Sunday, January 27, 2013

The lady at the bus stop

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

It was hot & getting hotter.It was sultry .Though I was standing under the shade of a tree,sweat was trickling from my forehead.I was getting irritated.It was a Saturday afternoon.In the middle of April.I saw a woman standing nearby.She was an unknown person to me -one of the many, who stay in metros just like me who is unknown to her. She was carrying a baby in her arms.The baby was asleep.I looked at her.She smiled.She was there before me.I was waiting for the bus to go home.I had just arrived at the stop.I asked the lady,"How long have you been waiting ? " She replied ," Twenty minutes ." She was not wearing any wrist watch.By her looks,she couldn't afford one.

She was dressed in a polyester saree &  a blouse which matched the flowers in hers saree. She was wearing a mangalsutra & some glass bangles.She carried a rexin bag which hung from her right shoulder.I was wondering how could the baby sleep in such sultry weather & that too clinging to the mother's polyester saree ? But then ,maybe, it was used to all this heat, day in & day out.I started talking to the woman more casually.I asked her if the baby was her first child.She said that the baby was the second child.She had an elder son.I asked her why she was out in this heat, with her baby.She said ,"My elders son's name is wrongly recorded in Muncipal records.I had come to apply for correction."I asked her, if her work got over with her visit.She said, that this was her sixth visit & she guessed she may have to come again & again.In short ,she was unsure of the number of visits she may have to pay  to get the name corrected.I felt an empathy with her.I know how difficult, it is to get work done in any government office.We all feel harassed for no fault of ours.It is like, we have committed heinous crimes.I could easily afford to pay bribes to get my work speeded up  though it is  a crime to do so..She came from a strata of society where daily existence is a struggle.Hence ,it was all the more tedious  for  her .

I looked at my watch.Fifteen minutes had passed, since I had arrived at the bus stop.I needed to go home.My daughter was to arrive in the next fifteen minutes from school.There was no one at home to receive her.I decided to hail an auto rickshaw.I called ,the driver of an  auto rickshaw which was parked nearby.The auto rickshaw came & I stated my destination.I stated to the woman that I am going by the station road & can drop her on the way, if she needed.She nodded.I got into the auto rickshaw.She followed & sat next to me, with her baby.I told the auto wallah to stop on the way, so that the woman could get down.He nodded.

En route,she stopped the auto & got down with her baby in her arms.She had removed a tenner from her bag & was offering to me for the fare.I refused.She was insisting.I told the auto wallah to rush. I saw the woman smiling as she waved me off.I had taken her in, as she was having a baby & this was a green idea.Taking private transport is a bad choice.I was just converting that bad idea by taking another person along as there was space in the vehicle.Of course,I felt better offering a ride to some one who needed it more than me.Helping any  stranger makes us feel nice as we are yet, to have any expectations from them .I feel someone unknown will help me when I need it &  overwhelm me by kindness more than, I deserve !

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