It began to drizzle as I waited for the bus. I didn’t have an umbrella because I use a two wheeler and I’m not used to carrying one. As the bus arrived, I made a quick calculation. I would reach my destination in less than 10 minutes. Once I reach the service center, I will get my Lavy (My Hero Pleasure) and then, rain wouldn’t be a problem.
Contrary to my calculations, the drizzle turned into a downpour, the famed Cochin traffic kicked in and I was stuck inside a bus that wouldn’t move. I waited helplessly. Half an hour passed, 45 minutes passed and the bus was moving slower than a snail. If I didn’t reach the service center by 6pm, I won’t get my lavy. I tried calling H to ask him whether he could collect the scooter. He didn’t answer the call.
After around 1.5 hours, I reached my bus stop. It was still raining. I hurriedly walked to the service center to find it closed. That wasn’t surprising since it was already 7 pm. Now, the only thing left for me to do was to return to hostel. By 7.30 pm. That was when the gates closed.
I waited in the shelter of the building thinking about the next step. Walking in the rain wasn’t an option right then. Boarding a bus would be foolish since I had just experienced what it was like. I decided to flag an auto-rikshaw. The first few did not stop. The one who stopped refused to take me to my hostel saying the traffic was too high. After a few more refusals, I began to walk towards the closest rikshaw stand in spite of the rain. To my dismay I found it empty. It was getting late and the rain wasn’t reducing.
I called up H again, several times. I called up his landline number. His mother picked the call and informed me that he was taking a shower. When I said that I was in a tough spot she said that he wouldn’t be able to come because he did not have a raincoat. I walked to the next auto stand which turned out to be empty and on the way, I heard some lewd comments. I mean come on! Isn’t it fun to pass some dirty comments at a girl walking alone in the rain, at night, that too without an umbrella?
That was the end of my composure. I walked faster trying to hide the tears running down my cheeks. I was alone, cold, I had to reach my hostel on time, I had no means of transport and felt helpless. I stood next to a familiar restaurant wondering what to do. That was when H returned my call. My desperation and relief came out together in the form of a gasp, fresh flow of tears and garbled words. He was my closest friend and would surely help me out.
“Could you please drop me at my hostel?” I pleaded amidst my tears.
The concern was evident in his voice, “What happened?”
I narrated my situation all the while crying and finally, “Um… Oh! So auto rikshaws aren’t stopping and bus is obviously not an option. What to do now? I could have come, but I don’t have a raincoat.”
“Uh! Wait, let me see if I can do something else.” I hung up. That turned out very well. There was no point continuing the conversation. There was one other person, N, who could help. I didn’t call him earlier because his house was out of town. There was no chance he could be here. Now that I had no hopes at all, a call wouldn’t hurt.
First and the most important thing, he picked the call.
“Hey! Are you in Cochin?”
Don’t get your hopes high
“Do you have a raincoat?”
“Why? What happened?”
“Oh! I’ll come get you. But I don’t have a raincoat for you.”
“It’s not for me. I don’t want one. I asked for you. I just want to reach hostel somehow.”
He dropped me at the hostel and luckily the gates weren’t closed. I got to my room and cried my eyes out. I was frightened, I felt alone, I missed my home, I was cold and I don’t know what else caused those tears. People I thought would help me during my rough times weren’t there. That was the biggest wound.
I called up my mother and narrated whatever happened. She was calm and she told me some things that I will never forget;
“Never put your faith in one person and believe that he/she would help you out in any situation. The faith would leave you unprepared. When adversity hits and he/she is unable to help you, you will be all alone with no Plan A, leave alone Plan B. Never expect people to rescue you. Believe that you have the strength to rescue yourself. Soon, you will know that it is true.”
“And remember one more thing. Sometimes, unexpected people help you when you are in a thick spot. So, if you can, help people irrespective of whether they are close to you or not. You might be their ‘unexpected help’ just like he was for you today.”
She was right. From the moment it started drizzling, I believed that if something went wrong, my closest friends would help me. I didn’t think of any other options. If I hadn’t believed in them so much, I might have reached hostel sooner.
I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t trust your friends. It just means that you should believe in yourself first. Instead of waiting for a Superhero to rescue you, be your own Super hero.