Rains in Bengaluru summer bring the greatest joy in us, they also create traffic woes, and have people stranded all over the place, often creating utter chaos.
A recent spell of torrential rain reminded me of a day when I had gone to Ridhani's production unit and was going to be late from work. A perfect sunny summery morning had changed to a dark cloudy afternoon and within an hour or so, it started pouring - so much so that in about two hours there was waterlogging and severe traffic jams along the way.
It was around 8.30 pm and I was driving back from work through Ulsoor. Roads were choked in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but the rains hadn’t stopped. All the roads were flooded in knee-deep water. There was chaos everywhere. As I inched towards the Ulsoor Christian graveyard towards Indira Nagar, I could see a middle-aged woman waving her hands frantically from a distance. My car was a few feet away in standstill traffic, hence I started observing her. I couldn’t hear her due to the rain and honks of the cars. It looked like she was seeking some help.
What I saw for the next 10 mins was disheartening. None of the cars rolled down their windows to hear her out, leave alone helping. I kept wondering what could be the reason that a woman is seeking help so desperately from strangers without bothering about the consequences. My mind was racing… As I kept inching towards her and saw her struggles, I decided to at least hear her out. (This is very unusual for me; I am a safety fanatic when I am driving. I never roll down my window no matter whatever happens). But for some reason I felt the need to find out the reason behind her obvious desperation. I switched on my left indicator and started pulling the car over to the side. As I reached closer to her, I rolled down my window.
Me: What happened?
Lady: (Showing her drenched and ill-mother, who was sitting on the wet footpath) My mother is not keeping well and I need to rush her home soon. We have been stranded here for the last 3-4 hours, not a single auto or taxi is ready to stop by us. We live in Indira Nagar not very far from here. But no one is giving us a lift. Would you please help?
Me: (though I was skeptical) Come on in, I will drop you.
They got into the car, and for the next 30 minutes because of the conversation, I came to know her mother was 78+ years old, suffering from diabetes, hypertension and a heart patient too. She couldn’t walk properly due to arthritis. She was running mild fever when they came to pay tribute to their ancestors in the graveyard. It was one of those days in the year when they pay tribute to their ancestors.
She seemed to be a happy and content elderly lady. She explained to me what it is like to be grateful to everyone and everything around you. It is important to remember your roots while you are reaching for the moon. It’s your roots that give you the strength to do what you strive for.
Looking at my tired self, she said in Tamil “Beta, you should take care of yourself. I know working hard is important but your body and health are most important.” [Sorry, I can’t reproduce the dialogue in Tamil]
After I dropped this mother and daughter duo, a satisfied smile filled my face. Strange, we spent 30 minutes together, spoke about so many things and yet, we never asked each other’s name. Though I reached home around 11 pm that day, I was happy within. Glad I had taken the step to roll down my windows!
Sometimes it is only about rolling down your windows to listen to different voices… and then, life fills you with surprises and pleasantries!