Those who have been kicked in the balls by the time running from there hands would really understand the situation and the mood I was having a few months back on a sunny morning. The day was just as usual, lot of last minute revisions, special care by mom, and the most importantly the do’s and don�ts by the parents. I was given the same dates for two entrance examinations. Both of them were the most sought out ones of the Delhi University (which from now on I will refer to as DU). One was in the morning in the Shayamlal College which is in the East Delhi. And another one was in Mayur Vihar- Maharaja Agrasen College.
It's quite funny because the whole vacations I didn�t even read the newspapers that well and now just a few minutes away I was trying to gulp down the whole book down my memory lanes.
I was specially instructed by my parents to take an auto just as soon as my first entrance exam is over to the next test centre - which was Agrasen College. For a guy like me who is not very financially sound it is really a dream to get through the DU, not only because it is economical but also because it is one of the best we have in India.
Though luck has tried to teach me not a few but many lessons, but I refused. How adamant am I! But still as per the directives given form the home general (my mom!) I asked an auto. Well no need to guess this is the point where it all started.
Singing has been a favourite time pass for me. I love to sing for myself rather than others. That doesn't mean I am very bad singer nor so I am trying to boast about myself. This was the first time any auto driver had asked a reasonable fare in the very first go. The trip was of about half an hour and i couldn't hold myself from singing. I sang me few lines and then stopped to have a peep in the auto just beside us. To be frank pair of beautiful legs made me stop and have a real good look at them. A few minutes later the auto driver said something, which obviously I couldn't understand properly. He turned his head while waiting at the next red light and spoke very softly, "sir, can you sing the whole song?"
Whoa! that was like a piece of cake being offered to a kid. How in the world could I refuse such a humble request especially when only I am fond of my singing?
"Ya sure," I replied and started to sing the number. It led to other topics and I came to now that the driver himself is a wonderful qawalli singer. And have quite high contacts. Well I am still doubtful about the contacts but yes I can assure u about his credibility as a singer in that genre. Of course my suspicion was justified; it was very fancy and was much more exaggerated than the one in the third grade soaps. I love to chat to drivers, rickshaw puller about them because I love to her the hardships faced by them. And gladly not one has declined me to give the details. Some even tell me about their personal life, though I am a total stranger to them. May be that would be the reason for such heart pouring sessions. Anyways this guy told me that he was a businessman earlier, for us that�s a big term, but for him it just meant an eleven by ten room where five workers used to work and make a living out by making lamps and other decorative things. But just like any other silver screen soaps the fate took a different turn in his life too. Due to a leaking gas cylinder the flames devastated his living and pushed him to this way. I was so touched by his fate, singing and persona that I started to sympathise with him.
I said, "this world is so envied by people like us that it always tests us every time."
"No it's not like that, he said. Most of the time Allah tests us to see how much we believe him and ourselves. Only a pure hearted man can withstand such tests."
"Haven't you heard that only a deep rooted tree can withstand the real storm?"
"You are such a wonderful person I am glad that I met you today, I can learn a lot from you."
"No the pleasure is mine!," said he. "Do remember to take my number. Whenever you are free just give me a call I will take you meet my professional friends they will surely give you a chance."
"Oh I am so glad but I don't think I am so blessed to be honoured with a meeting with them. Hey don't say that only a jeweller can recognise a diamond within the heap of coal."
We sang all the way along, changing the tracks every other second. He was also delighted by the compassion I showed to him.
After a thirty long minutes of ride I reached my destination. I stepped out of the auto with a big smile, and not even a bit tired. I paid him the fixed fare and invited him to have cool drinks with me, which he being a gentleman denied formally to have. I took out a pen from the bag and asked him very enthusiastically, �can I have your number? I hope you won't mind."
"Oh sure please write it down its 9868256356. Give me miss-call in the evening. I will cal you ok?"
I gave him a last bidding smile. And started walking toward the entrance gate. One of my friends (Yash) happened to see me taking down the number. He came running to me and though was very hesitant to ask but then after a few formal questions about my preparations about the test, just to break the ice. Finally he asked , �do you know that guy? I mean the driver?"
"No... I replied as soon as the question shot out of his mouth."
"Then why did you take down his number?"
"Just he happened to tell me about his contacts in the music field. He also told me that he knows Rahat Fateh Ali Khan personally and would introduce me to him someday. He invited me to come over to his place. Isn't he so sweet?"
"So would you go? I mean he is a total stranger, you never know what type of man he is. What if he is a terrorist or something?"
"Oh stop it yaar you all are the same. Just because he is a Muslim you think he is a terrorist?"
"No not at all; no offence to any religion... I just said because..."
"Because he is driving an auto? It was fate which has made him do this. At least he is doing a work and a very decent one too. You all never have faith in anyone. Always suspicious about everyone else other than you family. You guys are disgusting!"
I walked of the place and went to the allotted class to give the test.
A few weeks after this I received a call from Yash; he apologized about his behaviour that day. He didn't touch the topic and wandered away from it every time we had a conversation. It had been an hour or so when my younger brother came home running in towards me with open arms, and gave me a tight hug. How are you sweetie, how was your day at school.
"Oh wonderful, but the bus service was very bad so I took an auto from the school. You know the driver was a wonderful singer he also gave me his number. His name was Ahmad. You know he has very good contacts. I might get a chance in a concert."
"Stop it. Show me the number. Very bad how many times have we all told you not to talk to strangers? He might be a terrorist! What did you say, what's his name??"