The Stranger at the Signal
I love Bangalore traffic. And lest you start thinking I might be mad, I’ll tell you one of the biggest reason why. Because it’s only due to the Bangalore traffic, I met you. I would probably be lying to myself if I said I didn’t fall head over heels in love with you when I saw you first at the Sony signal waiting in the traffic.
While the other commuters bore the anguish of yet another Monday morning, you beamed with that angelic smile of yours. People usually hate Monday mornings. It brings to everyone’s mind another week of the same old work, long boring meetings and an archaic manager. Not you. You seemed happy and content. Everybody in the office cab seemed to be talking about that last episode of Game of Thrones. Not you. You seemed lost in that Anna Karenina of yours. The only distraction you allowed seemed to be the occasional Yesudas amongst the hodgepodge of contemporary and classic music that the FM in the cab blasted.
The only thing that seemed to disturb you a little was the steady flow of artificially cooled air in the car. It had just started to rain and you seemed desperately wanting to roll down the windows, stick your head out and inhale the petrichor, even get wet a little. I am sorry, your fellow commuters rebelled to keep the AC and the windows on. Minions they are, you see, what would they know of your cheerful disposition?
You are beautiful. Not just because of your coral black, silver-of-a-moon eyebrows levitating over the fine-spun kohl smeared eyelashes above your hazelnut shaped eyes. Not because of your blush-pink lips, impeccable cheekbones or even your unblemished skin with a peaches and cream complexion. Neither because, you weren’t content being yet another drone, and dressed in a quite out of the ordinary olive brown half sari, which seemed to perfectly compliment your unbraided obsidian black hair.
You are beautiful, because you made weird faces at the child in the car next to yours and when he smiled you turned and with the same exact inebriated platitude made the same faces to his older sister sitting grumpily beside him. Your smile is contagious enough to make even a teenager smile.
You are beautiful, because of the way when you are lost in thought or contemplating Tolstoy, you unconsciously play with that single strand of hair falling over your face. I am no One Direction fan but I couldn’t but remember one of their lyrics — “You don’t know you are beautiful, and that’s what makes you so beautiful”
You are beautiful, because when you cabmate passed you an almost melted chocolate that he got from his recently ended vacation, unlike others you didn’t throw the wrapper out the window. Instead you decided to gently tuck it away in your bag to dispose of later. You seemed more worried of that faint stain of chocolate on a page of the book you were reading, happily oblivious of the chocolate stain on your flamingo-pink lips.
You are beautiful, because you were the only one to roll down the window, when I knocked on the glasses to ask for some alms to feed my hungry family, and give me a 20 Rupee note, still smiling that cherubic smile of yours and not for a minute judging me.
I haven’t seen you ever since, but even for a moment I haven’t forgotten you.
The guy with the torn pyjamas