I had a rough day, so I booked an auto for home. I was very disappointed, angry and hurt that time. I had lost my ability to judge anything in my surroundings and all I wanted was to run home as soon as possible.
“hello ma’am, I am waiting for you at the marked location.” the driver called.
I went to the place, shared with him the OTP, put the earphones on and got lost in the song.
“there’s a hope waiting for you in the dark. you’re beautiful just the way you are”, playing, and my tears rolling down, one after another.
“madame, I am the same driver you left the extra change with the last time. You live in F-block, don’t you?” said the man.
I looked at him through the mirror, only to convince myself that I did see him before. I smiled, while agreeing to his apprehension.
“yes.” I said.
“see, I am 55 years now, but I remember everything! Haha.”
I took out my right earphone. Just because I thought he was trying to put me up. I don’t know if he figured out about my day, or he really found comfort while taking to me, but he continued.
“ma’am, I have kids of your age. You know, they went to a school. My elder daughter goes to the college, while the younger one is still in school.” his face lighted up with joy and pride. “I also wanted to go to school.”
” but life you know… ” he continued. Turning grey, and pale. I could feel the crack in his voice, I could feel the pain and the agony of the man who then said, “life isn’t easy. Life isn’t hard on you either. Life is the outcome of your reaction. Of how you interpret and react to it.”
He takes and pause, looks at me through the rear view mirror, we exchange a warm eye contact. I acknowledged his words and pain. He then passed a dead grin. I looked at him again, sticked to the road, eyes that were filled with tears. All that his mind had, all that hurt his heart was almost up till his throat. I guess, he wanted to go on. I was eager to know. But wasn’t ready to take more of stress. Maybe he wanted to let out to a stranger. But maybe he understood that I wasn’t really string enough to hear him out. So he, just like all of us gulped it down. Down it went like a trail of blood. Chocking his heart once more.
The rain started to fall. The thunder louder than the voices inside us. That moment I realized, how hard it is to let out what we carry in our hearts. I realized, how coward one can be, to not listen to anyone else’s pain because they themselves are hurting. I understood, conveying the pain and grief to anyone else is much more difficult than keeping it within and hurting ourselves. But I also got to know how it’s easier to let it out to people you don’t know.
It made me realize what we’ve made of ourselves. Ruthless beings. Shredded and wounded. Greedy and malice. Probably, we are just living together forming an economy, but we’re not together to hold each other.
I thought of it, while still sitting in the auto, what If I’d listen to him? Maybe he’d felt a bit lighter. Maybe he and I won’t cross paths ever again, but the story that he was about to tell me would’ve outlived this 30 mins journey. But alas, despite of me wanting to know what happened in his life, and despite of him wanting to share his pain, we remained quiet.
The sound of brakes. A pause. Piercing voices. So many questions. Too many curiosity. Rain. And thunder.
“madame, here is the destination, 43 rupees!”