“Ouch!” I exclaimed, as my thumb cut on the sharp edge of the metal jutting out of the entrance door. Cussing and groaning, I clutched the wounded thumb with the other hand; blood dribbled out of it. I glanced at my wrist watch. 10.00 am. My client might have already reached the office; an important deal had to be sealed; and here I was, with a wounded thumb – now, how would I ride my bike? There was no one around who could give me a lift, and, now as I come to think of it with twitch of annoyance at our Government, no bus ran on the office route. Life had thrown me a tangy lemon…
My office was fifteen minutes away on foot…I decided to walk.
I could hardly remember the last time I had walked to office. Wheels have replaced feet, you’d agree. Humans have become too lazy to walk, too dependable on scooties and cars. It would hardly be any surprise, if future generations are born with wheels instead of legs!
Halfway to the office, I stopped by the medical shop and bought a Band-Aid. As I wrapped it around my wound, the shopkeeper asked: “Bade din ke baad dikhe ho, bhai. Kahan the? (Long time since I saw you. Where have you been?)”
“Hamesha Yehi par tha…(I’ve always been here),” I replied.
The shopkeeper considered me for a moment, almost hesitating, as if tethering on the verge to speak, then turned away, took out an envelope from the drawer and handed it to me, “Bet ki Shaadi ka card hai. Aana hai (My daughter’s wedding. Accept the card. Please do come)!”
I congratulated him and after few more minutes of chatting, went along my way, with the card safely under my briefcase. Well, walking has its own benefits. You meet people and suddenly you are invited!
It was a hot summer’s day with the full glare of the sun upon me. I looked around – No auto-rickshaws to my aid; no pedaling rickshaws to my rescue…where have they all gone?
Wiping the sweat off my forehead, I quickened my pace and passed by a thelawala (street-vendor) selling fruits and fruit-juices, and stopped. I didn’t know what made me stop, but something had my caught my attention. Perhaps, it was my thirst.
“Saheb…kuch chaiya kiya? (Do you want anything)?” the vendor asked.
“Nimbu-pani (Lemon-sherbet)” I said, pointing at the tennis ball shaped lemons. It seemed like ages since I had tasted a road side nimbu-pani. Pepsi, Cola and those branded, fizzy drinks were the usual dominants.
Like a Samurai welding a sword, the vendor deftly sliced the lemons in halves, squeezed them out into a glass, poured cold water, added a pinch of soda and black salt, and gave me with a flourish. My mouth was already watering. I took a sip. Ahhhh…As the sweet-sour sherbet caressed my tongue, cascaded down my throat and purged my thirst, I felt a surge of delicious relief, momentarily forgetting my office worries and thumb pains…
Downing the entire glass at one go, I paid his fees, burped my thanks and hurried on, a smile on my face.
I was secretly pleased that my thumb had been injured, quite glad that I had stopped by the medical shop, happy that I was walking and no wheels had rescued me. And, yes, I was so thankful to life for throwing me tangy lemons and very grateful to the vendor for gifting me a glass of delightful lemonade.
I have made up my mind: At least twice a week, I would walk my way from home to office. And stop by to enjoy the tangy lemons and the lemonade…Really. What about you?