It was a day out with a friend in the by-lanes of MG road. What started as a beautiful fun loving day was destined to finish different. A girl’s day out means spending hours in a shop and then hopping on to another for more. Realising it’s 6:20 p.m. I was anxiously looking at my watch and my friends who weren’t content with their purchases. 6:30 p.m. and am a dead girl, thinking out loud that I need to go. I need to be back in my hostel the moment the clock struck 7:00. Hurriedly I left the girls back frantically searching for an auto. But the guys were playing funny and asked 200 bucks for that stretch that took at max. 120 bucks. Finally found this guy who looked in early 20’s and was ready to take me, but as I was already half nervous seeing the clock strike at the 6:40 p.m. bar; I agreed to pay him an extra 20 for whatever amount that showed up.
The first thing I remember is tucking over my bag, and closing my eyes tightly and imagining coughing up 250 bucks as fine for turning up late to the hostel and getting a letter signed by my father that I wouldn’t repeat the same ever again. The mere thought of calling up my dad and telling him the offence before the hostel director, send shivers down my spine. Opening my eyes I realized it was a very unfamiliar route the auto guy had taken. I could see Chamarpet flying by at 6:50 p.m. and had no clue how far was Girinagar from there. And then 6:55 p.m. when I’m nearly crucified I see Hanumanth Nagar flying by. And I screw my head out of the auto to verify did I read it right! Girinagar was hardly 10 minutes from there which was my destination. I sat as if I was meditating, looking nervously around, and back and forth at my watch, chewing my inner cheek.
The auto halted before the big black gate and I showed my face to the hostel guards and they had registered my entry. I glanced over my watch and realised there was still 1 minute left to 7 p.m. and I was there. I couldn’t believer my eyes and the halleluiah feeling within. This auto guy covered that 40-50 minutes distance in just 19 minutes along with traffic pauses. I sat silently in the auto for a minute gasping and checking the auto meter.
Just when the auto guy looked at his mirror for me to pay, I said aloud “Shukriya Bhaiya!” He gave me a huge smile and turned back to thank in return. I repeated “Shukriya!” He lowered his head and nodded in acknowledgement and returned a big smile. I gave the auto guy 200 /- and as I was turning, he stopped me and was returning 20 bucks. The meter read 160! I said “Aap rakhiye”