So I took a cab today to get back from my office, as usual. I booked it and called up the guy. Told him where exactly my pick up and drop was, and he said he’ll be there in 5 minutes.
I waited for 10 before calling him again, he said he was lost. I repeatedly tried to give him directions, but something didn’t add up.
So he gave the phone to someone else sitting in the car (I usually pool, it’s better for regular commute and easy on the roads), and the guy on the phone tried his best to figure out where to go.
Finally, he reached the spot and I was a bit irritated , “Aap naye ho kya Gurgaon mein? Ye raasta toh easy hai.”
He was apologetic so I didn’t say anything else, however I thanked the other guy sitting at the back for helping out. He responded, “Actually even we are not from here. So we didn’t know the route, otherwise it would have been easier. We are sorry you had to go through this.”
I asked them , “If you don’t mind, may I ask where are you from?”
The two guys sitting at the back went silent.
After what I felt like an eternity, they both spoke, “Kashmir”.
Their silence added up. I couldn’t see them properly from the passenger’s seat but I could sense the uneasiness they had in their voice.
Might be my own interpretation, but I responded with “Oh! That’s a lovely place. I always wanted to visit. But you know, how it goes. I have many friends from college who belong to Kashmir.”
They eased up. Laughed a little. Wished me well before getting down from the cab, saying nice to meet you.
And as it sped away towards my home, I was torn between the silence and the uneasiness. I wanted to wave them goodbye and say, when you go back, take some love from this place.
I wanted to wish them strength. I wanted to say that I am sorry for the silence, we all are.
I wanted to tell them that hope hasn’t died, but that would have just been an inconsiderate rant.
So I just said, “Thanks. Nice to meet you too”.
(This moving piece was written by Prerna Pratham Singh on her Facebook page)