We meet, we greet, we depart !!!!
This is the basic “funda” of life. We meet thousands of people in our lives but we don’t really remember each and every one. After few days, we forget their names, where we met them and sometimes we even smile back at people wondering if we actually know them. This is the way of life and our memory chip in brain is already flooding with so much data it tends to reject those not important. But some acquaintances/strangers leave an impression in your mind so strong that with just one meeting or facebook conversation you remember them or you wish to know them for what they are. Call it their aura or helpful nature or over all attitude, you get smitten by them and can’t let go. Today I want to write about one such person whom my dad met many years ago (when I was just a newborn baby) and till date he remembers him and thanks him. This is the story of a stranger who once literally saved my dad’s ass.
It was 31st December, 1986 (I was 2 months old) and my mother had a camp at Manchekal, a place quite far from our home town. Because I was a newborn living in my aunt’s house dad made extra efforts in bringing mom back home after her camp. So that at least for few hours mother daughter could spend some cozy time together. During camp days, dad left home around 10 pm to pick my mom and that night was no different. Around 12 am when they were riding back home in my dad’s Rajdoot near Bantekal he realized he was doomed for the night. A flat Tyre in the middle of the night on new year’s eve with a woman, was no bliss in disguise.
Unlike these days, the number of vehicles were close to zero at midnight and even today, in places like Bantekal hitchhiking in the night is impossible. So having no hopes left he parked his bike on the side and walked along with my mom. After walking for almost one km his heart stopped when a group of 8 to 10 guys dancing on “mumbai se aaya mere dost” circled them whistling and screaming. After all, it was New year’s eve and people have their own way of celebrating it. But at least they shouldn’t scare the public. When my mom and dad were sweating in their pants, the crowd left them alone but they were still close by dancing. Now they were scared and his gut told him to reach home as soon as possible. He was even ready to run.
That was when his “stranger for life” arrived in LML Vespa along with a pillion. It was hero’s entry for my dad. When my dad stopped him and explained his worst nightmare coming true, he offered his LML Vespa to my dad. I still don’t understand what on earth made him do that? How could he trust someone so blindly? But he did !!! However, my dad wasn’t comfortable riding a scooter back then; he refused. Then this guy made my parents wait on the road, dropped his friend back home and triple rode my parents to my aunt’s house.
Next day morning when my dad went back to his Rajdoot and got the Tyre fixed, he made a point to visit this stranger’s house (he did ask for address but never his name; funny). Being a Christian, on New Year’s day his house was flooded with alcohol and sweets. My dad shared a jug of beer with them and thanked him heartily for helping two strangers on the road who were surrounded by drunk dancers. Unlike other nights it was not safe on new year’s eve. Alcohol was surging through everybody’s veins and with a woman on board dad knew the odds. My dad still exclaims it to be the longest night of his life. All he was concerned about was his wife’s safety.
Even today, if somebody asks for lift my dad obliges (even with my persistent tantrums about strangers) saying he is only returning the favor of 31st December. So far all safe and I hope it stays that way.
PS: All images are downloaded from different sources via google.