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   Chapter 6 A street vendor

Aberration By Sundaram Characters: 5678

Updated: 2020-12-29 06:05

There was the usual festivity about people in view of the oncoming Christmas and New Year. One day prior to the X-mas they held a conference in Coimbatore. It was a state-level conference and it was to discuss ways and means to procure adequate funds from the government. I represented the division and attended the conference. It lasted till 6 pm on 24th instant. At the time of the year, I had my headquarters in Salem. It's seven pm when I reached the bus station. The seven pm bus had already departed meaning that I had to take the last bus to reach Salem. The last bus was to start at 9 pm; finding it difficult to sit in the bus station I walked to the nearby bazaar. It's always thrilling to watch people shop rather than shopping ourselves. There was a famous restaurant. People make it a point to visit it whenever they happen to pass by even if it's not for eating tiffin at least for taking a cup of coffee for the brew was that good. Out of impulse I walked into the cafeteria and ordered my favorite masal dosa. Munching with relish and a good swig of coffee, I finished my dinner. Minutes later I was passing the flower bazaar and sighted the yellow shenbagam flower. I bought five flowers and paid twenty-five rupees. The flower is like a rose but the smell out it is very enticing. Even the roses one can buy at one rupee per flower whereas the shenbagam flower is costly. The shenbagam flower is there in two colors yellow and white. These two are equally fragrant but yellow is most preferred for the auspicious color. While nearing the bus station I crossed the famous English bakery. This bakery has been there since British times. Their bakes are very famous and delicious. I bought the flowers as my wife would love wearing them on her plaits. But my little son would crave cookies and cakes. I looked at the watch. It's still half an hour to nine o'clock. I hurriedly packed a quarter kilo of butter cookies and half a dozen cashew cake pieces. I paid and rushed to the bus terminus. I had a feeling if I had the required money to buy the ticket and board the bus. The last bus is an express one and they normally charge a bit more than what it's on other buses. I checked and I was aghast. I had with me only twenty rupees. The ticket cost is thirty. I just then remembered I had bought stationery near the office for thirty rupees. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a problem at all. I was fidgeting as there were only fifteen minutes to go. Overcome by my thoughtless activities I walked to the ticket counter and managed to get a token though there was a heavy rush. Left with only five minutes, I summoned resolution to approach a gentleman who was also waiting to board the bus. The bus was yet to arrive from the depot. "Sir" I began, "I'm short of ten rupees to buy a ticket to Salem. I don't know how it ha

ppened though I had with me sufficient money. Maybe I missed it somewhere. Please give me ten rupees sir. I saw you getting a token to travel to Salem. I promise I'll give you the money back tomorrow. If you tell me where you reside at Salem I'd go in person and pay you back.""Don't disturb me. I've seen people acting more subtle." He said and moved away so as not to face me. Even a mendicant could've helped me if I had asked! Never once I had an experience like this in the past. I even thought of hiring an auto-rickshaw for twenty rupees to go back to the office so that I could halt free of cost and leave the next day early morning after taking money from some colleague. But if I didn't reach home my son would be disappointed. He would await me with great hopes and the things he ordered me to buy. Staggering at the gates to the bus station I ran into a swarthy looking man. He yelled: "Watch out. You could've got trapped under my cart if I didn't stop. What're you dreaming while crossing the road?""I'm terribly sorry brother. I'm in a rush to catch the bus." "But you seem to leave the bus station. If I remember correctly you've been loitering here quite for some time. You look so pale. Tell me what's eating you? You called me brother and I'm bound to help you."I felt his words really comforting and I started noticing his cart and the small edible snacks he had stored in the cart. Seeing me looking at the snacks he said, "C'mon young man would you like a bite of any of these items I've here?""No ….no brother. I've a problem and I'm worried.""Leave it to me. You want any cash?""I was stunned at the humanity and straightness in his behavior but where'd I place the other gentleman who even shunned my presence?"I told the street vendor the reason behind my situation. Within no time he pulled out his pocket a fifty rupee note and handed it to me. Taking the note in my trembling hands I said I was Sundar and asked for his name and address. Before I had time to exchange a few words the bus was moving to leave. The vendor pointing to the bus said, "Sundar please get into the bus. You can catch me here in this bus station almost all night." And the bus picked momentum and I'd only wave bye to my friend from nowhere. I reached home only to see my little boy keeping himself awake. I scooped my boy and he was so happy. "See mommy I told you dad will get me all the pastries." He cuddled on me with joy as he duly received the Christmas gifts. My wife was beaming as I handed her the priced bunch of flowers. All this I owe to the Good Samaritan who appeared all of a sudden when I was struck with a predicament. One would be interested if I returned the fifty rupees to him on a later date. I'm sorry to say I never again met him despite my thorough searches. Aberration of some kind, isn't it?

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