Monday, August 15, 2005

Little Girl at Left Turn

As you know, my friend, it takes about forty five minutes to go from hotel to the LTI offices through pot holed roads of post-flood-Mumbai. The bum sores, hurts, car rattles like Rock-fort express on the wooden bridge of Sri Rangam, dusty gravel hits the sides as if a hale storm at thirty degree angle. Trying to read a newspaper would become a task unaccomplished since eyes would involuntarily jump from one news item to another news item, combining Aishwarya Rai's hip-line to war inAfghanistan (yes the war there isn't over yet).


Then, towards around 22nd minute, Richard, my "parthasarathi", would make a left to turn catch a short-cut. The term short-cut in this scenario shouldn't be taken literally since the distance is actually longer than the "long-cut". It's just that due to reduced number of pot-holes the ride would become smoother thus faster.


This little girl, 12ish, with neatly combed hair tied in the back, a black dot right between the centre of eyes that reflecting an anonymous feel, distant look, a worn skirt and blouse, yet neat, dusty sandals and thin facial features would stand at the corner, everyday, during Richard's careful left turns, on the 22nd minute, holding bunch of garlands in colors of yellow, red and pink.


A flower seller, I presume, the girl has been catching my eyes, everyday for the past five days. She never bothers the passing cars, bicycles, pedestrians and omni present cows. She, I believe, is there, expecting an arrival, a regular customer, a mother going to prayers, a husband or lover in look to impress his better half or someone just wanted to buy flowers for no apparent reasons. But, the important things is she is there, expecting a new arrival, who in return would provide joy, for her daily meal, her master's satisfaction or probably for renewed reasons for plants to bloom again. I saw hope in her eyes everyday, although ours never met. I saw the distant expectation, something on the horizon, faraway; knowing it'll come, when the time is right, moon is lit, sun gives up and hide away under the blue ocean, the sureness of an event, goodness.


Today, I missed her. It was late when I went to the office, around 11ish, I think. She probably would have sold the flowers and gone home, to school, to her master's den or just to the flower gardens to watch the re-blooming of yellow, red and pink. Or may be she decided to give up the boring profession, procession of people, cars and my left turns to find a shortcut in life. May be she was killed by a rogue left turn, an anonymous villain; blood spattering across the tarmac and filling the uncared pot holes, a reminder to the mayor of Vashi with new methods of renewal.


I missed her, for sure, that an entire day lingered with memory of her thin face, combed hair, garlands dangling from her impoverished yet delicate hands.


How can someone miss someone never met? How a visual seen only ten seconds per day resides long enough to attack the serenity of a busy mind?


I couldn't find any answers. The only thing I can think of is her eyes; that hope, waiting for a distant arrival, when the time is right, moon is lit, sun gives up and hide away under the blue ocean, the sureness of an event and goodness.


Unseen, she teaches me to look for tomorrow, a better day, an eventful life, a life that would make others happy by an act I would play, by no accident but programmed by an alternate power. She tells me, without saying a word that never gives up on love and care. She tells me to hang in there, with lots of hope and belief.


Tomorrow, I'll ask Richard to make that left turn, even if roads are cleared, pot holes are filled, post-flood Mumbai returns to an abnormal normalcy. Because my first hope tomorrow would be to see this little girl again; stop the car; hand twenty rupees, without bargaining, exchanging for pink garlands, our smiles, unspoken introductions, thanking her to remind me of tomorrow that sure could be better than today.

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