It was raining heavily. Chennai is like this whenever you get out on the road, you will never know what the weather is going to be. It is the most unpredictable thing. I am not a person who usually wear a jerkin or wind cheater when riding bikes even when it is cold. And Chennai rarely gets cooler. After days of procrastination, I thought of allowing myself the luxury of watching a movie at theater. Work keeps me occupied most of the time. Sometimes even in my sleep. My roommates often wonder how I get up from the bed and walk straight to the laptop and finish an unfinished article as if I had read it from somewhere. The truth is, when I get into the half sleep mode my mind starts working on my work.
The movie should be good I thought. All my friends gave good reviews about the movie and when I finished my dinner in a roadside shop and started my bike, it started raining. It did not start with drizzle. It was like the eyes of girl opening up the dam of tears when hurt. It was pouring. I stood there for a while and lighted a cigarette. It always works. When I want to stay put in place nature will have other plans and the rain subsided.
Then I saw him. That lad would be 23 years old maximum. He was restless and trying to stop every auto passing by. But most of them were covered because of rain or they already had passengers. He didn’t mind two or three autos splashing mud at him. He continued to chase the next auto. Then he saw me and our eyes met. There was something about the way he saw me, which made me ask him.
“Where do you want to go?”
“Koyambedu Bus stop sir”
“But those buses are actually rare to come here.”
“I know sir, I can go to some other place and get it but I cannot get an auto”
I was silent. I know where this will go. He was looking at his watch, his mobile, which was covered with a plastic cover and then started waving to the autos that came by the way. I was afraid he was going to get hit by some vehicle.
“Here brother, I will drop you on my way” I said.
He was hesitant first but with one look at his mobile he came and took the pillion.
“Are you going somewhere?” I asked
“No sir, I am going to pick up someone”
“Oh! Its late already. Where do you stay?”
“I stay nearby sir. My girl friend is coming by bus and it is late by an hour. I just don’t want to let her in bus stop at this hour”
And then again it started raining heavily. I was not able to see anything in front of me. I stopped the bike in the next tea stall and took off my helmet. When I was about to order tea for both of us, I saw him.
He was standing in the rain, almost in the verge of crying and kicking the mud. It seemed he was trying to hire some other auto too. I called him inside the shop.
“What is your problem dude? I told you I will drop you. What are you trying to do there going in rain?”
And then he started crying. I waited for him to stop and he never did. I cancelled the tea and asked him to come out. The rain just got heavier
“There is so much thing to tell sir. Lot of things going in my mind which I cant tell”
“You don’t have to. Come lets go”
“No Sir, I will take some auto or something from here. I have money”
“Its OK. I was just going to watch a movie. I will go back home after dropping you.”
I didn’t wear helmet. I was cautious but maintained a decent speed to reach Koyambedu. When I dropped him there, I thought he would need some company and went in with him. The bus was still running late.
“Do you want anything?”
“Do you smoke?”
“OK” I said and I don’t know what to talk. I lighted a cigarette and he was staring at the stars. I wanted him to talk something and it was like he wanted me to ask something. The silence was heavy. He broke it.
“Nothing is alright for last few days sir. She went for job there and it didn’t work out. She is crestfallen and I was not able to make her come out of it. Once the smooth relationship went into tatters. She picks up fight at drop of the hat. She wanted me to come here, because she is going to break up with me. She wants to tell it in my face”
I didn’t know what to tell.
“You shouldn’t have come here”
“This is kind of special place for us sir. She was from my native and I came to pick her up when she came to Chennai first time. We were in love before that. She even came to Chennai just to be with me in the pretence of project work. The first words she said to me when she got down the bus was “I love you”. I know she would say it that day and I was one hour early than the bus which brought her here. I still love her the same. When she wants me to come here to break up, I should do the same right”
“You and your silly logic. Do whatever you want. I am leaving” I said.
“Thanks Sir. This means so much to me”
“Its OK. But forget this here and move on with your life. Get married, Have kids. Don’t become one of those sad blog writers who doesn’t know anything other than work and computer.”
He smiled and that was the saddest smile I have ever seen.
I left him to himself and came to the parking to take my bike. I inserted the key in the ignition and thought for a moment It would have been nice if someone had given me lift on June 16, 2008.