I heared the cock-a-doodle-do three or four times. With every iteration it was growing louder. With my eyes half open i ran my hand over the table. I knew where exactly i had kept my cell and with precision pressed the snooze button. It had taken me more than 4 months to master the art of locating the right button on the cell. I battle my self most of the mornings. I am in a kind of cross roads where my heart wants to continue with the wonderful dream land which seems at eternal bliss and my mind drags me to this very cruel physical world. As usual my heart is too weak to win this battle and i had to give up.
I checked the time. It was 6.15. "Damn! Few more minutes in the wonderland wouldn’t have hurt." My bus arrives at exactly 7 am. I still had 45 minutes. I took out my wallet from the draw and very carefully retrieved Hanuman Chalisa. Then walked into the "Devara Mane". A small room where we have some 4 to 5 frames of gods and most of the room is occupied by the ration of the PG. Infact not long back out PG owner had put a bunker in it expecting more income. Alas he had to retract. I finished my Hanuman Chalisa, bowed to the gods and took their blessings. I dont really know i would have got any blessings. Purely because i hardly recite chalisa with concentration and devotion.
"Oh God. How come the God is praying to other gods!" Avinash was chuckling. "Well I am God unto myself. Not for others." I replied back. So much for calling myself God. Well its another story.
It was 6.30. I couldnot even switch on the TV so early. Its not that anybody can complain or reprimand me for that ( not many in PG dare to mess with God ), its just that other than bhajans and keertans you wont find much on TV at that hour. I decided to spend some time at the bus stop itself instead of looking at the boring faces in PG.
I was watching the vehicles zoom by, few old guys walking briskly and ofcourse few girls comming back from aerobics. I wonder what makes these girls go to aerobics to lose weight. You need to have weight to lose it. Right? "High profile, peer pressure, healty habit..." Everything i read about latest teenage tendencies. "From where do these papers get such polls and statistics. I have never been asked in any of the pool." Then i remembered. I have crossed my teenage long back. Well not so long back either. Suddenly i realized i was heading towards 30's in a couple or more years. I dont have issues with the age but i certainly have issues being single. Its hard to socialize, specially in metros, without a partner, girlfriend, lover , figure or whatever you call that must have entity for all guys well below my age. "May be i am too old for that now." " or may be i am safe away from the mayavi world of love,betrayel and all those big banner filmy emotions".
Then i saw her. Neatly dressed. Weathish skin glowing like gold in the morning sun rays. Lean. Dark black hair tightly held as if the night was retracting back to where it came from. Her face was radiating. She was on the other side of the road. Something about her smile made me feel energetic. As she came nearer i saw her eyes. Dark and Deep. I have seen those kind of eyes only in few people with determination and no nonsense attitude. My dad has also got those kind of eyes but his convey lot more. I was mesmerized.
As she approached nearer to me i was filled with joy. The bliss and innocence on her face seemed to influence me. Her face was as fresh as the jasmine in her hands. Once she was on the side of the road where i was standing she stood waiting.
All the vehicles on the road came to halt. Few motorists ignored the signal which is very typical. If they hadn’t broken the rule i would have believed i was dreaming. It assured me all is well with India. The girl walked into the standing traffic and approached a black Zen. An old man in his 60's was at the steering wheel. In the back seat were what i am sure his grand children neatly dressed in school uniform. He was driving them to school.
"Lucky kids." i thought. In my school days we had to battle with hell lot of troubles to reach school and back. though we had school bus plying it was merely on paper. I still remember other school children walking from RGS to Station so that we can get other school bus. And the walk was 5 Kim’s. "Times have changed."
This girl tried to sell her jasmine but the Grand Old Guy didn’t buy. She persisted but old guy seemed to be very reluctant. With out wasting any time she walked on to a nearby auto. The auto guy was more interested in kidding with her than her jasmines. She next tried her luck with an alto, a van and even few motorists with out succeeding. I was watching all this and was really impressed with the kind of patience the girl had.
Her patience and persistence showed her maturity. She knew exactly what she was doing and what she wanted. Again all the vehicles were zooming by.
"People running with life or against it. I will never know?" She again came to where i was standing. May be she was conscious of my obeserving. She gave me a warm smile.
"Luck illa?" I said. She didn’t utter a word. She was busy adjusting her jasmines properly.
Before i could ask her anything more the traffic came to a halt and she was back at work. I looked if my bus arrived but it hadn’t. With a relief I went back to my observation. Something about this girl attracted me.
Second attempt was also not successful for her. And yet her face did not show any sign of frustration.
When she came back again near me I asked her again
"Not many people buy jasmines at traffic junctions. Why don’t you just go and sell in the shops"
She looked at me disapprovingly as if I was the most ignorant and dumbest person on the earth. She didn’t say anything.
Again traffic came to a halt and this time she was successful. Meanwhile my bus arrived and i boarded it. I was looking at the boring and lazy faces in the bus. I sought out a comfortable window seat. As i looked outside the window i saw her. She was standing facing me with raised hand. She was beaming with smile. I did not notice at first but then i saw it. A five rupee coin carefully placed in the little hands. A smile escaped from me. I was happy. Happy because the little girl had made her first sell for the morning. Happy because she knew what it was worth. Happy because She savored every success of hers. And she deserved it.
Five rupees coin. Well it may not be worth much for many but try earning it at the traffic signal in the morning when people are on the run.
Never did she lose her patience. She had to be radiant and always had smile on her face. She had to be persistent. She had to keep trying. And all of all she had to do this every time the traffic came to a halt. She will fail most of the times. But she has keep selling. She can’t come back nor blame her luck. It’s her effort that keeps her going.
It’s what my dad called "ENDURANCE".
I gave her a thumbs up and she seemed to acknowledge it. With green signal my bus moved and I closed my eyes to catch a short nap. Not many mornings in my life have been this fulfilling.