the Internet charges are too steep here so I have to write it quickly, So apologies for some not-up-to-the-mark blogpost this time. (As if I was writing literary masterpieces earlier!)
I was in Chandigarh when I received the call from my Mom with the opening words, "Chandigarh main bhi rickshaw chala raha hai?". I couldn't say anything, I was just laughing. But she wasn't amused at all. She followed it up with "Achi bhat piti hai hamari". I dont know how to translate those words but a close-enough meaning is - "you have demeaned us to no extent". I wasn't surprised though; the blast was impending.
But her call was quite late in the evening, the string of calls started right in the morning. With every call I was faced with the dilemma - to pick or not to pick ... cuz I was in Roaming and my balance was low ! But I guess price of coming out as arrogant was higher that the price of the call, so I picked.
I was back in Delhi the next morning at 6:30 and I was on the job at 7:30. on other days, I would have earned handsomely if I had come that early but alas.... it was Sunday that day!
I was on my way to the garage, barely outside the Metro station, when I noticed a beautiful girl staring at me! If the matter was restricted to just staring, I might not have noticed... I look weird enough to be stared! But she was smiling too; that was startling! So I asked her, "do we know each other?" and she said, "I read the article about you in NBT". She introduced herself and when I introduced myself, she said, "I know"!!!!
Wherever I went - the garage, the metro station,Kamla Nagar, Girls Hostel, Stephens college gate, Gwyer Hall Canteen, Ande-walla ...... the article followed. If nothing else, I realized the readership of NBT yesterday!
But I was in no mood to go home that day, courtesy that candid talk with my mom yesterday. So I was desperately searching for a place to stay. My friend at Model town was out of station and my current garage wasn't as cozy as my previous one, so sleeping under the sky wasn't an option.
I once saw a "Rainbasera" (a place where destitutes can stay at nominal price) in Kamla Nagar but was utterly dissapointed to see a big lock on its gate. But from there I came to know about another one in Malkaganj. The information was right and in Kabir Basti, Malkaganj, I did find one.
Afte spotting my refuge, I was going back to my garage to park my rickshaw when I spotted a little boy walking beside me with a piece of paper. He said, "I am reading about you". I was able to make sense of what he was saying when looked at the paper-cutting with my photo. It was simply an awesome feeling. I asked the boy to sit in my rickshaw and read the story for me since I hadn't seen it myself. He read it for a while and then got off the rickshaw bidding adieu. Wow, if start of the day was bright, then the end of the day was probably brighter than Diwali!
The Experience of spending a night at "Raibasera" is a story in itself so I shall share that with you in a separate post.
but the next morning (ie today) I got a call from my mom again. She asked my location .... exact location (I am not sure if she could track me via GPS!).
"you are still pulling the rickshaw!"
"yes mom, that's what I do, I am sure u know it by now"
"why? couldn't you find any other job"
"if you are still not clear why I am doing this after reading that article, I don't know how to answer your why"
"us article se to tune hamara mazak banaya hai" (you have only humiliated us through that article)
I am totally disillusioned now. Facing a dilemma again - to return or not return to a place where people feel humiliated because of me.