Thursday, March 5, 2015

Optimism prevails!

Commuting in Delhi was a tedious task before the Metro Rail came into service. Buses and autorickshaws were what one had to rely on in absence of a personal conveyance. Back then, I had enrolled in a summer training programme at a hospital in South Delhi. So every day, I used to commute from Greater Noida to South Delhi, switching buses and autos in two hours to make it to the destination in time.
On one particular day, my experiments ran till quite late in the evening. By the time, I was about to leave, the weather gave way and it started to rain. It was 7:30 p.m. already and I could not find a single auto or bus nearby. It had started to get dark and the ticking of the clock was raising my anxiety levels.  There was this other lady standing next to me as well who was also looking for an auto. Tall and elegantly dressed in a handwoven silk saree, she looked quite a damsel in distress amidst the pouring rains. Suddenly I saw an autorickshaw heading in my direction. I started waving at him emphatically to stop. He did stop but that lady approached him before I could and after a fair bit of negotiation, she hired the auto. I stood there in utter disappointment watching her get inside the autorickshaw. I decided to call my Dad to pick me up which meant that I would have to wait in the rain for another two hours.
While I was dialling the number, I heard someone call out “Hello”. I looked up and saw the lady peeping out from the auto. She was waving at me to come to her. I went there and she asked me where I needed to go.
“Greater Noida”, I said. She asked me to hop inside.
 I asked her,”Where are you headed to?”
She said she had to go to some place in East Delhi which was in a different direction from my destination. Assuming that sharing an auto with her would not make sense, I turned around. 
It was then she said, “Hop in. It is getting dark and getting another auto is almost impossible at the moment. I’ll get down somewhere in Noida at a bus-stop and you can ride home in this one."
  I was sceptic at first as she was a stranger but then considering the necessity of the moment, I got in. On the way, I learnt that she was a visiting professor at the medical institute. Finally when we were about to part ways at the bus station in Noida, she got down, asked the autorickshaw the fare to Greater Noida and paid him before I could say anything. I was taken aback by this and tried to return my share of fare to her. She did not accept it; instead with a calm smile on her face she said,”Someone helped me in a similar manner when I was a student and today was my opportunity to return the favour. Do the same when you can.” I could not say anything after that. We exchanged goodbyes and I left. 
That moment embarked me on a road to optimism and hope. The relief in my Mom’s eyes to see me reach home safely only added to the feeling and I realised that optimism can be found all around.
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