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 a massive upset two days earlier. I was feeling terribly weak and was sweating profusely. The whole thing pulled me down so badly that I felt mildly depressed 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 actually 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 the Internet. 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 to head home. As soon as I sat in the vehicle, the driver started his saga. He told me that he had undergone a surgery following an accident and that he had returned home only four days ago. Though the surgeon had prescribed a month's rest at home, necessity had driven him back to his job and that I was his first customer of the day.
When I tried to compliment him on his beautifully done-up vehicle, he told me it was a hired - one 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 domestic help casually if she had change for a Rs 100 note. Tears slowly filled her eyes as she narrated her tale. "Amma, today someone stole my purse, which contained Rs 2,500, from the bag I had left outside when I went to work. I lost my monthly salary from two houses in one go. Someone who had noticed where I leave my bag must have been waiting for my payday to do good with the loot."
After hearing the stories of the driver and my maid, 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.