Do you believe in the adage ‘every cloud has a silver lining?’
if the answer is yes, then perhaps you can relate to the story what I’m about to narrate about. Never know, you might be tempted to share similar experiences, if any.
So, here was I, all excited to visit a beautiful soul, who’d requested me to collect a book of wisdom from her clinic. Rendezvous with a beauty, and the book, truly a double whammy.
So, we chatted over an hour, even as she kept attending to few patients. During this time, I was also touched by the plight of two extremely cute kids. I left the place with my heart filled with joy and a wee bit of sorrow. Guess, the ‘good’ evening is over. Time to head home and watch some poor cricket. One problem though, it’s raining heavily, and how will I get an auto rickshaw?
7.30 PM. I walked few minutes then stood under the shade of the metro bridge, no need to pull out my 15-year-old Swiss Air umbrella. For a change, I’ll be patient and wait for the auto rickshaw. 10 minutes pass by, I find no rickshaw. 10 minutes later, I find a few but all refuse to go to Marol, an area notorious for its clogged streets. Soon, the clock touches 8.15 pm, and I think may be, I should take a bus, but I’m feeling too lazy to walk back towards the clinic, and I’ll have to open my umbrella there. Rather, I wait here for another ten minutes and try my luck.
Five minutes later, I bump into, not an rickshaw but a stranger who’ comes up to me and says, “Trust me, you won’t find any auto rick shaw. I haven’t been able to find an auto from Chakala, and in an likelihood, I will walk all the way home”
Stunned, I look at her and wonder, do I know her? I gaze upon her. She’s slim, fair, wearing a salwar kameez, all traits of a typical middle class girl. Above all, she has a wonderful smile. But why is this stranger talking to me?
I ask her, “Where do you stay?
She replies, “Sakinaka. I, too, waited a while to get an auto but then decided to walk home”
For those uninitiated, on an average bright day, it would take about 15-minutes via bus/auto to travel to Sakinaka, whereas walking (at average speed) would take minimum 30 minutes Now, considering it’s raining heavily, it would take her a further 15 minutes to reach home. My area falls before Sakina, and unlike her, I’m not coming from Chakala. If this skinny girl doesn’t mind walking home, what the hell am I doing wasting my time here, standing and stranded for the past forty five minutes. Phew, time to walk.
So, I start to walk and realize that that girl is already 40-50 steps ahead of me, I need to catch up with her. I hurry up, walking briskly, finally we’re walking side by side. I tell her that may be it is best that I walk home too. She smiles, but then says nothing.
Moments later, our lines blurred and the next thing I see is that she’s notched ahead of me by few meters.
The cars lights are flashing from both sides, hurting me eyes, thereby slowing me in my ranks, and in the process, the girl’s vanished from my sight. Phew, nevertheless, I must walk home. So, I walk for five minutes and then receive another surprise. Is it her? Shes’ walking towards me.
“I was shouting from the distance, but you didn’t hear me. I was telling you to go back. The cars are splashing water all over me, so I decided to switch to the other side, ” she thundered.
Oh, I see but I felt too lazy to turn all over again. So, I continue in my path only to realize that she was right. The passing rubbers splashed water over my jeans. Time for a volte-face. But that wouldn’t enable me to catch her. Ah-ah! Short cut. Why not just climb over the huge divider.
In few seconds, I’m on the other side of the road. As my feet land on the ground, she’s right next to me.
“Oh, smart. You took the short cut, ” she sighed.
“Yes, I did. Having long legs pays off, ” my reply that leaves her grinning.
So, we’re walking together. Actually, its not together but she’s leading.
“Be careful, the surface, it’s bit uneven here, ” she cautioned.
I’m thinking to myself, I’m a man and much elder to her. Ideally, shouldn’t I be leading this girl?
Ah, the true spirit of a Mumbaikar. Irrespective of gender, caste or greed, people here don’t shy away from helping each other in crisis. Not that I needed her to help me, but I was beginning to enjoy the moment. So, let’s flow with destiny.
I try to converse with her, but she’s not responding. It’s then that I gaze on her cell phone. I can see something green on the screen.
“Oh, are you playing a game or something while walking in this heavy rain?”
“No. I’m chatting,” she replied!
It’s raining, she’s holding an umbrella in one hand, and using the other to not just hold her phone, but also chat. Wow, that’s some multitasking.
I break into laughter, and say, “You’re an adventurous girl. Never came across one like you before” She’s smiling again.
Sadly, our brief moment had to end here. I’ve reached Marol Naka, and have to take a left. I thank her for making this brief walk memorable.
Oh, just one last thing. “What’s your name girl?”
“Thank You so much Sadhna. Hope you reach home safely.”
Phew. Why did this have to end? Shouldn’t I’ve been brave enough and asked her for a number?
Well, now I’m left with these questions, and this song in my mind,
“Ik ladki bhigi bhagi si,
Soti raaton main jagi si
Mili ik ajnabi se
Koyi aage na piche
Tum hi kaho koi baat hai, HMMM!
Every cloud does have a silver lining. Hope we meet again stranger, sorry Sadhna!