This morning I was sitting in my car, waiting for the signal to turn green. Mumbai isn’t a place known to be particularly kind towards its regular travellers. But the city, howsoever fast and furious, has its own moments of subtle compassion!
Dull faced, handkerchief on my nose, trying to take care of the interfering cold, lost amidst the chaos in my mind, I sat praying that the traffic Gods show some mercy.
She came to my window and started begging for some money. Teen aged, loud make-up and “gutka” stained teeth.
I remained indifferent, looking away at nothing. It becomes easier with sunglasses and a handkerchief on your face. After sometime she knocked and asked me to roll down the window for once.
I did, and as I got ready to say “Aage badho” (move away), she said “Chehra kyun dhakaa hai, muskuro do”. (Why are you hiding your face? Can’t you smile at least?)
I looked at her, pulled my handkerchief down and smiled.
She smiled back, way more generously than I did.
I gave her some money and asked her not to take “gutka”.
She smiled and lied. “Main toh nahi khaati”. (I never have all those).
And she made me smile again, this time whole heartedly.
The signal turned green.
The FM radio inside the car played, “Tu na jaane aas paas hai khuda”.
(You don’t realise but God rests just around the corner)!