With heavy heart and swift steps, I clutched on to my half sandwich rushing to the door of my car. I forgot my keys. Arrgh. I am really late today. Well, what’s new?
“Why is there so much traffic all the time? Why do we have to go office every day?” I muttered as I changed the channel on the radio, which by the way, was playing “Hafte Mein Chaar Shanivaar Hone Chahiye”!
“Why do we have more red lights than green lights?” I asked to no one in the car as I screeched on to the brake.
While mentally calculating the estimated time by which I’ll reach office, I looked around.
A little girl in blue uniform, black ribbons and yellow bag was hopping towards the school. “It’s a Monday, how can you be jumping around?” She clutched her mum’s hand as she crossed the road. They had just gotten off the DTC bus. Her mother was wearing a green saree with red bangles. She seemed much happier. What could possibly make both of them so glad in this heat? Is it the thought of her daughter walking towards a brighter future? Is it the feeling of her daughter fulfilling her own broken dreams? What could be their story?
Before I could think any further, a black Audi right behind my car startled me with its incessant honking. “Wow, just because you are in an Audi, you’d honk that bad? Let me over take you.” Duh.
I tried but we both stood still as the lights turned red, yet again. I looked on to my left at the rich, arrogant kid. He wasn’t cute enough. So I looked on to my right. A little boy in yellowed white shirt waved at me. He knows me now. My eyes wavered far beyond him to his home under the flyover. There were three mattresses stacked up to the wall, empty utensils on the mud stove waiting for the woods and two plastic containers half filled with water. I looked back at him. What if he was meant to live in a plush house of Vasant Vihar? What if, this car on my left, was meant to be his? Maybe, his parents are still waiting for him. Or maybe, this is exactly where he belongs to. What could be his story?
My thirty seconds of fantasy weaving were interrupted by the lights gone green. I moved on; with my thoughts and my life. But a little tingling feeling of discomfort was coming up. I distracted myself by hastily pressing the radio buttons. “Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, yahaan kal kya ho kisne jaana” I smiled to myself.
A mid forty something man was standing on a ‘Cream Bell’ stall. He was dripping in sweat. His eyes were not just tired, they seemed hopeless. His chin rested on the palm of his hand as he looked around with utter indifference. It was really a hot day. It was so ironic to see him sweating on an ice-cream stall. Did he come to this city to sell ice-creams? Certainly not! Were his dreams shattered by the reality of small hearts in this big city? Maybe, he wants to give up and go back to his home. But does he even have the money to do that? Or maybe, he wants to stay. He wants to stay because he doesn’t really care much now. Or does his heart still carry a ray of hope to change his life? Who knows! What could be his story?
The traffic moved at a snail’s pace. I spotted a girl waiting at the bus stop. She pushed her umbrella back into her bag as she tied her hair in a bun. She had earphones plugged in and possibly a beautiful smile too. She didn’t seem happy though. Now, I don’t know if that was a Monday grumpy face, or perhaps, something more. I have a way to read people; even strangers for that matter.
There are deep scars and beautiful stories in every person. Their eyes speak thousand of unsaid words. I don’t know if I will ever get to know their story. I might not as well see them again ever. But peeking out of the window gives me a new perspective every time- A little acknowledgement to their existence, a little introspection in my own heart and the realization that my petty problems are so meaningless. The world is filled with such stories if only we dare to see them.