A shopping trip that turned into a life lesson

Charminar

It’s kinda strange that inspite of living for two decades in Hyderabad I still hadn’t seen the world famous Charminar. This place had always been on my wish list since I’d heard a lot of fascinating stories of the monument and the lives that surround it. And soon my wish was granted by two of my friends. Juveria, the first person with whom I became friends with at my workplace. Office is not such a bad place after all (work apart) but a few people whom you meet add so much fun to your life, just like this woman makes me get through my tough days at office with her funny antics.
And Archana, my friend from college who is also my colleague who is also studying fashion designing and is the person because of whom I’ve grabbed the job that I am currently in. Yes, office isn’t such a bad place after all, had it not been office, I wouldn’t have had such beautiful people in my life.

And finally the weekend had arrived with a bang, so did we at Charminar. One look at the place and you are tempted to take a U-turn. Dusty roads, overcrowded streets, dilapidated buildings and to top it, the scorching heat, this wasn’t how I had exactly imagined Hyderabad’s USP to be.

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Summer is synonymous with sunscreens, scarves, shades and lots of liquids; needless to say we were equipped with them. It took me 3 glasses of sugarcane juice from the nearby Charminar Tiffin centre (a place bang opposite to Charminar) to get me going for today’s agenda of the meeting, SHOPPING.

Shopping

There’s not a thing that unavailable at this place. You name it and you’ve got it and the ones that are new fashion entrants (basically everything, a girl an go crazy about) shoes, clothes (whatever the material maybe) , chunky jewelry, eye wear, designer sarees, home decor, etc.

It took us four hours or so to increase the number of bags that we were carrying, so much so that we were struggling to carry them! But none of us were content with our loot and were lusting for more (talk of desires being endless). It’s funny how we girls almost fill our bags (up to the brim) with stuff and yet not be content. But the scorching sun was stubborn enough to force us to run for shelter.

While we ordered samosas, vadas and ganne ka ras to revive some energy (which was all gone while bargaining with the vendors and walking around the streets in the hot sun) we saw all kinds of people around, a gang of boys armed with their DSLRs and tripods capturing Charminar and the people around it in their cameras; a few tourists who were being mobbed by the vendors; a few families who had come along with their relatives and people who lived around the monument to have their evening chai. There is something about monuments and the lives around it. Maybe it’s because of the bustling streets, or because of the tourist friendly people, or probably the quick service of the roadside eateries, or it could be the simple and humble lives of the people there. Or perhaps it’s the amalgamation of a little bit of all of it. Needless to say, I wanted to stay there for a little while longer, looking at the people pass by, to dwell into the moment that was something so unusual, yet so soothing. But time and tide waits for none, and so we had to start back for home (courtesy: Crazy traffic and ‘get back before it gets dark’ warnings). While one of my girls took an auto, I had to drop the other one. As we approached the park lot a realization had dawned on me. I could not find my bike keys! Images of me making frantic calls to the police, crying inconsolably, abusing the wretched person who had stolen my bike and cursing myself for being so careless had flashed in my head. I made a dash to the park lot while my friend followed me assuring that nothing would have happened to my bike. I was close to breaking down and felt like slapping myself for being so irresponsible. Upon reaching the parking area I’d seen my bike where I’d parked it. I heaved the deepest sigh of relief ever! Thank heavens, my bike was still there! Okay! The next thing that I’d assumed was maybe I’d left the keys in the dickey. I made frantic attempts to pull the seat, but all in vain. I even went to the extent of pulling off my friend’s hair clip so that I could unlock the dickey and I failed miserably at it. I called the park lot watchman for help; he had sent ‘Chotu’ (his assistant I suppose) to solve my emergency crisis. Chotu, barely ten years old had come running to me. I almost screamed at the watchman for sending a kid to help me out. Now I was convinced that I was doomed.

And then, this conversation happened

Chotu : Kya hua madam? (‘What happened madam?’)

Me: Arey! Shaayad galti se gaadi ki chaabi maine dickey mein rakh diya hain. Seat ko nikaalne ke liye kisiko bulao na? (‘I think I’ve left the keys in the dickey by mistake,can you call somebody to open the seat?’)

Chotu: Uski zaroorat nahi hain madam (‘there’s no need for it madam’)

Me: Kyun? (‘Why?’)

He then removed my bike keys from his pocket saying ‘kyunki yeh mere paas hain’ (because this is with me). I was ecstatic and astonished at the same time. I almost hugged Chotu. He then told me that he’d seen keys of the bike fallen on the ground, so he kept it with himself knowing that the owner would obviously looking for it, he also told me that he’d seen my running towards my bike, but he just wanted to be sure if I was owning the bike or not. I thanked him and told him that very few would do such a thing, all he did was just smile. I’d asked him how much was the parking charge, I paid him a little more of that and left. I also knew that the extra money that I’d paid him was nowhere in comparison to the act of his, to me, no amount of money could equal the kind act of this little boy. I waved him goodbye and drove off. And in my heart I thanked God, and more importantly Chotu for what he had done.

I’d always thought and I sometimes still think that the world is a bad place to live in. But off late I have come to believe that there is some good that is still left in the world. Chotu is a young boy, he deserves much more than what he is doing now. He deserves education, more than anything else; he deserves to enjoy his childhood just like any other kid does. There is nothing worse than working during childhood. I’m sure the good that he has done will come back to him. My respect for Chotu multiplies each time I think of this incident. May God bless him and give him all the happiness in the world.

We all admire celebrities and make them our idols, Chotu might not be a celebrity, but for what he has done, he will always have my admiration, respect and will be in my prayers.

Peace.

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