This happened a considerable while ago, maybe 2 years, but is still worth sharing with all you loved ones. You ‘virtual’ friends. Is it not strange how the relative connotations of the real and the virtual changes in the context of the virtual world?
I was home then. Mom wasn’t well, and I’d decided to stay home and help the bum’s bit that I can possibly do. It had been a while, and mom was just about recovering. There was this movie about Subhas Chandra Bose – what was it – the ‘Forgotten Hero’ or something, that I wanted to watch. Only, it was playing in Madras. Never mind, I thought to myself, and decided to make a trip and fulfill my desire.
It’s the bum way I suppose, and so, like always, I ended up blowing up all my money, and was broke. When I had to return, my dear friends whom I had spent the night with offered me some money. For some reason, I declined the offer, and decided to hitch hike. After all, this guy was dropping me off the city, on the highway, and there was nothing to fear.
So, with all of ten rupees in hand, I said goodbye to my friend, and started walking, in the hope that someone would give me a lift. A 150 odd kilometers wasn’t a long distance, and I was sure I’d make it.
The problem with this world, they say, is that the fools are cocksure and the wise, doubtful. Rightly so, I’d thumbed, stopped, even prostrated before every single passing vehicle – no matter how many wheels it had. And nobody was really bothered about giving me a ride.
Now I was starting to think that maybe I’d have to walk all the way home. I hardly had any money in hand, and was wondering how I’d manage. I thought that I’d buy beedis, as they come really cheap. And as far as food was concerned, I thought I’d just beg. I though I’d do the distance on foot, in say 3 or 4 days.
Just as these thoughts were crossing my mind, I see this guy cruising on his motorbike. He had this little satchel on his back, wasn’t riding all that fast, and was actually looking around – like he wanted to take in the scenery – as he was riding. When I thumbed, he actually stopped!
The first thing I did, was to thank him, naturally. He asked me where I wanted to go. Now, I had a long way to go and felt stupid to tell him I wanted to go all the way to Pondicherry. And, I’d assumed he wasn’t going to go that far anyways, and so I told him, I’d ride with him till wherever he was going. To which, he looked at me for a while, and said, “You know, I don’t really know where I want to go. I have no plans”.
That was fun! So I hopped on and away we rode, the two of us. We stopped for tea a while later, and when I was paying up, this fellow, the courteous guy that he is, said that he’d rather pay. To which I said I only had my tenner, and anything more, he’d be the one who’d have to pay. He was surprised I had hit the road with just that much in my pocket. Coming to think of it, I can’t myself believe I did something like that back then.
I’ve always believed in that something that drives us all, that directs this entire drama of all our lives entwined in strange ways. I suppose there was a purpose, even in this seemingly crazy venture of mine, for I had made a friend. We talked all through the next few hours, till we rode all the way to pondicherry,, and dropped me off right at home.
“Come in and have some dinner”, I had offered. That was the least I could do in return for what he had done for me. He seemed the bum kind too, for he didn’t care too much – either for the favour returned, or for dinner.
“I’ll go. Will probably ride to velankanni”, he said. That was another 150 km, further down the coast, from where we were. When I called him just after 10 AM the following morning, he was already at work. “Oh, I’m feeling a lot better now”, he told me. For someone who claimed to have been feeling sick, that was quite remarkable. That’s what 600 odd km of riding can do to someone.
Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts.