My Hero at the traffic signal.

It had been pouring the whole night. The quilt enveloped the whole wide bed and we curled our toes to the warmth, drawing into the dreamy selves and wished the lazy night will never end.

 The morning alarm rang ceaselessly. Pulling self out of the slumber, I nudged my husband gently on his shoulders to get ready for morning jogging. He opened his eyes for a jiffy and nonchalantly said –“It is still raining. I am going to work from home and will do some yoga at home later.” He snuggled himself in the warm bed and went back to his dreamy slumber. I felt the pinch of covetousness –“Lucky him!! He can work from home.” 

But there is still twenty minutes left for my alarm to ring and nag me. I can still catch some more dreams.!!

The alarm kept ringing unremittingly but only a gentle shook from my hubby pulled me out of my dream. I hurriedly gaped at my mobile and was crestfallen. I was running late; late by 15 minutes, and that is enough to derail everything for the whole day. I jumped out of the bed. The alarm on the side table luckily survived my wrath.

I know how a delay on a rainy gloomy morning can ruthlessly snatch away your precious treasures; your stolen ‘me’ time where you can sit and enjoy sipping your hot tea and a crispy couple chit chat, your time to do  yoga that incarnates your soul into you and a peaceful time where your senses can indulge and relish the morning breakfast. 

Suddenly Plan B popped out of the quagmire of my mind…change in menu will come handy. So a lunch menu of mixed veg, dal and chapatti was compromised for simple vegetable rice and curd. The royal paneer paratha with curd and green chutney for breakfast was replaced by simple idli and chutney. The left over batter in the fridge and chutney came as a saviour. After a hurried reckoning in my mind, I found that few minutes can still be spared for self.

I slid the glass door open to get some fresh air. The petrichor cheered me up.  The glamour of the nature outside stunned me. The plants in the pots on my terrace garden danced in rhythm to the silent tune of the gentle breeze and the magical drops of the drizzle caressed the petals of the flowers. The poet in me itched to unfurl and spend some more time rejoicing the view. But the relentless adult role pulled me back and I rushed down to the kitchen.

Kitchen has always been my area of expertise and a place where I show an unparalleled acrobatic feat every morning.  Things as per plan B was executed, dabbas were packed and the elder one left for school.

I woke my younger one and started her day with a list of advice…hurry up, do not dream in bathroom, we have to start early as it is raining and there will be a huge traffic….i kept blabbering as she rubbed her eyes and gave me a bewildered look. The view of a dreary Bengaluru roads on a rainy day had paralyzed my senses and I forgot about the ‘Good morning kisses that I give to my children each morning.

Mind was preoccupied with the dreadful traffic on a rainy day and my actions were not steady. My support system, my domestic help called to inform that she will be late due to traffic. That amplified my whining and complaining…..the whole universe seemed to join hands in a conspiracy against me. Hubby dear sensed the fear of an indolent driver in me. He pitched in to ease my discomfort. He volunteered to take care of the left over chores and book a cab for me. He knows how I hate driving on Bengaluru roads and especially when it is a wet day.

We got ready and packed our breakfast to eat on the way. You get enough time to finish your breakfast in snail paced traffic. Meanwhile, my spouse with full devotion kept trying to book a cab. Several drivers cancelled the booking and the reason was obvious…struggling with the traffic. At last, I took out my “toy car” ( that’s how my spouse calls my mini automatic car) to drive to work.
My mood was already set to mopish mode. I struggled to drive at a snail pace on the little road left in between the puddles, pits and holes. I cursed everything under the sun….the growing population, the endless corruption, struggle to have a descent dignified life, the tax payers money going down the drain ….the list was endless.  The only thing that cheered my mood was the cherubic look of my daughter who relished the soft idlis and her grin when she intermittently lowered the car glasses to get her face wet in the drizzle.

Waiting at the Delmia Circle signal , I helped my daughter to clean idli crums from her face with a tissue paper. My mind was still preoccupied with the calculation of how much more delay can be there if this pace continues. My daughter exclaimed –“ Suma Aunty!”. That brought my attention to the knock on my glass. It was Suma, the eunuch I meet each day on this signal since last five years.   
This signal comes just before my daughter’s school. We see a group of eunuchs begging each day.  Five years back , my 5 year old was confused to see them…”Why they look so different?”, “Are they Uncle wearing saaris?” ..There were many inquisitions. I chose not to give an intellectual answer. I nonchalantly replied-“God has made everyone unique”. In fact I had no better answer to offer. One day while she came to beg, my daughter introduced herself and innocently asked her name. “Suma!! That’s her name and so she is aunty and not uncle”..She happily declared the discovery that she made and I was taken aback at the simplicity of childhood. 

My daughters know it well that I discourage begging but are surprised that I offer them money.  Yes I do. We have left them with no option for livelihood other than begging and prostitution. No talks in public forum around equality and empowerment included the transgender. But the community offers a lot of learning to everyone. They stand together against all odds.

At first she came each day to ask for money. Once I told her that I cannot give her money each day, so let’s fix the day of Friday for that. Since then, it became a Friday ritual for us. Other than Friday, I gave her money and sweets on special occasions and festivals.

In all this hurry, I had totally forgotten that it was Friday.  I pulled down my window and handed over a 20 rupees note to her. She smiled and blessed me. On this glum rainy day, her smile was like sunshine. Then she ran to the other side of the car. As a ritual, my daughter pulled down the window and took her head out to get her blessings.

She gave a flying kiss to my daughter and waived her bye. The signal turned green. She crossed the road walking between the standing vehicles covering her head with the pallu of her green sari in the drizzle. Her walk reminded me the swaying of plants on my terrace garden. It had a rhythm which synchronized with the unexpected tunes of life. It had a grace and elegance which never got registered in any book of glamour.

I saluted her courage to fight for a life of dignity.

My mood was cheered. Moping and cursing gave a way to the sense of gratitude. The lazy sun gently nudged the floating clouds in the sky.

//This post has been written as a part of the “Warrior Women” blogathon at Women’s Web in association with Juggernaut Books//

When a Greek pirate ship sails in to loot the wealth of the Cholas, it is brutally defeated by the navy and forced to pay a compensation. A payment that includes a twelve-year-old girl, Aremis. Check out this new historical novel Empire (http://bit.ly/DeviEmpire) with a warrior woman, Aremis at the heart of the novel.




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