BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: Wishing You all Fellow Bloggers a traffickest New Year Ahead.
The delayed flight ST470 had landed at Amausi Airport of Lucknow 10 hours after its scheduled time. I was not expecting my car with driver outside, waiting for me. I’d to use public transport.
I had caught the bus at India’s most convenient bus station near Alambagh in Lucknow from where state’s buses are operated. Luckily, a ready-to-go bus was there and I boarded the bus, now I was desperately waiting for the bus to move on towards Kanpur.
It was February 14, a bright day with breeze. While waiting for the bus to move, I gawked at starry-eyed girls in tight dresses, who cuddled and kisses their boyfriends and sauntered into gift shops. Overnight dozens of florist had opened a make-shift bouquet shops, red roses were the main attraction, whereas, other designer flowers were also available at unbelievable price.
There were plenty of signs and advertisements, strongly suggesting that expensive gifts, chocolates, perfumes, jewellery, etc. were the best form of expressing love and the assured way to woo a woman. Then, with a jerk, the journey from Lucknow to Kanpur started and I lost myself amidst the co-passengers inside, and yellow fields of mustard outside. I noticed that every single person sitting in was entangled in his/her own thoughts, and unlike them I was thoughtless but observant.
The bus broke down midway.
There was morbid silence as we passengers heard the death snarl of the engine that the 60 years old driver vainly attempted to coax to life. My immediate neighbour passenger was Ali, an ex-wrestler who retained his massive girth and with whom I had judiciously made friends by offering him a cigarette. Then there was Gopinath, a small-town farmer, Pappu, a factory worker, and some other people.
In the front seat, sat Tai, as we called her, a child bride, with a baby, her firstborn in her arms.
Tai wore a cheap nylon saree and clutched her tattered ‘Jhola’ as it is called and we tried our best to keep her comfortable. Pappu offered her his towel so that her baby was protected. Gopinath dug into his bag and offered an orange and I offered the baby a small chocolate and Ali, he just stood aroused, very massive but helpless.
A strange bond had developed between us as I passed around my water bottle and we exchanged our life stories.
Ali had retired from wrestling a couple of decades back, had married and settled down. He sold cement, bricks and sand and hoped construction would pick up in his village. Pappu was taking his voluntary retirement from the company where he was working and planned to marry his daughters off with the money; Gopinath hoped for a good harvest to repay his debts… Tai said that her husband was a clerk in a small firm. She added that she was sure her husband would be waiting to receive her at the last stop in Kanpur.
I revealed that I was an exporter. “What?” they asked. “I sell Indian Products to other countries.” Even Tai momentarily stopped feeding her baby as she squinted into the sun to look at this exporter.
At last, the bus stopped. We were sad that we would soon part and perhaps never meet again. I was wondering about what Tai would do, there was no sign of her husband.
Then there was a sudden shout as her husband, a thin lad, came rushing in and I watched as they held each other by their hands.
The husband had missed work (and foregone his day’s wages) and was waiting since morning for her. He had not eaten anything but drank water from the public tap. ‘What! You have not eaten?’ admonished Tai. They sat down on the dusty platform and she pulled out Roti and Dal, the simple staple food for millions Indians, from the tiffin box. They fed each other, laughing and staring at each other, content with what they had.
There was probably more love in the Dal-Roti than in all the jumbo heart-shaped, Swiss chocolate boxes. So now, tell me how to woo a woman and what is the best Valentine gift? Is it expensive gift or giving a woman your whole self, mind, soul and body ?
“Saab. . . Chaliye..!” my driver was behind me. I opened the car’s door and slid inside. Tai and her man were looking at me strangely, Honda CRV had made me alien. I waved my hand, in return they looked at each other, then waved back. Car zoomed toward my home but this lump in my throat refused to go down and perhaps it was the dry wind coming through the car’s window that made my eyes water.
…shabab khan blog
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