Of Strangers and Friends

Posted: August 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It was a day like any other.

This city, had traits that defined it. The people kept to themselves, hurriedly walking one way or the other, consumed in some thought of theirs, the birds chirped, the cars honked and the traffic moved at its never changing pace. The only unusual thing was me walking towards the bus stand at 2 in the noon, a time when I am usually sitting at my desk, sleeping away to glory. But then here I was, walking a road I had never set foot on before, wandering aimlessly, for a wise friend had once said,  ‘in order to be found, you need to be lost first…’

I for one had taken her seriously.

I had started from my office, in a moment of inspired action (read ‘receiving the salary check’) and proceeded to do the needful. That was how I ended up on that road, a few kilometres away from my office. Humming some familiar tune, I walked on, lost in my own thoughts, barely noticing the multitude of people walking past.

“Excuse me” came a not so distant voice, sudden and stabbing. I looked around, my world and my thoughts breached by three simple syllables. Standing beside me was a girl, cute in her office paraphernalia. Judging by her demeanour she could not have been more than a year senior to me.

“Excuse me, can you please direct me to the nearest ATM?’ she said again, looking at me.

It’s not often that you are stopped in the middle of the road by some girl, but it was an unusual day after all, and before I realised it, I was giving her directions to the one ATM that I had come across. In that moment I was no longer someone who had never set foot on that road before. I could hear myself tell her the exact distance and the name of the bank that she’d find nearby.

The aimless roving had its benefits, however small.

You generally expect people to move on as soon as you have given them what they want. An occasional thanks, is the most you expect. But again, this was not a usual day.

She said thanks, and then smiling, she held out her hand. “Hi, I am Anshika” she said, smiling her disarming smile. I was taken aback. When something unexpected happens, people have the tendency to go into a mental lock down. I was no better. I could not help but notice the confidence that simmered in those pretty eyes, the way she could so easily find her way with words while I fumbled. Her hands were still held out, waiting.

“Kshitij”, I said, taking her hand. “So where do you work?” She asked. “I am interning at Disney”,  I replied, all the more aware of the ID card hanging around my neck, screaming in big black letters, the name of the company I was interning at. I knew she’d seen it.  Why did she ask then?

I guess that’s how random conversations follow. You ignore the assumptions and flaunt your ignorance.

Hours passed, as we stood in the middle of nowhere, talking about everything under the sun, strangers an hour back, and friends anon. We parted ways that evening, she with her directions, and me with a smile, each fostering a friendship that we’d never forget. Not in the many years to come. I looked at the number I had in my hand, still smiling, still amused.

“An unusual day”, I murmured, as I boarded the bus back home.

It’s a strange place, this world. And this I know for a fact.

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