Date: September 18, 2016
Today, I was trapped in a really unusual situation and had a unique experience too. I was with my master and my friend Krishna , just like any other day. He was admiring the bright colour of my skin, the softness I possess and was, as usual, playing with me happily at his home. And then his mother, whom I don’t really like because she snatches me from Krishna’s hands and orders him to spend more time with his books, came. I was scared that she will do the same yet again, but, to my surprise, she didn’t. Instead, she asked Krishna to get ready and accompany to a market, which is quite decently far.
So, Krishna and I got really excited and he got ready quickly. Without forgetting me, he kept this little friend of his inside his shorts’ pocket. And we took a rickshaw and soon reached a yellow line metro station (yes, we are Delhiites). Krishna, as he always does, kept letting me out of his pocket to have a look at the outside world, to see the chaos and the diversity that this city has. His mother repeatedly told him not to do so. She told him that the place is so crowded that Krishna might lose me, his favourite toy, in the congestion. But, Krishna was Krishna. And meanwhile, we hopped onto a metro to head towards Kashmiri Gate.
As fate would have it, when Krishna and his mother were deboarding the metro train at Kashmiri Gate, the crowd pushed and pulled to get into and out of the train. And, this led to the separation of ‘us’. I was trapped inside that metro, while my friend, my only friend, managed to get out of it. I was sad, very sad and so was he, I guess.
This was still not the end of my troubles, as I kept rolling right to left and left to right in the metro, on its floor. Thanks to the round shape I have. Sigh! I started feeling dizzy because of this ‘unhappily rolling on the floor’ thing. But, after a while, I started feeling better when I scared the shit out of some people as I hit their feet while they were busy with something of their own. It’s funny how I, a tiny-miny ball, was able to frighten those who are six-feet tall. Hehe. And they say, size matters. Silly humans!
What happened afterwards was rather unusual. Amid all those people, including kids, who were scared of me and saw me rolling but didn’t help me by simply picking me up, was a man who did so. He was different… unlike others. Not because he picked me up, but, for all the reasons that he did so. He was a common man… a man who seemed a little off-centre in that metro compartment. Among all the well-dressed and suited-booted Delhiites (one of the traits of the humans of Delhi), he was wearing a faded brown ill-fitted trousers with a white and brown vertical striped shirt. Also, where everyone was talking about their Gucci, VIP or Caprese bags, he was carrying a polythene bag used by garment sellers at local stores. Further, he was wearing those white-and-blue chappals that people usually keep as their bathroom slippers.
On a closer look, one could easily spot fine holes here and there in his trousers and shirts. His slippers were also almost torn. The chappals were so scuffed that it seemed he hadn’t had a new pair since ages. The man presumed to be a labourer or a construction site worker.
When everyone else was just pulling their legs up to make way for me roll some more and get dizzy some more, this guy smiled as soon as he saw me. I rolled in front of his eyes and hit the wall of the compartment beneath one of the seats, and then rolled away from him to the other side to hit the other end. Ouch! It did hurt, a lot. The second time I rolled towards him, going by the motion of the train, the man wasted no time and bent down to grab me. He checked me thoroughly after picking me up and smiled some more. The man, then, put me inside that polythene bag of his.
When I went inside that bag and gained some consciousness after all the rock-and-roll and the trauma of separation from my dearest friend Krishna, I took a survey of the things around me. Inside the bag were various items, including a small plastic tiffin box, which the man had carried to his workplace. It seemed empty. Among the other things, what grabbed my attention was a pair of new sandals. And no, it was not a replacement for the man’s torn-off chappals. It was a tiny, very tiny pink-coloured pair. It seemed that the man had a little baby of some one or two years of age, and he had bought the pair for his little princess. The girl must be very, I thought, for his father had got her — someone who had probably just learned how to walk properly — a new pair of footwear. And he, who had to supposedly walk miles every day, was standing right there in those ripped slippers.
Just the sight of me must have brought that smile on his face thing about his daughter. He must have thought that he could gift her this new toy. I don’t know when was the last time he must have done that. He valued me, among all the other well-off people in the metro, because he probably knew the ‘worth’ of me. Literally and otherwise. The worth which would come as a moment of peace in his daughter’s smile, when she would see me. The worth which is invaluable!
And yes, I am still sad because I lost Krishna’s company, but, I am also happy because I got a new family. A family, with this hard-working man, his wife, his one-year-old daughter and his five-year-old son. I lost one Krishna, but, got two new ones, who are keeping me more safely than him — for obvious reasons.
Lastly, I was happy before also, but, I got to know about my ‘value’ today.