Day: A few weeks back
State: That of extreme hunger
Issue: No place to sit and eat :)
I surveyed the vast cafeteria. All the tables were occupied. There were a few people who had ‘reserved’ the seats for some people who would be joining them later. I had gone all the way to the supposedly empty place only to be informed that ‘someone would be coming.’
One look at the watch reminded me that I had been waiting for the past 12 minutes. Thank God Aki was on holiday. Otherwise we would have ended up as the contestants of “Who is more hungry?” contest. At last, I spied a lone seat at the far end and made an immediate grab for it. Within minutes, I had finished my lunch – I had never realized the extent of my hunger.
The crowd continued unabated. As I was moving towards the exit, I noticed a pregnant lady coming towards me in the opposite direction, precariously balancing a tray full of food. For a moment, I was in a fix. She too paused in the act. Why? The tables were placed so close to each other that, at a time, only one person could pass between them. Ya ya … I know that it was an excellent arrangement, but there was nothing I could do about it.
Impulsively, I took the tray out of her hands and placed it on the table. I beckoned her to traverse the length of the table. She looked a bit taken aback (well.. who would not if a total stranger grabs your food). But she got the drift of what I was trying to convey. Soon, after a few maneuvers (during which I thanked my stars that I was, atleast, not fat), I got her seated on the table. A smile, a wave, and I left her to enjoy her lunch.
State: Blank (was staring outside the window)
Issue: Yet to face.
A voice broke my reverie – “Is anyone sitting here?”
I looked up to see the same lady. I smiled and nodded in negative. She sat down and immediately asked me, “Thanks for helping me that day. So many people chose to look the other way. So, I was kind of surprised when you helped me out.”
I was silent for some time before replying, “You see, my Mom had to travel by a crowded bus for around 10 kms to reach her place of work while she was pregnant with me. And not even once, had she traveled standing. So, this is my way of thanks.”
She searched my face for some time (perhaps to see if I was joking, but I was dead serious). We completed the rest of the journey in silence. Perhaps I had insulted her in some obscure way. Sheesh…..me and my big mouth !!
So, I was all the more surprised when I saw ‘Thank You’ mail in my mailbox this morning with a note “There are some emotions which render us speechless. Gratitude is one of them.”