Just like every other night, this one was dark too, but not me. Sitting on a rickshaw and chatting to the rickshaw puller, I was feeling on top of the world. I was loaded with numerous shopping bags but they were not at all bothering me.
I never knew that even I could enjoy shopping as much as every other girl on the planet is known for. But I did enjoy and every bit of it.
After all, it was my wedding I was preparing for and everything around me was coming alive with emotions of joy and love. The mere act of shopping became more fun because of my loving sister Avantika and the gem of the show, the rickshaw puller who seemed overjoyed taking us from one place to other and letting us choose our options and waiting attentively for our return from those shops.
The man was tall over 6 feet, muscular and hansom in his own right, only that his hair and clothes were dirty and his appearance a bit unkempt. The longer I saw him the more his face resembled Mohit Raina, the famed TV celebrity. His chatty and flamboyant nature kept me curious about him as well. It felt like he isn’t riding rickshaw but swaying rhythmically on some imaginary music and all the while keeping me engaged in his talks. During the conversation he told me about his being a Muslim but having faith in all the religions. He has even visited many temples to pacify his curiosity and he said that he is not at all sorry even if his fellows deride him for such acts.
As the day came to an end with the night getting dark and shops getting closed, I was to get off the rickshaw. My day was over with the shopping and sadly with the good-natured rickshaw puller as well. Suddenly he saw a bunch of newly purchased books in one of my bags and asked, “You read books too?” The mild surprise registered on his face was somehow misplaced as I couldn’t understand why should he be surprise. I said “Yes, of course. Why do you seem surprised?”
“I am only interested, you know I also read a lot, that is when I find time from my day work.” He went round me and opened a chest sort of container in the rickshaw and showed me many books , some of English authors, many of Hindi and Urdu authors. Few books that caught my eyes were monthly Urdu magazine that mostly housewives prefer for their time-pass – Mahekta Aanchal and Khubsoorat Andaaz. I couldn’t find them to read in a long time and that gave me an idea.
“Will you sell these books to me? I haven’t read them in a while when I loved them in my teens.” I asked. My sister was flabbergasted by the way I was talking so knowingly with that stranger. And where she was amazed on the assortment of the books the puller has as his prized possession, I was hanging on his yes or no for those Urdu magazines.
And guess what, he said, “OK, if you want to but I never sell my books. You can take them to enjoy as your own.” That left me dumbfounded. So big a heart in so grounded a man of his occupation.
Emotionally stimulated, I invited him to my wedding and took his mobile number to send him invitation card when they will come after getting printed. His face jovial a few moments ago was awash in an unnamed emotion. He accepted and I paid him more than his fare out of feeling good with the day as it turned out.
And then the night was over, in my bed too!