This had to be done... There aren't enough cynics around


If there is something we do so very well, it is giving others the stick. But being the awesome gentleman that I am, I guess it is only fair that I appreciate stuff when it is due. This is such a story-one that had me smiling and gave the cynic in me a beating. This is the story of how I met her and sorry to say that because of cultural and social reasons we do not have Uncle Barney or the uber promiscuous Aunt Robin in this tale of hope, love and positivity.

For starters, I hate to travel, especially on short notice. But this was a necessity. Getting into the details might hurt the religious sentiments of some dear folks, but hey, no matter what you are- right wing, left wing or even a centre forward- there are some common emotions. Pain, for instance is one of them. Having a suitcase fall on your pinkie is probably as painful as getting punched in the face. But that was how it started.

Last time in was in a train, I ended up with torticollis as two women played their ‘female’ card so often that it was like watching Pune lose match after match after match… But this time things were so different. This girl was just as old as me and she did not even apologise when her luggage nearly crushed my lil toe to death. As I was nursing the broken nail, she was not looking abashed or embarrassed, but instead there was this mischievous smile. Good Lord, I was with the devil!

The Ticket examiner was possibly the most nicest (yeah I know, this is the most unkindest cut on English) TTE ever met. He was polite and even joked about waking me up in the middle of the night for a non-existent emergency for fun. As I laughed nervously sincerely hoping my ‘expertise’ would not be called into question, the girl opposite ‘hmmed’ me. Apparently another way of starting a conversation…

I learnt that she was an UPSC aspirant and that she had got a rank this year, but not good enough to get her into IAS. I couldn’t keep myself from stating that when it came to women IPS was definite a turn off. Thus started an argument... Me stating how reservation for women (or anyone otherwise) in critical posts kills the nation and she rained all feminist stuff. By the time the food came, I was glad there was this interruption- I strongly suspected she was going to call the cops on me. It gave me just enough time to wonder if a scorned female decides to destroy a guy-the guy is screwed… Hail Mother India, her in-laws and her laws…

The food was surprisingly good. Maybe it was the sight of a girl munching cucumbers while giving me the stink eye, or my hunger or perhaps my uninspiringly low expectations, the food was more than palatable and even passable. The post fed state calmed our nerves and we even got to discuss the ‘doctor’ stuff. I even jokingly made references to Doctor Who (“And I thought they’d give me a TARDIS”) which she got. She was an electrical engineer and apparently a dental student before leaving it after 6 months.

She fell asleep while watching some movie as I slid into one of my manuals. Once the destination came, we got down. The nice ticket examiner even helped her with the luggage despite her not wanting the help (yeah, feminism). This time she apologized for hurting my toe and if she had hurt my belief. There was this discrepancy but still, it was an awesome trip. We made our way to the exit channel just as I made a mental note to get her contact info, or at least an FB invite.

If this was not pleasant enough, once outside, we were surrounded by taxiwalas and autowalas who were unbelievably reasonable. Good Lord! Anyway, it was time to part ways. As I waited for her to leave, the next man in line asked me for my destination. I murmured like an Aortic regurgitation and the first guy who had barely pulled away said it was ‘on their way’ and that we could share the cab. Seriously, were all the stars aligned to make this my day? I got in as she moved to make space giving me a warm smile. The next twenty minutes passed in silence as the driver was humming some song.

She asked him to stop near a rather battered looking signal.

“There he is!”

Obviously, her dad was waiting to pick her up. She gave a fifty rupee note to the driver and a melting glance to me as she strode away in quick steps. I put my head out of the window and got a glance of what followed. Boy was it a surprise.

There she was, riding a frigging pony on her way to fairyland, guided by a rainbow as India shone brighter than ever.

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