The light turns red. The timer starts its countdown from 49. I am going to miss the 8.46 train. Will be late for the meeting. Work frustration has begun rather early today. The colleague calls in unwell. The one who gives me a lift everyday. I have to cajole my dad to take a break from his morning tea and paper and drive me to the station. I guess I have ruined his morning.
Hello. Hello sir. Good morning.
Someone bellows. An old man has pulled up next to us. Wearing a dirty cream colour, full sleeve shirt, checks, buttoned till the collar. On his head rests a cap with the logo of a public sector company. New year freebie. One of those having cheap sponge filling and a hard plastic visor that breaks when you try to bend it. He is riding one of those auto gear scooters which are targeted for girls. At good morning I have pretty much decided - the poor old man is senile. I glance at my dad and he has this look on his face. One that I decipher into - How the hell has this mad man got hold of a bike?
Good morning sir.
He shouts. Indian roads are noisy and loud. But by the way he shouts, I have pretty much decided that he is as deaf as he is senile. The other people waiting alongside him seem to have come to the same conclusion. My dad still has the 'he has escaped from an asylum' look fixed on his face.
Good morning sir. I just wanted to wish you a lovely day. In Europe people wish each other all the time and I want to wish you today. When you go to sleep today you will remember me wishing you at the beginning of the day at this traffic signal and smile.
Ok. Maybe he isn't so senile after all.
And what is more, today happens to be my star birthday. Today also happens to be my wife's birthday. So I am wishing you on my birthday and my wife's birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day.
My dad has this huge grin on his face and he smiles an acknowledgement. The light turns green and the old man scoots off. In less than a minute, an insane man has become a kind, gentle soul with a great disposition towards life.
He was wrong about one thing though. I didn't remember him when I went to sleep that day. A month later I find myself writing this post.