In a world where heartfelt encounters are a rare thing, crossing paths with a genuine human in the right place at the right time is even rarer. But sometimes, our wavering faith in good gets restored unexpectedly and we continue to believe.
How many times a stranger or may be a not-so-familiar person has made your day? Would you remember any? May be not, at least not that readily. That’s because in the world we live in, we don’t pause and acknowledge such moments at a level that they find a place in our memories forever or stay for long enough.
I don’t know about you but I can recollect a list of such experiences, they may not have been dramatic gestures, but that doesn’t make them any less gratitude inspiring.
A hard-working catering guy at your office cafeteria greeting you with “hello, how are you doing today? on a gloomy day at work, a long forgotten mentee sending you an email, thanking you for the words of encouragement that you shared years ago, which made him go after his dreams, someone who you just talked to, over a pot of coffee, tells you that you have a vibe of a seasoned friend, and the list isn’t even close to a finish.
Each such moment fills our heart with pure joy that many finer things in life fail to render. Tell me if I am wrong!
So when I sat down to write this week’s post for you, I thought to myself, while I always share my trips’ details with you, why not tell you about something more than just the locations, why not share with you the trove of experiences that I collect on the way, the experiences I travel for.
So, here it is…
You know, I always try my best to avoid traveling in a jiffy, but then even I am not perfect, so I often end up boarding my rides at the very last moment. I never had to run after a bus or a train, still I am guilty of almost missing my transportation, more than I’d like to admit (hope my dad doesn’t read this post!).
This ensued when I had to catch a bus from Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi to Himachal (for those who aren’t from around, Majnu Ka Tilla is a Colony in North Delhi).The bus was leaving the stop at 9:30pm, and the itinerary had it mentioned in bold – “The bus wouldn’t wait for anyone after 9:30pm.” Now in normal scenarios, I wouldn’t have bothered much about the disclaimer, but basis a few recent accounts of people on how buses these days don’t wait for anyone, something inside me said it might not be a bluff!
The bus stand was at a 30 min distance from my place, leaving an hour earlier seemed like a reasonable idea. I zipped up my backpack and booked a cab at 8:15pm through Ola, more than an hour before the departure time, just in case if the reality of the traffic scene hits me on the road, and received a call from the driver within 5 mins of booking.
Tell you, free will is an amazing thing to have, but sometimes, just sometimes, you don’t like some people enjoying that luxury, specially not the cab drivers!
That night, three of my bookings got canceled. The drivers would call, ask for the destination, would say they were coming, except that they wouldn’t.
It was 8:50pm and I was still waiting to be picked up.
The apprehension about the trip getting canceled had started to creep up on me now.
Finally at 9:00pm, the 4th cab arrived. Though I only had 30 mins left, I was still sanguine about making the trip happen.
I had already locked my front door and was standing outside of my apartment with my bag on my shoulder, my eyes earnestly glued to the road, and legs pacing back and forth like a caged animal.
As soon as I received the call from the driver, I ran downstairs.
It was 9:09pm!
If disappointment had a face, it would look just like my driver’s. Not that he was horrid looking or something, but the moment I shared the location with him, he made a face that had “ Really! Couldn’t you go somewhere else” written all over it.
I rolled my eyes and slid into the backseat.
Imagine your driver choosing to drive at a snail’s speed when you are about to miss your bus! My driver, that night, had chosen to drive like that for some reason only known to him.
At 9:15, when I couldn’t continue sulking anymore, I decided to talk business to my driver.
I told him about my situation and that the current speed we were going at wasn’t working for me, so if he could push the accelerator a little harder and drive with a mission to make sure that I reach my destination on time, it’d be great!
For a moment, I thought I might have offended him, but to my surprise, he turned around and said – “You should have left an hour ago in that case, this road has been experiencing a lot of traffic lately. But don’t worry, I’d do my best.”
And after that, it wasn’t some driver dropping his passenger to a location, it was a team working towards a common goal! A team better than many teams I have worked in before.
There are times when no matter what you do, all odds loom against you, this clearly was that time for me.
It was 9:30pm and we were still a flyover away from the pickup point. Meanwhile, I had been frantically trying to reach out to the bus manager, but miserably failed at getting through to him.
So, this was it, I had begun to prepare myself for a canceled trip after all. Probably, I would request the same driver to drop me home, if he could.
May be it was my grim face that he saw in the rear-view mirror or the sudden silence that had engulfed the atmosphere in the cab, which was rather chaotic a few mins ago, when my driver said something I would never forget.
“ Ma’am, don’t worry, you’d be inside that bus when it leaves, and even if it leaves without you, we would follow the bus until they stop and take you in.”
And I believed him!
That’s when I received a call from the bus management and they assured me that the bus wasn’t leaving me behind.
I was inside the bus by 9:40pm.
Our journeys are not just about the mesmerizing places we get to see or the interesting food we get to try. They aren’t really about the country houses or the luxury hotels we stay in. Actually, our journeys are about the people we meet on the way and the people we never forget.