly on the move. Trailing close behind is the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) followed by Lucknow and Kolkata.
These are some findings of the “2022 Uber Lost & Found Index”, which offers a snapshot of the items that are most frequently forgotten in cabs, the most forgotten cities as well as the days of the week and times of the year when Uber riders across 100 cities tend to be more forgetful.
For the car aggregator, this is serious business. It is a way of telling its customers that they have the option to trace and retrieve what they have lost by pressing a few buttons that can help them reach the driver.
Drawing a parallel with cities in the United States, the index finds that in the US Austin, the capital of Texas, leads, followed by Charlotte and Houston. But the list of unusual things that people leave behind in cabs in the US is way more bizarre than what Indians manage. Here’s a sample: grandma’s teeth, grass cutter, tree trimmer, underwear — and even caviar.
“We get that losing an item can be stressful, but when you Uber, you always have the option to trace so that you can attempt retrieving your belongings,” said Nitish Bhushan, director, Central Operations, Uber India, explaining the purpose of the index. “This annual survey is a fun and informative way of reminding our riders how easy it is to raise a retrieval request for a lost item in-app.”
In 2020, when Uber conducted a similar exercise globally, Mumbai had still been at the top slot for India. Delhi was less forgetful at number four, while Kolkata was at number two and Prayagraj at number three. While Prayagraj is no longer in the top slots, Lucknow has emerged as the new entrant.
There is also, it seems, a method to be forgetful. And, also the time when people tend to be most forgetful.
According to Uber, in 2022, afternoons are when riders seem to be most forgetful, particularly between 1 pm and 3 pm, when the maximum number of things are left behind.
Uber research also found that there seem to be “favourite days” for losing certain items. For instance, people are most likely to forget articles of clothing on Saturdays, and their laptops on stressful Wednesdays. They are more likely to forget their water bottles on Sundays and their headphones on Mondays (adding to the Monday blues) or on Fridays (when they are relaxed and their guard is down).
Among the more commonly forgotten items, phones, speakers/headphones, wallets and bags top the list in Uber cabs across India. These are followed by utility items such as groceries, thermos/water bottles and phone chargers.
Uber also traced the days where the maximum number of riders left their belongings behind. Turns out, the second half of March — including March 30 and 31, just when the financial year was coming to a close — proved to be the most forgetful period.