Those Dear Strangers

Have you meet some persons, who are none to you!

When you meet them – just within some minutes, you start feeling that you know them since long back. Its not about the matching of right frequency and wavelength , etc. Even if you are two different levels of frequency , wavelength , age, profession, mental state, upbringing – just based on mutual respect they win you out.

The art of matching the two levels of brains – they are expert, its something that bring you down to a comfort level – keep you cool – and without being selfish, they talk something and you wish that such conversation go on and on…

I guess this is a rare trait, only very few persons are born with and few others develop it over the years after observation. And the most wonderful common thing, I have found in such persons is, they are artist to the core.

Those Dear Strangers ….

Beyond pink lips

March 6th. That evening Abhilash was returning from office normally walking down the market.

And again he gave a look towards the Dentist’s clinic. And since last days he was feeling a sensation in one of tooth, he thought to go inside and get it checked. He waited outside doctor’s chamber. There was no other patient that time. From the seat he sat, he was able to see a fair lady sitting in plain sky color salwar suit – talking with some person.

“A Nurse – she may be.. “, he thought .

After the patient came out, the so the seemingly nurse followed. Abhilash asked her , “Is Doctor inside ?”.

“Yes please come in.” She said and Abhilash followed her.

She sat on the doctor’s chair. Abhilash was surprised to see the simplicity of the doctor. To whom he thought as a nurse.

Round face, encapsulating perfectly pink lips, fair color. hairs well tied behind, height may be around 5′ 2″. Hard to believe her as a doctor – still looked liked some medical college passout – straight from the class. Her age can be hardly 25, he guessed.

“Name ?” She asked with cool voice.

“Abhilash Trivedi.”


“29. Next month, I will be 30.”- he smiled.

At first she wrote 29 and did overwriting and made it 30. She too smiled, keeping her head still low.

She asked about his problem.

“Take out your tongue” she said politely. He was surprised on it otherwise all the grey haired doctors say with a command.”TAKE OUT YOUR TONGUE”

She asked about his dental history and at the same time she was writing on the prescription. Abhilash was looking at her thin fingers holding the pen. Hundreds of girl he might have seen. And she was different altogether, even in her simplicity. And his sixth sense was not wrong, he was sure.

She made an instant impression on his mind. He had a look on her forehead – any vermillion marks? No. Mangal sutra – No. Okey, may be she is married – as being a south Indian its difficult to mark it out sometimes. But he without any clue, after seeing her innocent face and her peaceful smile – Abhilash can guarantee that she was unmarried.

“Why don’t you get your teeth’s scaling done, it has accumulated tartar ” , she suggested after writing the medicines and mouth wash name.

“How much it will cost ?” He asked back, as it was another chance to come back and see that innocent smile.

“800 (Rs). for two or three sessions” , she said.

“Is 800 (Rs.) for each session?” Abhilash wanted to confirm. Even though he was ready for 800 Rs. per session just to meet her.

“Nah ! ” She smiled, ” Don’t worry ! 800 for all two or three session. After one session it can be said how many more sessions you may need. ”

“When can I came?” he asked hiding his impatience.

“You have to get a prior appointment” “Where do you stay ? ” she asked.

“Behind Natraj Building, Nirvana Apartments” He said. Natraj building was at walkable distance from there.

“Then you can come in evening too. Is not it ? Is evening time fine for you ?” She said and took out her diary. “Is this Friday ok for you, 6:30 pm”

“How long one session takes ?” he asked as if he didn’t want long sessions !

“Approx. half an hour.”

“Then okay, Friday is fine for me, I will come straight from office. I will confirm you before I come. May I have your number?”

‘Its written on prescription, my personal cell no. Yeah you may give me a call.”

The smile, glowing face, simplicity and the small touch on his cheek during the check up was different. Night spent sleepless. On the prescription, he read her name Vandana Rao. Yeah she was a south Indian, “unmarried” – thinking he smiled. Sleeping on bed, in the darkness, his face was glowing when he was saving her number in his mobile.
He put a cute girl icon with her name.

Tuesday….. Thursday……. and Friday came. In office, he was feeling the air around fragrant as it seemed his first love. He was happy and everyone can read that. Lunch
was over and he put alarm in his mobile at 5.00. He will leave early from office – not in the office cab. He will hire an auto and go to Vandana’s clinic. He had to leave, the office by 5:15 at any cost.

He reached there by 6:10. But the seat from where he can see the doctor was occupied by a fat lady, holding her swollen cheek. The talks inside was coming out. He wanted her to see. She seemed to be busy with other patient and the scaling machine seemed to be running. It was 6:45 now.

Suddenly she came out. She smiled, pulling her face mask down. Today in doctor’s apron she was looking like a doctor, not a girl.

Though she seemed tired but still the face was radiating energy.

Seeing Abhilash sitting, she smiled and said “Wait please, just one more patient then I will call you.”

“No problem, I will wait” – He smiled with a great satisfaction.

The fat woman went inside and her equally fat husband accompanied her. After 5 mins, the couple came out and Doctor called “Abhilash.”

“Take out specs and lie down there”

She prepared the next set of instruments and made the dental chair flat. She started scaling with small needles type instruments. At first it was painful for Abhilash. He was uncomfortable.

Her two palms were occasionally resting on his clean shaven cheeks. “Did you ever get your teeth’s scaling done?” and like this she was talking and simultaneously moving swiftly her fingers inside mouth.

In the process, his mouth became full of medicated water and saliva.

“Spit it out and rinse mouth with water”

He did so.

The tingling sensation of scaling machine seemed to be unbearable. The doctor was standing and carefully doing the scaling, He understood that even a small miss of doctor will make a wound in tongue or cheek.

He felt on his head something soft touched. The tingling sensation flowed from teeth to head. She was careful for him, but careless for herself. Her body was touching his head. Now he could feel it clearly.

Scaling was going on. He was said to spit it out again. Again the process started. She stood close to him. He thought – may psychologically doctor wants to keep the pain out with her touch.

“Stupid thoughts for a doctor”- he scolded himself. But after a while there was no pain while scaling was being done.

“Is its paining now” she asked.

“Very little” and true he was. It was a motherly touch, he guessed. But there was a different kind of feeling for the lady – he was sure.

Half an hour passed off. Not a single time he pondered to think, what’s program is going on the TV kept in front.

He was said to come after 15 days. May be two more session required.

After 15 days, he called him before coming to clinic. She said – not to come – as she had some personal urgent work.

Personal work – what can be ! “May be… May be ….”

Anyway he was happy that next day she called him in morning being holiday for him

Next morning he took a fast breakfast and was ready to lie down on dental chair for the scaling by 11 in the morning.

There was no patient in the clinic at the time. And as he reached there, he found, she was waiting for him.

“Come Abhilash, how are you feeling now.” “Did you brush twice as I said?” she asked treating him like a kid.

He like it! Her smile was contagious.

Suddenly a tall good looking person in formal dress came inside and went outside without saying anything. May be some patient in waiting..

That day she seemed to be relaxed and gave more attention to him. He had absoultely no pain that day. As she was really smooth in her scaling process.

She suggested for one tooth filling done afterwards. Scaling seemed near to completion,

“Abhilash, I think you need not do the third session. I have cleaned all the tarter. Your enamel is thin. Third session may affect that.”

Abhilash thought there would be three sessions, and he would get more chance to talk with her. As she too asked about him, his family his job etc.

Abhilash was now in a mess ! He had hoped for a third session. He wanted to come more frequently there. To make the situation worst, he had paid only Rs 300 in first session. And he realized he had left in purse in home and there may be maximum of Rs. 200 in his jean’s pocket. He was still lying on chair, unable to check his back jean’s pocket with a touch.

She did his tooth polishing. He washed his mouth. There was still soothing feeling in him with her treatment. But now his problem was he did not carry Rs. 500/- with him.

He sat down. Tried to cool him self internally. He gathered his smile and thought to make himself normal. Doctor was in her chair. He put his hand his pocket, took out money. It was not even Rs. 200. There was total 188 Rs. there ! Rs. 12 – he bought the bread packet in morning.

“I have forgetten my purse in home today, I have 150/- now, can I bring the rest money in 20 min.” He said feeling guilt.

“No need to go now for bringing your purse, whatever you have now, you can give. Rest you may give later.” She said calmly.

Abhilash didn’t wanted to leave early after giving her money, as already there will not be 3rd session. He wanted to talk more, if possible. Though a mechanical engineer by profession, he had an inclination towards the medical science, so do for the doctor clearly.

There were medical books on the table. He guessed out she may be preparing for masters degree as she holds a bachelor’s degree only. He thought to start a talk on the title of the book kept on table – “Autism”

“Are you preparing for M.S. or M.D.? ” he asked

“No why ?” she smiled.

“Nah I thought so,” He continued “But this book is related to mental health. And you are dentist. Do you have some interest in mental health.”

“I am reading for myself .”

“Yourself !”

“Yeah myself, this book I have brought from US. This is good book.”

“But have you any specific interest in mental health studies?”

“I read it for my two year’s old son.”

Darkness surrounded him. She was married and have a son too, who was born like that. It happens 1 in 250 children. He became bloodless. Hands cold. How this lady keeps her smile intact always, looking so innocent.

Abhilash knew very well – “What is Autism ?”

He was looking at her. She was telling about herself. From day one to him, she was like a friend. Yeah like a friend – as some persons spread the aura of friendly attitude for everyone. She was telling him about her son more. There was a soothing touch in her voice, a pain hidden inside.

Suddenly she realized something and said ,” Abhilash, my husband is waiting outside. I have to leave now.”

“How she knew her husband had come. No phone call ! ” Abhilash thought,” Oh the tall man who came inside was his husband for sure. A gentleman indeed. ” Abhilash wished for her son’s well being and praised the lady’s courage. He came out assuring her to meet again with the rest money.

That night too Abhilash was lying on bed, but he was relaxed recalling her face.

Her smiling ever face was revolving in his eyes, and her words were reverberating in his ears – ” I was a doctor, but never thought my child will have autism. Though my husband was knowing of the child’s symptoms, but till one year he did not told me anything. He thought I will feel pain, if I knew. But now I am prepared for taking care of his future. He seems to be improving with my care…. May God have found me strong enough that I can do this duty perfectly…. ”

“May God have found me strong enough that I can do…….”

In the soothing vibrations, slept Abhilash with a selfless feeling, recalling the young lady’s smile – that was divine – beyond pink lips.

Temple(s) of we mentally retarded people

I have been to ISKCON many a times but to a NGO it was my first visit in Bangalore.

On the 80 feet road, there on a wall written – Asha Niketan. It is a NGO – where SDIPA students decided to make friendship with.

Asha Niketan – a simple building with brown brick walls. With the packet of cloths and other things given by M.S., I entered the gate. And the wavy stairs reached the verandah. There on the bench sitting were some persons.One can see their bent heads, hanging hands, drooling tongue and the dull looking persons – we call them mentally retarded – who don’t have a home like ours !

After entering there, suddenly a feeling came to me. And the feeling I did compared my entry to another famous place – the ISKCON. But both feelings did had a contrasting experience !

When I go to ISKCON – there I try to be good devotee for the minutes/hours – I spend there. There I don’t find the priest’s eyes welcoming me. They seem to be immersed in a another world, in the greatness of the great temple. Of course the security guards, do welcome me as I am a patron member there ! I do get special entry with a life time pass. But even at the temple, truly I don’t feel on the ground in that way I did felt there.

At Asha Niketan, within the dull looking boundaries – everyone is welcome equally. I was said to wait for sometime – as some authority was to come to collect the things. Soon a tall white lady came and took me to a small room. An inadequately lighted house with a PC on the table. In the room, there were other donated things kept in a big bag. She was so busy that she did not opened the things donated earlier. Down the corner, in another room, I can see elderly people sitting down for meals.

And my eyes were feasting on the walls. The walls had paintings – must be made by the members of Asha Niketan. The painted human figures were not as beautiful as I did saw the Bal-Gopal’s paintings on the walls of temple. But these dull colors in painting were speaking aloud. They do make candles, cards and do sell them. ISKCON too make agarbattis, sweets and so many others things and help many needy persons.

Both are temples to serve the human kind. And the fact is, at the NGO’s, we don’t expect the blessing deity idol there, so most of us don’t go inside the NGO’s making a big queue. And of course in temple, most of us do like to go in queue or become life patron ( for shortcut entry or special treatment or big donation) for the essence of some assurance of heaven out of hell life or for fulfillment of some wish. Anyway in front of deity, we do chant and dance too.

Here they learn dance for therapy, dance for happiness and dance for friendship. SDIPA instructors do train the mentally retarded people free of cost, and make them dance on stage. Imagine the different level of grasping power of mentally retarded people. On the stage, all persons trying to follow the steps of instructor lately and one person just moving the hanging hands sidewards throughout the dance.

The dance of life.. in the different coloured beams focussed on us on the world’s stage. Yeah we all the dancers , tied with HIS strings.

We dance, act, sing on the stage of world. And there are some persons, who play the relationship acts beyond blood relations and they run the NGOs.

The deepest need of each one is to love and to be loved.” – the leaflet of Asha Niketan says.

Children’s Day Special

Today is Children’s day – the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. The day is celebrated as children’s day because he used to love children’s very much and hence the children used to call him “Chacha” ( Uncle) . So he became popularly known as ” Chacha Nehru”. Though international children’s day is 20th Nov. but in India, as a mark of birthday of “Chacha Nehru” we do celebrate it on 14 Nov. each year. I would like to mention that “Chacha Nehru was born on 14th Nov. 1989 1889 and died on May 27, 1964.

The above picture may look like as another snap. But I wish to say something about it. Few months back, in front of my house, where lower middle class people stays, I saw the kids playing “Teacher – Student ” . Their parents may be working in some factories or as house maids but the kids are really smart. The time was around 10 am in morning. Like every weekend their play was again “teacher-student” that day too. I have seen that, coming back from school, they do their homeworks first !

No one forces them to do so with sticks. At the same time, no one is needed to keep them away from video-games or TV screens. They are playing and enjoying “teacher-student” game on weekends. At the left door one little girl is sketching and other kid is seeing them. The little girl knows the school saraswati vandana complete. “नमस्ते सरस्वती देवी….. ” She sings that while playing. On the right door, a girl is reading the lessons of some story book loudly and others are listening to her. The Teacher madam sometimes lovingly scolds the students too.

Now a days, one family is not there now, so the teacher madam is not there to lead the play. Though I couldn’t understand their Kannada, but I can understand the language of budding childhood, which show the infinite prospects in them. It was a visual treat to my eyes. Happy Children’s Day !!

Respecting someone’s anger

I have heard about respecting friendship, love, elders, poor, sick and all the stuff. “Respecting anger” – a term though practiced many a times but in abstract words understood it for the first time during a farewell party.

In my recent home visit, I was enough lucky to be on the farewell party of my previous boss Mr. SPU , that was govt office. I have heard him speaking well in other officers’ farewell speech with good literary essence. On the day of his own farewell, he could not encapsulate the literary essence, being emotional that time. In plain words he acclaimed all his staffs, and praised the way they worked for the organization. The work in Finance dept. and specially in the state of Bihar, needs person like him for a better work environment.

Long ago, when I gifted him “The monk who.. “, right he was, when he told he is my like elder brother. He is a poet, editor and with a refined hobby of gardening.

Coming back to his farewell speech, his words were like.. “My staff have been cooperative. ….. at the times , I chided or even scolded them, as I could not hold my temper for the mistakes and process. And at the times, I had thought – loosing temper will affect the employee’s moral and repented myself. And I really felt sorry for that, I should not have lost that. But later on I found that as like my other words, they respected my anger well. And truly speaking, I am obliged to their respect. I have no words… “

Though I had never given him a chance of a slightest complaint, as in his words, when I resigned the job – “I was underemployed at the office” ! But about him, he is a emotional persona in fact. And at the same time, a perfectly balanced bureaucrat .

On Emotional Quotient meter, many of us fall in this category. And about respecting anger, the truth prevails, be it employer’s anger, or parents’ anger, friends’ anger or anger of a tired shopkeeper. To a very extent, we can bear it, as most of the time there is a valid reason behind a individual’s anger. Respecting a valid anger pays back – its the truth.

Nothing but attitude counts – Freshers’ software jobs

For last more than 8 months, this never met brother of mine, (another IGNOU student) was my second ‘scolded’ fresher in the job market. First one ‘Pra…’ is happy with her Accenture job.I like to associate myself with these guys, whenever I find time. What I see in these guys / girls- is their attitude to come up all odds and the tendency to win and win. Best organisations need ‘only’ them.

Here is the letter of the same guy I received now. Same feeling arose after receiving ‘Pra…’ SMS “Bhaiya, I got a job in Accenture ! “. And I almost jumped my seat. She got the job, few days before she was about to return back to UP.

For the time being, I am reproducing unedited letter received today for other freshers to read, though ‘Abhi..’ never knew this letter will go public ever ….

Hello Dada,
I have a very good news. I have gotten a job over here at Noida in CSC
(Computer Sciences Corporation) at the position of SAP Basis Administrator.
The Company shall provide all the necessary training and for that i had to sign
off a bond of two years with the firm.

Dada I owe you a lot, it’s because of you that I have been able to aquire
this job. It’s your motivation and guidance because of which I have been able to
prepare, revise and learn many different technologies simultaneously and it’s only
because of this reason that it didn’t take me long to revise Oracle based on which
this interviw took place. In the last whole month I appeared in atleast 3 rounds
of technial interviewin this firm and finally I got selected. My office is also
now very close from my residence. In a way it is very good that I didn’t have to
relocate to Bangalore coz my parents require my attention here a lot more than ever
now. My father especially coz he has been put on Insulin Shots since last two months.
I have only one regret now I wanted to meet you in person which didn’t happen. But
I am sure it will happen soon some time. Dada if you ever happen to cook some plan
of coming over to Delhi even for once please let me know. I am very eagerly waiting.
Also if I ever happen to visit bangalore or surrounding area’s ever I will most
certainly intimate you, and we will meet. ok dada. Please keep in touch. By the
way, I forgot to ask you dada. How is everything going on? How is everyone in your
family doing? please reply soon. waiting eagerly to hear from you.


Hope none goes unguided. Few more guys are under construction…


दीपा की शादी में मुहल्ले के सारे लोग जमा थे उस दिन सब खुशियाँ मना रहे थे । जैसा मामाजी ने बता रखा था – सोना उस रात बारातियों के लिए सारी व्यवस्था कर रहा था ।

सोना ने उस रात खाना भी नहीं खाया, उसकी प्यारी ममेरी बहन की शादी में उसे भुख भी नहीं लग रही थी । वैसे भी उसके यहाँ बहनों की शादी के दिन भाईयों को खाना नसीब नहीं होता है – जब तक सही सलामत विदाई न हो जाए ।

रात के ग्यारह बज चुके थे । पर जेनरेटरों की आवाज और दौड़ते – भागते और ठंड में भी आईसक्रीम माँगते बच्चे, और शहनाई की धुन में लगता था अभी भी शाम ही है । बंगाली बाराती के लड़के- लड़कियाँ और सजेधजे घरवाले । एक रात का नाच – गाना और झुठे – सच्चे वादे, छोटे मोटे तानाकशी और प्यार भरी शरारतें ।

शादी शुरू हो चुकी थी । पंडितजी नव-दंपती को अपनी नहीं समझ में आनेवाली मंत्र सुना रहे थे । सोना की माँ, मीनू सबके साथ मंडप के पास कुर्सी पर बैठी हूई थी । वैसे बेटियों की पसंद की हूई, क्रीम सिल्क की हल्की जड़ीदार साड़ी में आज वह खिल रही थी पर अब उसके चेहरे पर झुर्रियाँ साफ दिखती थी ।

अभी सोना बारातियों को जनवासा में रखकर मंडप के पास पहूँचा ही था कि मीनू उसे बुलाकर कह दी – अगर समय मिले तो हम सबके लिए काफी बनाकर ले आओ । पता चला कि भाड़े का काफी वाला जा चुका था और सभी को काफी पीने का मन हो रहा था ।

वैसे माँ की बात काटना उसके बस की बात नहीं । पर बगल में बैठी हूई थी सोना की मौसेरी और उसकी अपनी बहन भी – जो यह सोचकर मुस्कुरा रही थी – कि चलो सोना भैया हैं – अब काफी मिलेगा । कम से कम पचीस कप काफी बनाने में सहायता के लिए फैशन स्टुडियो की कोई मा़डल बहन आगे नहीं आयी – अगर साथ आयी तो फिर वही – छुटकी साँवली पियाली – सीधी साधी ।

मीनू अब भी देख रही थी – शादी की रस्में । बीच-बीच में कुछ मजाक भी कर लेती थी आस-पास की मेहमानों से । अचानक पीछे से आ खड़ी हूई – मधुजा की माँ – विद्या । और पता नहीं क्या सोचकर रख डाली अपने दोनों हाथ मीनू के कंधे पर । विद्या और मीनू में गहरी जानपहचान थी । वैसे विद्या थोड़ी अभिमानी भी थी – उसका एक कारण यह भी था – गोरी तीखे नयन नख्शों वाली उसकी बेटी मधुजा । मधुजा दीपा की सहेली भी थी पर उन दिनों एम एस सी की परीक्षा के कारण शादी में नहीं आ सकी ।

मीनू को विद्या को वैसा करना थोड़ा अजीब सा लगा ।

“क्या हो रहा है ।” – मुस्कुरा कर मीनू सिर उठाकर देखने लगी ।

विद्या ने फिर हँसकर थोड़ा वजन और बढ़ा दिया ।

“अब इस उम्र में इतना वजन कहाँ सह पाती हूँ ।” – मीनू दोनों हाथों को उलटकर उसके हाथों को प्यार से पकड़कर कहने लगी ।

अब थोड़ा बजन और बढाते हूए सिर झुकाकर धीरे से कहने लगी – ” मैं तो आपका वजन हल्का कर दूँगी – आप भी, अगर हो सके, तो मेरा वजन हल्का कर दो ना ! “

विद्या अब हँसकर भार हल्का कर दी । मीनू को सारी बातें समझते देर न लगी । बाकी कोई न समझ पाया कि क्या हो रहा है ।

मीनू के सपने वह खुद ही जानती थी । चाहती तो वह भी की सोना की जल्दी अंगुठी बन जाए । पर वही जानती थी कि सोना के लिए उसे क्या चाहिए – बस एक बिलकुल साधारण पत्थर खोजती थी – बाकी पारस पत्थर की कला उसे जो आती थी ।

मीनू कभी मधुजा की धुँधली छवि याद करती, तो कभी बारातियों और मेहमानों पर आँखें दौड़ाती पर उसका सिर अभी भी भारी सा लग रहा था ।

वह इंतजार कर ही रही थी – कि ट्रे में कप सजाए “साईड प्लीज – गरम काफी” ट्रेन भेंडर वाली स्टाईल में बोलता हूआ सोना आ गया था । मीनू कप उठाकर कहने लगी – “सोना, पहले आँटी लोगों को दो ।”

पियाली दुसरी छोटी ट्रे लेकर लड़कियों की तरफ चली गयी ।

The Bouquet

Excuse Me! – Perhaps she told for the second time. She was standing near to me.

“Is that seat no. 8 ?” – She asked politely pointing to the empty window side seat near to me. She was to be my co-traveler on seat no. 8.

I wiped my wet eyes under the specs with hanky. My lost attention from the world of feelings came back to the real practical world.

“Yeah sure!” – I tried to be normal and replied with a possible smile. I came out of my seat to give her way in. Volvo AC buses have enough
space to but the hand baggage. As I reached early, I had already put my bag and my flower bouquet there, so there was relatively less space to put her bag. While standing, she was thinking to put her bag in the luggage space.

“Let me do, I shall keep it.” – I said and took her bag from her. I guessed that my bouquet was taking more space than it needed. I took out the flower bouquet out and kept her bag there. In between the space of my bag and her, I made some space and put the bouquet. Now there was not enough space for the bouquet to lie comfortable. Now one fourth of bouquet along with Orchids were hanging out from the luggage space.

“Thank you” – She told.

“Its Okey”- I gave her way in. She went inside and sat in her window seat.

She looked fair wheatish complexion girl wearing cream colored t-shirt and denim jeans. Though her “excuse me” ascent had pure metro touch but her waist length three pleated tied hairs suggested that her preference to Indian ness again. While keeping her bag I saw the company name “Accenture” on it. May be the company she was working for.

On my seat, I closed my eyes again.

And as started from noon, my headache was unbearable. I closed my eyes again. But since last two hours -don’t know why, the vibrations echoed again and again – the words of Riya – I heard over phone at noon just after I came out the bouquet shop. She never wanted to meet me.

But inside the bus, I wanted to keep my eyes open. The mental situation was, if I open my eyes, my first glance used to go to the big glass in front of driver’s seat – to check if Riya might have come to bus stop and searching me around.

Still 5 minutes were left there before the bus start. Though the mobile was consistently in my hand, it may be the hundredth time I checked out if there was any missed call or a SMS. Some times I felt hallucination that Riya is around here and she called me – “Aakash”.

But she did neither come nor did call me back. More I thought on the words – Riya told me – more migraine type headache was there. I wished to go out of bus for few minutes and sit in the dark corner of bus stand and cry aloud. I wanted some relaxation, even for the moment from the headache that I was suffering.

The girl near my seat took out her earphones and played some soft rock in her i-Pod, as sounds were enough clear to me too. I didn’t have mp3 players. I wished for some time, I should ask for her earphones – may some music help to stop the vibrations of those words in my ears.

Taking out my specs, with the finger tips of my both hands, I tried to massage the area above nose, after wiping my eyes. I was still uncomfortable – and the girl now marked it.

“Any problem ? ” – She asked.

“No, its okey.” – I replied.

“No I just thought you are not well.” – She assured herself and so do I. Her voice though not very soft like my sister, but had some kind of soothing effect that time. And again it was a voice of a girl – I wanted to avoid that – but could not.

The bus started – and the girl did Pranaam touching the forhead with two fingers to forehead and then to neck. Might she did it habitually as many person do while starting the journey.

I was returning back to Bangalore without meeting Riya. I was looking out from the window. The girl was sitting folding hands together. But this girl again reminded of Riya. Do Riya look like her?

The bus was passing through the well illuminated night streets of the metro town. I was consistently seeing outside the window. Might Riya lived in these some streets. But don’t know when my pupils got wet and I had to carry out my hanky again.

Inside the town, the roads had speed breakers in large numbers. At those points the bus used to get slight jerks. In one of similar spot, on the jerk of bus, some little thing from the cabin baggage and fell down on the girl’s lap. It was a purple Orchid from the bouquet. As she was picking it up, with a consequetive jerk one another Pink Orchid fall on her.

I felt bad as the way flowers were falling from above. She picked them up.

“Nice Flowers !” – she told looking at me and picked them up, she got up slightly and put them back into the bouquet.

These words were though complimentary, but was not helping my mental situation any more. Again they were enough to remind me those words of Riya – she told me afternoon. I was unable to believe why Riya told me such things. Was I worth those words? I closed my eyes – the words reverberated my ears. I took out hanky to wipe my eyes in front of a girl !

I was not interested in her words anymore. But one thing I wanted from her. Her i-pod. I knew that’s the only medicine, that may relax me. Asking from a stranger girl was a big challenge and at the time, when she is hearing. But I needed something in the ears.

I thought to keep my ego aside and wished if I can hear her i-Pod for some time, if at least she had any soft corner at her heart.

“Can you let me hear your i-pod for some time?” – I requested her after opening my eyes and moving my head towards her.

She took out her earphones. “Ohk ! you want ? ” – Her expression was affirmative but she was not ready for this request from a stranger.

“Yeah, not feeling well ! Just some music, I want to hear. ” I said her honestly. And I added -” Do you have some Ghazals ?”

“Jagjit !” – She asked.

“Do you have that?” – I was surprised, so did asked.

“Mera fav. (My favourite) “ She replied with a slight giggle and she choose out the tracks and offered me the earphones.

The i-Pod sound was really a great thing- the feeling of a live concert.

Again this was a ghazal lyrics meant something, generated a deep urge again to call Riya for one more ‘last time’. While I was searching for her name, again her words haunted me hard, overriding the ghazals. Now instead of “call” button I thought to press “switch off” button. But I did not.

I was feeling bad as I was using her i-Pod and guilty for myself, as I am using her i-pod. Even then for around 20 minutes, closing my eyes, I was listening tracks after tracks and the girl was looking out of the window. The bus moved out of the town.

At Reliance Petrol pump the bus stopped for fuel. The inside lights were switched on. I took out my earphones, wiped them and offered her back.

“Thanks a lot ! ” – I said

“Its okay” – she replied and added “If want, you can hear more.” I was feeling much obliged for the soft corner in her heart.

“Nah listened enough, I have some work.” – I replied with a smile. I took out my dairy from bag and pen from pocket to write down an impromptu poem to purge out my inner turmoil. I kept the dairy back inside the magazine holder hanging in front of my seat.

The girl continued to hear with ghazals, as sounds and tracks were enough clear to be heard to me too. Though I felt uncomfortable place to write a poem there, I had to hide from the girl what I was writing.

The bus was coming out of the petrol pump towards the highway but suddenly it took a sudden break, as some stray Animal was passing by.
With this sudden break, we seemed to bent forwards and consequently some rose petals and again a purple Orchid from the hanging bouquet fell on her neck.

Within a while the bus moved smoothly on the highway. I guessed this girl will crush me for carrying such things and keeping there.

“Nice Orchids !” was her compliment again and she put them back and adjusted back the bouquet moving inside slightly

“Some one presented?” – she asked with a smile adding to the compliment.

“No” I replied and moved my head towards the boring video. But I could not stop to add “Was to be presented.”

“Okey, you bought for someone!” and she put her earplugs again.

I did not reply.

In the bus I don’t know when a video had started. Some movie of Sunil Shetty was going on.

“I dislike this fellow (Sunil Shetty – the main character of movie) ” she told me , “What kind of boring movie they put !”

I was not much a movie buff, so I could not talk with her much about the movie, me too felt that it was boring movie and the CD being played is scratched one.

Though interesting were the formal talks, but still I was not interested in her talks much, as again she was again a stranger of journey. But all her talks were taking me to my past and the woman’s voice – the words – Riya told me over phone, when I was packing bouquet for her that noon. I was just nodding.

Taking my hanky on face I closed my eyes – as neither had I wanted to see the movie nor I wanted to talk with the girl.

At the dinner time, the bus stopped again near to a good dhaba. I wanted to have some dinner. And the girl preferred to keep sitting, as she had some snacks with her in the bus. I came down and ordered a dinner plate. Since morning I had nothing that can be as meals. While taking dinner, with the recurring thoughts, still I could not finish the half dinner plate. I paid the bill and came out of dhaba. While other passengers were having sumptuous dinner, I walked around the bus. For around 25 minutes, the bus stood there. I got into the bus when driver started the engine.

She was having some “Goodday ” biscuit. She offered me with a friendly gesture. I took half biscuit though I was still hungry – to be exact not for food, but some soothing words.

May Riya call me up.

The girl on seat no. 8, though I was avoiding her, the fact was, she was an outgoing personality, I am sure. We talked formally. She was from Pune, but born of mixed culture parents. She worked at Accenture as Database Administrator. And was inspiring for CAT 2007. She brought up the topics of monday office that both of us had to reach. Subsequently, she brought up the topic of movies and than hobbies including blogging and to my surprise poems. Her liking was Chayavadi writers of Hindi. Hariwansha Rai’s Madhushala was her favourite.

While talking about poems, I remembered and saw my diary, kept in the front magazine holder, just sometime ago, I have written down a poem. The diary seemed to be kept in different direction than I kept. For a moment, I thought this girl might had read my diary, while I was down for dinner. May be she knew that, I was writing a poem at petrol pump stoppage. But I crushed myself for bringing up such a suspicious thought on a stranger girl, who was kind enough to lend me her i-Pod to hear. Might I myself have kept diary like that, as I was not in a sound mental condition.

We talked again on some other topics, but I was less interested still than her.

After some 20 minutes, she pulled out the earphones and spread up her blanket over her. I tried to sleep watching the boring movie and tired body.

I didn’t knew that when I slept. I suddenly became conscious when around late night, I found that I had my head lying on her shoulders, unknowingly. I felt really awkward. I positioned myself and slept again – but headache was less now.

I wake up around 6:20 pm and saw the morning at Bangalore. She woke up much before me perhaps, and sitting straight as if she was ready to get down, though Bus Stand was still 10 minutes away.

My guess was correct.

“I will get down here near Flyover.” and she told came out with her bag.

She bid me bye and went near to door to get down. This professional styled “bye” I disliked most.

She got down. The waist length hair though not much thick, but reminded me something. She looked more fair than, what I saw in night. She walked away and disappeared.

I was to get down the main bus stop after 5 minutes. The bus entered the bus stop and everyone was ready to get down. Being though I was sitting on the front seats, still I didn’t felt hurry to get down. There was a deep feeling that, my journey was incomplete.

All passengers got down. An elderly person and me were taking the luggage out. I decided to leave the flower bouquet inside the bus only, pushing it more inside the luggage cabin.

On the seat no. 8, I saw more rose petals and Orchids were lying, might have fallen the overnight.

I took out the diary from the magazine space. And I saw a white paper like ticket sneaking out from my diary, that was tucked inside my diary.

It looked same just like my bus ticket only. But my ticket was kept in my purse – how it came here?

I saw the reverse side of the ticket. It was someone else’s ticket. In the reverse blank area in a curly handwriting – someone had written.

“Best of wishes for your poems – I loved them. ” – Anu83@_ _ _ _ _ .com.

“What !!” – I was dumb struck. I saw again the seat no. 8 to recall the lady and the ticket at the same time. Was this the reason that at Dhaba, the diary changed its direction? – “She wrote it, but when?”

I was not willing to carry this complimentary ticket with me. I felt as my flower bouquet though now may be one day old one, but – that needed it more than me.

I pulled out the flower bouquet from the luggage cabin and gently tucked the complimentary ticket deep inside the flower bouquet. I kissed the bouquet. I kept it inside the luggage cabin again.

I came down the bus as last passenger.