I was travelling back from Mumbai last week after an amazing Pune and Mumbai trip. A wonderful one week off from office and yea :) thanks to the collision of two major holidays (Independence Day and Ramzan) that triggered one of my most unforgettable trips home. The trip was almost over and I stood at VT station with my dad and brother waiting for my train.
The train arrived 45 minutes late (this is called Indian railway time I guess :P) I climbed in at Mumbai when I had booked my ticket from Pune. Okay wait a second :) do not doubt that I traveled without a ticket from Mumbai till Pune :P. I had a general open ticket. I went and sat on my seat and covered myself with the blanket as sleep is what I generally do when I have to cross a milestone journey comprising of 26 hours :(
I had closed my eyes for just about a minute when I heard a group of girls chatting in a language which I barely understood. Opening my covered face I saw three girls with little eyes, small legs and those typical north eastern kinda looks. A single glance made me guess that they weren't Indian. They had to be either Chinese or Japanese. The journey continued and over a period of time I realized that among the three girls only one of them spoke English which was broken in its own way. They were busy trying to convince the Ticket Checker to confirm their ticket which was in waiting list.
We reached Chennai at 4.00 AM after being in that train for more than a day. Thanks to my IPod and Mr. Dan Brown for writing an amazing book, "The deception point" (These were what killed my boredom and of course big thanks to my sleep too) I was wearing my shoes when one of the trio came up to me
"Hi, Do you know how to travel to the airport?", she questioned me.
"Yes, you can travel by a taxi or bus or a local train. Which one would you prefer?", I asked her.
After giving her the details of all the three modes of transport, I left it to them to decide and got down with my luggage.
It was 4.30 Am in the morning and I felt that the entire Chennai stood at PARK station to buy the ticket. There was a never ending queue of which even I became a part. I was already irritated with the queue and the weather, I kept grumbling to myself as the queue advanced. It was 5.00 Am and to my bad luck I was still in the queue. I had totally lost it when someone came and patted me at the back.
I turned back to see one of the Chinese or Japanese (I still didn't know where they belonged) girl standing near me. "So they had finally decided to travel by local train.... " I thought to myself.
"Hey hi, You need a ticket. Wait let me buy you." I offered to help them. She asked me how much would the ticket be. Not being so sure about the cost I decided to get the money later from her.
I turned back to talk to her when she had disappeared. I was again left alone in that queue.
A few minutes later she came with a pack of frooti in her hand. She offered me one and we began talking. In no time I reached the ticket counter and got her three tickets to the airport.
"How much cost?", She enquired.
"18 Rupees", I answered. She was so surprised.
"So cheap So cheap So cheap", She almost shouted as though she was shocked.
I found her innocent and waited to lead her to the platform. The entire railway station thought I was a guide helping foreigners.
"So which country are your from?" I finally got a chance to ask them.
"China" They replied.
(Well I should have guessed this when I saw awesome gadgets with them. :) )
We got a train and they seemed to be really friendly. They were friends who were on their tour to India and were going to the airport to catch a flight to SriLanka. We were nearing the airport, "You have a station to cross before we reach the airport", I cautioned them to start picking their bags.
She showed me her phone saying, "Yes I could trace the route" (My my that was great, I thought)
I looked out of the window to take some fresh air when she patted me and held something in her hand. It was a fish shaped band, yellow in color and very beautiful.
"This is for you", She smiled as she gave me.
"Thanks for all the help, Its for your hair", She said.
I was surprised and I hadn't expected this. It was indeed very thoughtful. It was the first time I had helped foreigners and I was glad that I could make their day.
Oh infact I think they made my day a memorable one. I was glad that I could help those girls from another country in very small way indeed. And I was more happy to see the way they showed their gratitude. Many a times when we see foreigners we give them a grin kind of a look and most of us try to pull money out of them. I think we should be fair to them and help them as we are instruments representing our country and our culture.
I do not know which corner of the world they are right now, but yes I do know that "I met China that day".....