A short story inspired by a real-life incident…
It was just another day in Bangalore, she got up mechanically, moved around to get ready, headed for her car and started driving on the same road. The city traffic was getting worse by the day and that adds the few minutes to the daily drive every day. She hates the stretch where the traffic keeps moving in inches. It does not stop and it does not move. Her knees start hurting due to constant playing around with the Accelerator, Break and the Clutch. Then comes the crossing which is a nightmare for anyone traveling on this road. The life almost comes to a standstill and you wait an eternity to move. All this while the mind is occupied by the day ahead, the meetings, the conference calls, the reviews and a bit of gossip here and there.
A Short Story – Real Life
She suddenly spots an elderly person trying to streamline the traffic. The man seems to be a retired gentleman. His mannerisms say he is educated and is proud to be doing what he is doing. He is wearing some old but neat and freshly washed clothes. His watch firmly placed on his wrist, somehow indicating the respect that he would have for time. A red cap on his head to protect from the direct sunlight and a pair of goggles to help keep the eyes open. He directs the vehicles with authority and not many seem to ignore him. She realizes that she is able to move out of the tight spot a little faster today. And it is obviously courtesy this man managing the traffic at the busiest spot in town.
It was a ‘day as usual’ at work, and at 5 she ran to drive back to avoid the peak evening traffic. And in order to reach home in time for her evening conference calls. At the same signal, she notices that man again. He was, as active and cheerful as he was in the morning, his movements were as swift and his eyes as focused. His stare would stop someone who would try to jump while is general he wore a mild smile. She was thankful to whoever this man is for, giving her few extra minutes in the day.
As days passed by, this man became a part of her life. She would observe him every morning and every evening. One day she felt like thanking him. So she slowed down a bit on the signal and gave him a warm smile acknowledging his presence and thanking him with her eyes. He was taken aback a bit, but nonetheless, like a true gentleman he smiled back and waved his hand. Next day, at the same signal, without stopping she gave him a chocolate, without exchanging a single word as there was just enough time to roll down the window and hand over the chocolate. He also took it in a hurried manner and by the time some expression came on his face, she was already gone.
From now on every morning and every evening, they would exchange a warm smile. He would give her a wave along with his smile. She began to feel that he actually waits for her to cross the signal. The day after the days when she did not cross the signal, she could read a question in his eyes.
She usually had a few colleagues with her in the car. And everyone knew that she exchanges a smile with the man who manages the traffic. One day she was driving alone and she could see him from the distance, leaning on the road. As she approached him she saw him standing with a flower in his hand and a smile on his face, she rolled down the window, took the flower and moved on, again had no time to exchange the expressions. The exchange of smiles became a routine for both of them.
Today, after almost a year, she has returned to the city. As she drove past the same traffic signal, the man was not around. Her eyes tried to find him around the traffic crossing and wherever they could reach on both sides of the road. While doing so, when she looked around, she could not believe that someone can actually give her a flower in the middle of this maddening traffic. A smile flashed across her face, and she moved on… and she has a lovely little ‘A Short Story’ of her own to look back at…
Writing Image for ‘A Short Story’ Credits – Shutterstock