This is the exact sequence of events of an evening a few weeks back.
I was on board the college bus that plies to the city (of Hyderabad) every evening at around 5.00pm from my campus. I looked out of the window, it was getting dark and the wind was chilly. I tried to decipher the tiny print of the crossword puzzle that I was trying to solve only to realize I shouldn’t be straining my eyes any further. I folded the newspaper neatly and lied back for a much-deserved nap. I looked at my cell phone timer: it was 5.39pm.
I was fidgeting my cell phone when my eyes caught the time again. It was 6.39pm, exactly. I couldn’t believe the evening was turning into an almost disaster in just an hour’s time. By normal standards, I should have been in the city forty minutes back; but here I was, seated in my college bus stuck in a traffic jam in the least expected spot in the city. My mood was livid although I knew it was not helping the situation in any way. I tried to look around if I could find a way out of the traffic myself, by walking a few meters to-fro maybe. Feeling too restless and angry sitting there, I got down from the bus to fight the traffic on foot.
Something had happened to the auto-walas in the city that evening. I agree it was Bakrid and everyone was out celebrating in the hub of the city leaving Old City and the Charminar area quite deserted. But the auto-walas disagreeing to go towards Old City with the fear of returning empty sounded rather pretentious to me. I had finally managed to find an auto for half the distance and was now wading through the other half of the distance in another shared-auto. I was to meet some family friends in the city. With the anticipation that this ordeal would finally get over, I took out my cell phone and informed that I would be arriving shortly.
Time flies quickly right when you least expect it, worse when you don’t want it to. The time spent at our family friend’s was great. I got to see all the wedding-shopping (which I had hoped to be a part of when I started from my college) – gold jewelry, junk jewelry, and lot many beautiful sarees. I gorged on a few Besan ke Laddus as we chatted, and got a packet full of bakery biscuits for myself to carry back. And although, I couldn’t wait for dinner, I was feeling happy now. I had done what I had come to do. As I was hurrying up to leave, I checked on my cell phone again for the time. It was 8.39pm on the dot!
I reached Punjagutta after another auto-ordeal. There were about fifteen minutes for my college bus to leave for campus. I was feeling hungry now. Thinking of Plain Maggi at Bingers, I calmed my growling stomach. I bought a few magazines to empty my wallet of some heavy notes. Right outside the book store, I spotted Nishant near the crossing. Felt glad I had found some company for my journey back, I was already too weary of the traffic in the city. Upon listening to my entire tale of the evening, his only reaction was to move in quick steps towards a small fast-food joint and get me an egg-roll! It was 9.39pm, he claimed he had 6 whole leisure minutes to get the roll and get back. Quite pleasantly surprised and a bit worried for his hurriedness, I walked towards the area where our buses were lined up…
Human emotions make for an interesting observation. I recalled all my own emotions and varying moods at those hourly intervals late that night. They formed an entire spectrum. And I, was left smiling at the ceiling.