Cauliflowers and Autorickshaws
It was evening and the sun was still on the horizon, shining sweetly at people who wanted some light. She walked along little streets, thinking to herself, making some phone calls on her cell phone and making notes in her mind about the things she needed to do. Groceries, change of clothes, gym and such. Things you and I think of on otherwise normal evenings.
She crossed the main road. Cauliflowers. It is cauliflower season in this part of the world. She’d seen vendors in pushcarts selling big, fresh cauliflowers neatly stacked one on top of the other. That is what she wanted to get before she went home.
Traffic went by, there did not seem to be many auto rickshaws at that time. Most of them were away in schools picking kids up and then dropping them off home. She played a bit with her hair, tossed it around and waited impatiently on the side of the road.
And then he came along. In his yellow auto. They didn’t have to bargain too much. He was wearing one of those big rings on his finger which had the picture of a movie star from yesteryears. He went on to tell her many things. He had three children and he was putting money in the bank for their college education. One of them liked sweets while the other two liked spicy snacks. He got them biscuits and peanuts and sweets.
He told her how they saved money, the expenses, and the loan on the auto that he had to pay every month. In a year and a half, this auto will be mine, he said. He told her that his eldest daughter got him that ring when she went to buy a gold bracelet. Both together cost 20K. He seemed a like a charming fellow, working hard with his family to make ends meet. He seemed like a guy with his plans in place, like a guy who smiled a lot and took things in his stride.
Being swept over by all these details, the mundane details of everyday life, this little peep into another person’s world made her smile in her mind. On the way, they found a pushcart selling those fresh, big, bright, happy, smiling cauliflowers. She got two. One for him and one for her.
She smiled at him and also gave him a tip when she got off at the gate of her apartment. A tip and a cauliflower for this peek into his life. For making it seem while the ride lasted that life works out one way or the other. That funny though it may seem, she felt comforted that these things are enough to keep one occupied and smiling. That you can feel content in working just these details out.
Cauliflowers and an autorickshaw ride can make your evening, do you know?