Well, the card was deactivated. But instead of returning my card, it was retained by the heartless ATM with a curt message to contact my branch. This wasn't at all expected. Adding insult to injury was the fact that a peeping top waiting outside the ATM room was up to his task, witnessing the spectacle through a narrow strip of plain glass in a door that was otherwise stained to clog vision. How thoughtful! I felt dwarfed and humiliated as I walked out. I wonder what tales the onlooker must have spun.
The ATM card wasn't exactly my first. It entered the world many years back when I was in Pune, a substitute when I had misplaced the original card (my first card!) and contacted the bank with my plight. I discovered the 'lost' card sedimented deep inside a drawer cluttered with junk only a few days later. But it was deactivated by then and therefore deservingly of no use to me anymore. I had proved unworthy of it.
Anyway, I remained loyal to the replacement card for all these years and there was never an unpleasant incident owing to it. All that changed today when the end finally came. It was ugly. It didn't have to be this way. I just wish the ATM would return me my beloved card and let me enshrine it.