an encounter

“Accha, aap Mussalmaan hai na?” i asked.

“Haan saab” he said. He, an old man which i could understand by his voice and a wizened man which i understood from his words. He must be atleast 50 years old, i could estimate which i remember from his frail figure which i dont exactly remember, as he asked for lift just 5 minutes ago.

“To aapko Urdu to aata hogaa naa?” It was just two day ago i had talked to the boy named Kaleem at the bike repair shop when my tire had gone bust; and he told me that he daily gets up at 6 to learn Urdu under a maulvi though he had stopped schooling since his 6th class. The boy couldnt tell me what the meaning of his name was.

“Hou. aata saab”

“Accha to ‘Kaleem’ ka kuch matlab hota kya?”

“Kaleem to bacche kaa naam hota”

“Haan. Nai mein yeh bolra thaa Ki … akbar bole to great, nai? Tho isi tarah Kaleem ka kuch to matlab hota naa”

“Nai saab kuch nai hota” he said. Im still not convinced that it could not have a meaning.

“Aapko kahan jaana hai?”

“Madhapur saab. Aaj tankhwa milegaa naa…Wahaan pe ” Yeah the need for money that so acutely comes up for them regularly at the beginning of every month. Its not dispensible.

“Ok kahin ATM pe chod doon aapko?”

“Haan wahan madhapur mein chod do”

“theek hai”

And we kept talking. And finally i remembered i had taken a wrong turn. The one that would have me to take a longer route and a bit away from his destination. I could go on my way but i would not be able to drop him at that place, it would be a good half a km away from his destination now.

It was such a worse thing to do and that which i hated; to do a job but to do it bad. I was cursing myself all the way.
“Uh oh. Lagta hain maine doosra turn le liye. Wahaan se jaana tha na. Aapko wahin chod detaaa”
“Arre no problem saab. Aapne yahan tak laaya yahi bahut kuch hai”

I was feeling pretty bad abt the mixup but i dropped him. And then he did a small bow with the ubiquitous wave of his hand and said “Thank you saab. Alla aapko dua de”

I couldnt help but feel elated.

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