Note: i have many a times copy+pasted stuff from this space to my personal blog at office... today i thought why not do the converse operation :) not that i have a great many fans awaiting with bated breath for my incredibly intellectual posts here... but this is more of a Backup operation (just in case i terminate my relations with the current org, sooner... or later... hmmm...)
Warning: Long post ahead! read at your risk :) :)
This happened sometime post the hot summer of 2006…. when the rains had just grazed the thirsty soils of Chennai. i was put up in a structurally double/practically single BHK apartment at Thiruvanmiyur, just behind the Marudeeswarar temple.
It had been just two or three days since i joined 'my current org' and hence i lacked all the essentials possessed by SW professionals - namely ID card, Access card & Bus pass! So, everyday i used to walk till TIDEL signal and take a share auto to TCO. This particular day, as i stepped out of my flat, the debut showers for the day had started…. and i had no umbrella/windcheater/any other protective equipment in hand…. And self being in disagreement with Shriya Saran's principles, didnt want to do a "Rain number" from Tvmyr to TIDEL…. you might be wondering why i didnt take the ECR route from Thiruvanmiyur instead of the bumpy OMR route? Well, to be frank… though i had been in Chennai for 7yrs during childhood & 2yrs as a working professional, i did not know of any land beyond Tvmyr!! My intuition was that.. the Indian subcontinent stopped within the boundary of Tvmyr… and anything beyond that was an alien continent/extra terrestrial space!! So, i silently walked till the Marudeeswarar temple… while the rain drops were beginning to gain momentum… eagerly looking for an auto of "acceptable nature"! Several autos flew by… but none of them headed to Thoraipakkam After about 10mins of impatient waiting… one auto driver slowed down near me expectantly. "Thoraipakkam?" i enquired, in a slang & accent that brings back memories of the first 10mins of the magnum opus "Dasavatharam"!! He said "80!" and i got into the auto without any further negotiations…. for fear of spending the entire day rooted at the same place, under the spell of the Rain God!
The auto headed forward on the same road, much to my surprise & suspicion (for i had expected him to take a U turn & move towards the OMR)!! i was biting my nails & wondering where on earth this fellow was taking me…. The vehicle had moved just a few kms & touched the outskirts of a territory called Kottivakkam…. when the mobile phone of the driver started singing some supposedly melodious song. He took the cell phone single handedly & spoke something to his akka (elder sister). The converstaion went on for a few minutes & meanwhile the auto was going all zig-zag & drafting modern art forms on the road…. thanks to the illustrious concentration power of the driver! After a while of intense, emotional talk over the phone, the driver turned back to me… and said in an extremely panicky voice…. that his wife has been admitted to the labor ward of a hospital…. and that the doctor has declared that there is quite a deal of complications in delivery!! He also asked me nervously, almost with tears in his eyes "Sister, what is the meaning of COMPILLI-KAY-SON?" i told him it meant some prominent issues in the delivery of the baby… at which he started howling & wailing… He went on murmuring that the well-being of his wife was of utmost importance… and that he didnt really mind, even if he had to lose the baby, to save his wife. i was trying to say all that i could, to console & convince him that she would be hale & hearty…. but my words only fell on deaf ears. He proceeded to narrate what seemed to be his life history!! describing a very cinematic love story, that was obviously & dramatically opposed by their parents….. and hence he had no moral/fiscal support from any of the relatives!! i was patiently listening (despite being late to office) to his entire tale of woes…. with a weak heart & tensed mind, when his cell phone rang again…. and it was a second call of alarm from his so-called akka!! He spoke in a trembling voice for a few moments… and then informed me that his wife's condition was serious…. and that he had to reach the hospital immediately with a considerable sum of money for the treatment.
Unable to bear the sight of his painfully distorted face & moist swollen eyes, i proceeded to open my purse and give him 200 bucks; he responded in a flash… enquiring if i could offer him some more cash, since it is the critical need of the hour and he had no other source of revenue in such a short span of time. Deeply moved by his plight, i gave him another 300 bucks and told him this was all i had…. and wished for the speedy recovery of his wife from the ongoing trauma. The fellow was overwhelmed at this deed… that he stepped out of his cabin in the front, came near me… and was about to touch my feet!!! (something which even my husband has not done all his life ;-)) he thanked me profusely & told me that he would be grateful to me throughout his life. i reassured him that everything would be ok soon… and left the place to catch another auto that would ultimately drop me at the office premises, without any further delay. i waited for sooo long that i felt the movie Marudhanaayagam would hit the theatres before i got an auto for my onward trip…. all the share auto drivers announced loudly that they would not be travelling to Thoraipakkam at all (contrary to what the troubled auto driver told me), even if given an MLA seat at that constituency!! So, i walked all the way to the crowded Thiruvanmiyur signal and managed to catch a speeding share auto, madly heading towards TCO! Though i had got fully drenched on arrival at office, though i went extremely late to office within 3 days of joining, though i had to stretch myself for long hours in the late evening, though i had lost a fair amount of money, though my friend told me repeatedly that i had been fooled very cleverly & elegantly, i still had the immense satisfaction of having helped a person in need and having done my good deed for the day!! i had a silent satisfied sleep that night.
Days rolled on…. it had been nearly 7 or 8 months since the afore-mentioned incident had happened. i was now living in Indiranagar, Adyar. It was a Saturday morning around 11.30am… and i was hurriedly looking out for an auto to Koyembedu. And as always, each auto i came across gave me a look as if i was going for my last journey to Mars & quoted attrociously enormous prices for a trip to the private bus stand at CMBT. Time & tide & also the KPN bus wait for none!! It was already past 12.00 and the bus was to commence its journey from Koyembedu at 1.30pm sharp…. and if i were to miss this mobile monster, i would not be able to meet my husband that weekend & will have to wait for 7 more days for the next meeting!! As i walked in anguish, on the troubled waters… err… roads of Gandhinagar, an auto stopped near me. i told the driver the destination… and inquired the charge; not wanting to start any further negotiation, i got onto the vehicle, wondering mildly about the familiarity of the auto driver's face. The driver turned the vehicle to a small lane off the main road & went ahead in full speed. 5 minutes past the start of the ride, his cell phone rang….. he picked it up & there ensued an intense conversation over the phone and the auto's zig zag patterns on the street. i told the autowalla rather sternly, that i had very little time left to board the bus to Bangalore and asked him to hurry up. He turned back with sorrow written all over his face, informing me that his "akka" had called…. to notify him that his wife was in critical condition at a hospital… and that i could take some other auto…. if it was urgent! My heart skipped a beat….. as all the memories of the incident 8 months back, flashed across my mind's monitor. i told him i could not wait any longer and just walked away…. to catch another anonymous auto to Koyembedu.
Till date, i have no clue…. whether this person had in fact cheated me…. or whether his wife was really ailing…. whether all this was a co-incidence or just Deja vu!! Anyway, my sincere advice to all you readers would be: Before availing an auto service, do ensure that
1) the driver is either unmarried or tooooooo old to have a marriage
2) even if he is married, his wife is not pregnant
3) even if she is pregnant, she has no complications in the delivery process
4) even if there are complications during labor, he has no sister to inform him about it
5) even if he has a sister, she does not know his mobile number to share the sorry news
6) even if she knows the number & tells him the tale, you dont have the heart & money to sponsor the delivery of the auto driver's kid!! Amen! :D