………..I asked her whether she was from Mumbai, to which she replied ‘Yes’. She asked the same question and I replied Anand. Like many people, she didn’t knew about Anand, but as soon as I mentioned about AMUL and its Anand connection she said “Oh…the milk city”(You know ,very few really know about Anand, so from the next time I’m going to say that I’m from the Milk City of India. Hope they get it). We then talked about our respective trips to Bangalore, the continental food served (about which none of us had any idea), poor condition of Bangalore Airport and so on… I came to know that she was into Event Management and had recently organised a concert in Bangalore. When she realized that I am an Electrical Engineer, she took out her Walkman and asked me if I can fix it. This is one situation I have faced n number of times in my life. Whenever there is some electrical problem in the house/appliance others expect me to fix it, But when will they realize that I am a god damn Electrical ENGINEER, not TECHNICIAN. However, I couldn’t say NO to a beautiful lady sitting besides me, 30000 ft above sea level. I played with the walkman for few minutes and then gave it back to her telling that there is some trouble with electronics part which required replacement, even when I didn’t knew anything about it. We both finished our food; Airhostess took the plates back. She continued with her reading, and I started peeping…outside… thru’ the window.
After some time the plane descended, and I could see the lights of Mumbai. I had to catch a train to Anand from Central Station at 9.30pm and it already was 8. I knew that after getting down, I would have to catch local train to Central Station as Taxi and Bus would take lot of time in the busy evening traffic. To double-check my calculations I asked her and she agreed to it. I tried to act as if I was new to Mumbai and didn’t knew much about Local trains here. She asked me not to worry. As she also had to catch a train, she would accompany me till Santacruz station. I tried to act a bit and said that I am not very sure about this whole local train affair and that I’m suffering from Slip Disk and can’t stand for long time or lift weights/luggage (which was true),to which she replied that she would accompany in the local train till Central Station ,as she had nothing else to do that evening. I was delighted, but thought she was kidding. After circling around the airport for 15 minutes, the plane finally landed at Mumbai Domestic Airport. We got down and went to take our luggage. She was also standing besides me, maybe for her luggage. I took my bag and started moving and to my surprise, she too was coming with me. I realized that she had no bags apart from her handbag and was waiting there only for me. I was surprised, I didn’t expect her to accompany me to the station, I thought it was a joke but she was serious.. We got out and hired a taxi to SantaCruz station. Now I got suspicious. Why would a girl, and that a pretty good-looking Mumbaikar, who most probably had a boyfriend, would come with me to station.
We reached the station. I paid for the taxi and she went straight to the ticket counter. She had bought 3 tickets. She said that as I didn’t know much about local trains and had Slip Disk, she would come with me till Central and would then return to her home, which was in the opposite direction. I got more suspicious. Our train arrived at around 8.40. We got in. Surprisingly there weren’t many people inside. We got two adjacent window seats. I couldn’t understand why she was coming with me. I started putting the things together-here I am with a 20-23 yrs Female, from Mumbai, who earns and earns enough to afford Designer clothes/accessories and jewel studded cell phone, flying alone from Bangalore that too without any luggage except a small hand bag and who is beautiful enough to be a model. Then this strange thought occurred to me, Is she a…you know, into that business ….’No it cannot be’ I said to myself, but then anything is possible these days. I stayed quite and acted as if I was enjoying the cool breeze. She too was looking outside, thinking something, and only god knows what.
At around 9.15 we reached Central Station. We got down and started moving. Anyone who has been to Central Station knows that there are two sections, one for Local Trains and the other for Express/Mails and other long distance trains. Both the sections are separated. She said that since she had to catch a local train to get back she couldn’t come with till my train. Suddenly she started laughing. I was surprised. She said that we were together since the evening and still didn’t knew each others name. She said her name was Alps D’souza. I gave her my name. I was still suspicious. She looked at puzzled face and asked me what the problem was. I explained her that I couldn’t digest the fact that she had come all the way from SantaCruz to central just for me, even when her destination was in the opposite direction. She took out her ID and showed it to me. It was some Event management company’s ID with her photo on it, and had a Bangalore address on it. She told me the whole story.
She had arrived Bangalore 4 days ago for organising a concert. The airline guys had lost her luggage. All her money/clothes/addresses were in the bag. The ID had an address but since she was new to Bangalore, she didn’t knew how to reach that place. One of her co-passenger, who too had lost her luggage, helped her out. On reaching that place Alps offered her money for the help but was turned down. In return of her help, that lady asked Alps to help someone else, Only then will she be content. Therefore, she helped me out. Her train arrived and she got on to it. She wished me a happy journey and said goodbye. We bid farewell to each other and her train started moving. At this moment, I was shocked. Actually not shocked, but ashamed. I wanted to stop her but could not. Bloody Mumbai local trains are fast and won’t stop for me or at my will
It was 9.20, I had to move towards my train. I somehow dragged myself to the train. Even though I’m Six ft tall, I somehow felt small. Small as a human being. Here there is a lady who helps me out and I act as a stupid, thinking all bad things about her. Because of my suspicion, I didn’t even ask her contact number or mail id or address. With No contact how could I repay her for what she had done for me. Nevertheless, I knew the answer. “An Eye for an Eye – A Help for Help”.
And If any one of you meets Alps D’souza please Let me know. I have got Two Words for Her: “Sorry” and “Thankyou”.