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It was one hell of a dull day, both weather-wise and my mood-wise. My stomach was still troubling me with spasms of acute pain after massive upset two days earlier. I was feeling terribly weak with sweat pouring down. The whole thing pulled me down so badly that I was undergoing a mental depression much contrary to my usually effervescent disposition.

For days together, I had been getting a notice on my cell phone asking me to link my mobile number to my Aadhaar number by going to the nearest dealer. But that morning, I heard that the process had started. There was a rush of adrenalin and I rang up Channel 9 to see if they would do it for me. On their denial, I googled a ‘Bangalore One’ branch listed on Internet. There again there was denial, but a kind lady told me that the other branch at Jayanagar 2 block was doing it and she was patient enough to give me its location.

I took an ‘’auto’’ and hurried to the said Centre, only to find that they had a system of distributing 40 tokens between 8 and 8.10 in the morning and only those with the tokens would be entertained that day. I tried to plead my age, indisposition and weakness to secure one more token. But, they said they were helpless as the machine uploaded only 40 cases per day. The manager, a young, sprightly lady asked me to come next morning early enough to secure the token and that she would see to it that I would be attended to early.

Thoroughly defeated by the failure of the day’s project, I stopped an ‘’auto’’ and headed home. As soon as I sat in the vehicle, the driver started his saga. He told me that he had to undergo a surgery following an accident and that he had returned home only 4 days earlier. Though the surgeon had prescribed a month’s rest at home, necessity had driven him on to the job and that I was his first customer of the day. When I tried to compliment on his beautifully done up vehicle, he told me it was a hired one- hired out of a fleet of 13 such autos. In spite of the noise of the engine and the traffic, his story moved me. In fact, when I paid the fare with a small tip, I noticed that he supported his limp right hand with the left and received the amount.

Once I got home, I asked my maid servant casually if she had change for a 100 Re. note. Tears slowly filled her eyes as she narrated her tale ‘’Amma, today someone stole my purse containing Rs 2500 from the bag I had left outside when I went to work inside. I lost my monthly salary from two houses at one go. Someone who had watched where I leave my bag must have been waiting for my pay day to do good with the lot.”

After hearing the driver’s and the maid’s stories, I found my blues slowly vaporising. I found that I could ill-afford to wallow in self-pity when there was so much more misery around me.

Thanking the Lord for small mercies, my spirits slowly started rising.

ps- cartoon courtesy Shutterstock.



The Mother Of All Outings

The Mother of all Outings

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Water, like the Himalayan ranges, has always held a special fascination for me. Thus, whenever we had a stopover in Chennai, instead of heading for shopping like other ladies, I would always head for the beach. I could never get enough of the lapping waves with their gentle roar and the unique sensation of the grains of sand swirling through my toes. Fortunately, the rest of my family also had shared this unique obsession.

Thus, when I landed at my son’s place in Seattle, USA a couple of weeks back, my first question to them was, “Do you have access to the sea? Can we visit the beach?”. I was told that Seattle city was indeed a coastal one, but the sea was very far from where they stayed, that is, Woodinville. But, obviously the request must have lingered on in my son’s mind.

On Saturdays, the regular program was to attend my granddaughter Alena’s basketball games in the nearby clubs. But, once, it was to be on Mercer Island. Having gone halfway, my son asked me to be ready for a daylong expedition to Bainbridge island.

Alena and her mom Sarah headed home after the game while Ashvin and I set out in his car in the opposite direction. After crossing a long bridge on the Washington lake, we reached the ferry docks at Puget Sound. The ferry was just about to leave for Bainbridge. Ours was one of the last of the 150 or so cars parked on the ferry. The ferry had two floors for passengers of two classes including a big restaurant. The topmost floor was reserved for the crew and was out of bounds for general public.

The hull portion of the ferry had a looking out deck from where the travellers could get themselves photographed (or selfied) against the receding skyline of Seattle downtown.

As the ferry left the docks, the engines created a regular humming. Puget Sound being an arm of the Pacific Ocean, the waters were calm, deep and dark blue. As the journey progressed, the ripples of water glistened silvery in the golden sunshine, it being an unusually fine day. On the way, we passed the ferry that was coming in the opposite direction.

After about half an hour of leisurely cruising, we reached the Bainbridge island. People waited patiently to drive out their cars. When we came out of the ferry, we drove to a scenic point on the Bainbridge island. Here, the vast light blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean lay before us. The beach had no sand but all rounded pebbles which looked as if they had been made to order. The water here was cool, calm and clear. Only a few families were around.Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

I chose a big log of driftwood to sit upon, soaking my feet in the gently rippling water, with pebbles clearly visible on the floor through the pure, pristine and transparent water. After spending a satisfactorily (!) long time, we headed back to the ferry, after lunching at a quaint, strictly vegetarian joint run by an Asian woman.

This time on the return journey, we chose a spot away from the crowd. Standing next to a railing at the car park we enjoyed watching the sea without any disturbance.