Chance meeting

We are in a cab, making our way across the city of Bengaluru in India.

As a mother, I have reached ‘that’ stage, where I am not given a choice to opt for a window seat in any vehicle. I am sandwiched between my kids. It is a pleasant day, and we have rolled down the windows.My husband sits in the front, lost in thought, and I suspect, also trying to catch a few winks.

There is heavy traffic, and our progress is stilted. The kids play a game of word building.

After a while, the congestion eases, and we start moving.

All of a sudden, an autorickshaw pulls up alongside our cab. The auto driver waves wildly at our cab driver, and shouts out a loud greeting.

Our cab driver is pepped-up now. He recognizes an old friend. And for the next hundred meters, the two vehicles drive in perfect synchronization.

Image courtesy – Clipart Panda

A time during which the two men exchange pleasantries and catch-up on each others’ lives. Their grins are infectious, their excitement palpable.

Our cabbie sits up straighter, and looks recharged.

Soon, the time comes for the two friends to part ways. One takes a left, the other takes a right. They say their goodbyes.

Our journey continues.

This makes me think. We meet many people who travel with us on this journey called life, who share our time, space, emotions and memories.

For reasons unknown, we do not meet most of these people ever again; but sometimes we do bump into someone we know from our past.

Life pauses for a bit for us to rewind and remember, and then moves on, taking us towards new experiences and people.


Little hearts that beat

Just outside our condo, there runs a fairly long road. There is no taxi stand there, so people queue up on a first-come-first-hail basis.

It was peak-hour this morning, when I stood in line to hail a taxi. The line was fairly long, and all of us lifted our hands and craned our necks like hooded serpents, trying to speed things up, by hailing taxis for people ahead of us.

It was very hot, and rivulets of sweat poured down my face.Finally, I moved to first place. Yay! I hailed the next taxi and got in. I wished the taxi driver a good morning and he shouted out a cheery Hi!

We chatted about the weather, as the taxi weaved its way through heavy traffic, to my destination

On the small display screen in front of the cabbie, a slideshow was on, about the taxi company, promotion offers and the like. The last image on the screen was the image of a card, with a big red heart, obviously coloured by a child. It had a message that said – ‘Come home safe, Daddy.’

Image courtesy : Shutterstock

That kind of choked me up. I asked the cabbie if his children had made the card for him? He told me that all taxis from his company had this image on their slideshow.

This got me thinking, a simple card from your child, whose heart is filled with love for you and whose world revolves around you!

Everyday, millions of people drive, walk on construction sites, operate cranes, go down into mines, dive into the ocean, and thousands of other jobs – where safety and alertness are extremely important.

While safety measures and procedures are followed in most of these places, these men and women should take extra care, both for themselves and for the little hearts, who beat for their Dads and Moms – to come home safe and sound.

Will the Mummies return?

My sister and her family visited us during the December holidays and needless to say we had a lot of fun.  Our schedule was jam packed with visits to all the touristy spots.  One of those was a visit to the local theme park.

The day passed in a whirl of stomach-roiling rides, long, patient waits in various queues and, ticks on a crumpled map.  The kids proved to be never-ending fountains of energy, and we tried to cope with their enthusiasm.  Finally, at around 6.30 p.m, we were done with everything on the now, tattered map.  The kids pronounced themselves satisfied, and it was time to head home.

The men and children drove away in the family car, while the two mummies, my sister and I, decided to cab it home.  Bad decision! The taxi stand was in the basement of the theme park. When we reached the stand, the queue had about 100 people at least, and showed no signs of reducing any time soon.

One of the ushers asked us to continue walking in the parking lot, and head towards a hotel that also had its taxi stand in the basement, from where chances of getting a cab were higher.  We thought this was a sensible thing to do, and started walking away from the crowd and into a labyrinth of cars – greens, reds, greys and blacks. Cars that watched us silently, as we plodded across the huge parking lot.  Our feet hurt, and it was suffocatingly warm. We walked on and on, and at every turn, the arrow showing directions, only pointed further ahead.

Many more silent cars watched our progress. As we walked on, we also decided to call for a cab, just to ensure that we would not have to stand in line at another taxi stand! Though the signal was weak, I received a text message, giving me the number of the taxi.

Heartened now, we fastened our pace.  The taxi driver called to ask where we were.  We told him that we were walking towards the hotel’s basement parking.  He told us he would wait there for us.

When we finally reached the place, there was nobody there, except a door that said staircase to hotel.  We were stumped – to go up or stay where we were.  Just then, the taxi driver called us again. Surprisingly, we heard his voice loudly, and then realized that he was walking towards us.  We waved in glee and he waved back.  We had met! Hurray!

But our joy was short lived.  He came to us and said, “I can’t find my taxi.”

“Whaaaat?”, we asked.

He told us that he had parked it in the allocated place and come to look for us, and now he was unable to find it.

Sigh!  The three of us plodded across the parking lot, looking for his taxi, up and down, left and right. Blue, grey, green, red and black spectators, silently laughing at us, as we searched on and on.

We decided to go up one level and check. It was only then that the taxi driver realized that on his quest to find us, he had actually walked one level below.

And there it was! The coolest taxi in the world.  The taxi that finally took the mummies home.