O Stranger! How can I say Thank you!


..Dont know where it all started…but before I could realise..it was too late…I had already been attacked by..what I called “Crossophobia“…traffic panciked me…the very thought of crossing a busy road kept me at home on bright spring days…

You may term it as.. lack of confidence… I may not agree with you, but neither can I shoo it away completely ….Never for anything else in my life, have I felt …what I feel on seeing a road zooming with traffic…

Cars honking madly at each other..make me a lunatic ..The traffic signals, indications of the Traffic police have always gone over my head tangentially… I can swear by God…that Traffic signs for me are as apprehensible as Rocket Science..!! :D….

So Delhi…one of the most thronged cities of India…had always been on the top of my phobia list…

I had heard people say..”God puts you before what you most fear ..so that you will emerge courageous…stronger and  …victorious…”

And perhaps..for God ..I was no exception…

After drenching myself in the Mysore rains…I had to come to Delhi to gather dust…Cant say how and when…just as it was happening..I feel I have changed a lot..  Sure..it was to happen..the dust on the Delhi streets has settled over the rain drops clinging to my body from Mysore…and they have given me the smell of the dry earth being sprinkled with rain drops…. a colour of the golden mud…While some may call the smell and the sight..DIVINE…for others it can be just another repulsive sight…

So the cold war began… The Traffic… the Crowd would never stop for me…So.. why do I stop for them…??? I would wage a war..a Cold war…

And Sure enough …cold it was for me ..

With every sight of a road to be crossed..I got cold feet…and with every step I took while crossing it..I was drenched in cold sweat…cold were my heart beats and cold was I……Even after having crossed the road…the thought of having done so…. made me shiver from disbelief..for another fifteen minutes..cold blood rushing through my veins  and making me numb…..(or rather Dumb!! 😛 )….So cold it was for me…that it left me..frozen to death…

But then there were people…some people around me…well Colleagues at firstno rather friends… Perhaps much more than that….probably..One my Breath and the other my Beats… No …in Short..THE Rolly and THE Ahmad for me…

We had stuck by each other in the hardest of times…and put up cat fights in the most trifle of matters…I guess that describes all… 🙂

I clung to their palms…mine all sweaty…and theirs perhaps a Solace to me…                                                                                                            She would drag me safely and sometimes get reprimanded for that….and he would gently take me by my arm..never forgetting the basic difference that existed between him and me… 🙂

But it was a shortcoming …and I was unable to bear it..With each passing day…                                                                                                           An indistinct indifference irked me each moment of the day…I could hold their hands..while crossing my life…but I just didn’t want to hold them while I crossed the road… 🙂

I wanted a confident chuckle to burst from my cheeks with every cross-road in life …and I wanted to do it all alone…

So that I could stand up in front of the mirror and say…”Yes Pamela…You can do it”…and See my reflection wave back to me and say..”I trust you..”

Days went by …I stopped counting them as weeks rolled over…then there had to be months….and then there were the seasons…

I had dried up my tears in the dry autumn..that brought me to Delhi…I froze my emotions and crystallized myself into a cold stone..with the chilling winter….thinking that my fears would never spill out from my cold surface…

fortunately or unfortunately… I was wrong…

But then..after every winter comes a Spring…melting the ice crystals all over…I found myself changing again..hope to despair and now despair to hope….The hope this time was sweeter…perhaps the water from the melting ice is always better than the one which has never experienced seasons..

So…one day ..the Spring Bloomed a lovely afternoon in my life…

Rolly, Ahmad and I set out to the nearby Rail-Bhawan to fetch some tit-bits at the lunch break. It was the same story…I was the cheese in the Sandwich while tip-toeing through that busy road….

But the story wasn’t exactly the same…

Something changed…. and it changed Something forever…

On the way back…I received my Mummy’s call…and with the “Hello”..there also burst a giggle…an innocent and abrupt..grin across my face…and a loud….”WOOOOOOOOOOOW……Kete saara Pigeons… ” we had just intruded the chowraha..where hundreds of pigeons were flying hanky-panky….!!! Strange Sight…!!…and then…something even stranger…

A lean little girl ..Ummm not so little…probably just like me..clung tight to my arm…just as we were about to cross the road…Rolly and Ahmad were taken aback..and I stood there completely flummoxed…

Before I could ask ..a few quick words..”WhO…WhAt and WhY Me?”… She uttered something magical… which I was hearing for the very first time in my life…” I want to cross the road…and I can’t ..Please ..take me there…I ..ummmm…actually …..umm please…..”

Then ….did I think twice…?? Strangely No!!!…I mean I said …”YES!!! …ya sure…” and that..with such grace….as if I had been doing that …ever since I had learnt to walk..!! 😛

As if suddenly all wisdom struck me…As if I was not I , me not me….. Suddenly the sounds didn’t matter and the crowd faded away..the honking…it just seemed distant..everything vanished…all I could then see was the other end of the road..where she wanted to go…

I pressed her hands in mine…for the first time I wasn’t embarrassed by my wet palms….and the sweat in her palms..seemed like a coolant to me… :)..

we kept walking…oblivious of the noise, the traffic, the jostling crowd….the pigeons…The Rolly …The Ahmad…

I asked her …”how many years..in Delhi..”…She mumbled..6 years..and you?”..

I was proud to say..I have persisted.. 6 long months….since Sept 14…

then again..she asked..”which way are you going??”…..I returned….“which way are you going??”…

That was it…I went past my office …and walked with her…to the other side of the lane…

Something which I had never done before… all alone..not even for myself…

Then there was no losing time…I hicupped the last question…rather my last words…with her..”WHY ME?? !!?!”…

the reply makes me ponder even today…”You were happy to see those Pigeons…”..

She jumped over into the bus..there was no waving…there was no good-bye…not even a Thank You..

There was no time to ask her name…and there was no time to think..and determine what I got back …

There was just..No time to realise..I had one more road to cross alone…

Ahmad had come over ..to make me cross again…

But I couldn’t notice him…I think I crossed the lane..by myself..

Rolly and Ahmad..were chortling with laughter…saying…”Pammi should get a Bravery Award for the feat…One who doesn’t know how to cross herself…sets out guiding others… :P”..!!!

But then it hardly mattered…I knew what I’d got..

I was at the crossroad of my life…not knowing which step to take and how big my step should be…and whether to take the right or that which was left… I didn’t know..it myself…

And she was a Stranger…How did she know..what I was to do???..I’m perplexed…” How did she know that getting across the Central Secretariat Crossing …would make me get across the Crossroad I was standing at in life…??

I   don’t promise …I will begin to like the Delhi crowd…the mad traffic….                                                                                                                            I don’t promise ….I wouldn’t be scared to cross the road alone..ever again…                                                                                                            I  don’t promise I would gracefully walk across and never panic….

But I certainly do promise…I will wipe my sweaty palms on my T-shirt…won’t be embarrassed that I panic….Look   at the Bhagwanji’s wallpaper on my cellphone…smile to myself and say….”Yes..you have done  it before …and you can do it now…you can trust YOURSELF Pammi…Go on…”

I cannot muster up words to mumble…What I have got from YOU…

Neither will YOU ever know….that…

“You have given me …ME…the me that I had always longed for…

Lucky that you didn’t say a Thank you…because I don’t know how am I to pay back…what you have given me….You have gifted me your confidence and You have gifted me mine too dear…

Just tell me….Tell me please…

O Stranger….how can I ever say …THANK YOU….

hmm atlast...I did it..

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10 responses to “O Stranger! How can I say Thank you!

  1. That was so sweet!
    Strangers like that are for lucky ones. Reminds me of Lang Leav’s piece “Angels”. That’s what they are. They come, they help, and they leave.

    Wasn’t it just wonderful how ‘you’ who were afraid to cross roads and took help from your ‘friends’ actually took a girl all way because she asked? Love your writings, as always. Enjoyed reading this.

    • Maria. You are the sole blogger to “like” this 🙂
      And you know what, you are one such Angel in my life.
      When someone reposes their faith in you, you automatically become a believer, although you were a cynic before…the same happened with me. And im so glad that it happened. Delhi is my first love, and its strangers have taught me so many strange things, in such strange ways…I always miss it so much here 😦

  2. in short, you’ve crossed the road. itnaa jyaada kyon likhte ho yaar.

  3. As children, many of us were taught never to talk to strangers.so i acutely belived tht the possibility of fraud is more prevalent in today’s world if we get the opportunity for instant communication wid strangers….and now after goin through this particular entry of urs..i wud proudly recommend …u may nt talk,but do take a walk wid strangers….may b good things happens when we meet strangers….
    thank u for this entry……

  4. rocky nani,
    you are really great. you have the ability to transform daily life experiences into magical, majestic writings. i’m very happy for you. i’m proud of you, my cutie pie!
    nickie.

  5. Thanks Rolly..tum ko mera Brand Ambassador hona chahiye… 😛
    Kitna praise karti hai… luv u!!

  6. just to throw light on some facts…………… this day was the historic day of 25TH FEB. 2010…….. Kindly every1 make a note of it……… :-)………. i’m proud of u pammi………… i believe now i should write a blog when last week u helped me to cross the road ( after having that samosa in the breakfast ……. do u still remember that dear???) ……… all the bravery was clearly visible on your face that day when somebody confidently declared “Come, I’ll help you cross the Road today”.

  7. thnx dear…
    by d way..nice poem too.. 😛

  8. hmmm….
    as always…. very well written n expressed….

    like a war won without spears….
    it really made me go into tears…

    understanding what is in front of your eyes is a piece of cake…
    but the deal is finding the difference between real and fake….

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