I had this urgent meeting at the far end of Delhi, about 75 km away from my home. So, I hired an early morning Uber. I was well within the time considering a wet and drizzly morning that day. Unlike always, had to direct the driver to rush with an above average speed.
We were going fine, when suddenly he took an unplanned turn. Astonishingly I dropped my jaw asking “this is a wrong turn bhaiya” to which he replied “sirji duty baji hai usi taraf jaa raha hun”. Now I realised out of guilt that I mistakenly chose Uber Pool Cab instead of the private one and so the driver was supposed to pick the other shared passenger now.
With high-end GPS it was quite easy to reach the pickup spot at that lady’s home but acknowledging her intelligence – she got 2 lanes ahead in her attempt to make it convenient for the cab to reach her. Of course, this particular spot wasn’t easily traceable at the GPS now. Somehow taking 20 more minutes, we were able to locate the lady with her 3-year-old daughter.
She had a drop at the airport which must be 35 km from the place we were. Well, I used my Maths and calculated that with all estimated hurdles, I shall still reach my meeting at least 15 minutes before time. I tried making my peace with this fact.
However, still mystified about the way ahead, I had to take my mind off from calculating time over & again. Noticeably, this 3-year-old was constantly drawing my attention. Sitting in her mom’s lap she was enjoying a good time kicking the back of the front seat and with every kick she will turn towards me hoping to see my expressions. I winked towards her twice but was hesitant to react most of the times.
Airport was still half way away when rain started to pour heavily and so did my heartbeats. With rushing traffic and heavy rains my calculations started again and this time it got tougher; disentangling highest level of probability and solving a time-based differential equation, I was 5 minutes short of time. Still thought— “a 5-minute gap could be easily shielded”.
This little girl started making tap-tap sound syncing with the voice of rain falling on the car roof. She made such a cute voice, that by now I had started enjoying her so composed noise. And her impatient eagerness to draw my attention was involving me in her pint-sized game of kicking & punching the seat backed with her “tap” tune.
To say it rightly I was highly entertained by her and may be feeling was mutual as she enjoyed an abundance of attention from me. I asked the girl “what’s your name dear?” She avoided to answer, instead urged me to continue to admire and respond to her game.
I looked upon her mother “Ma’am your baby is so adorable, what’s her name?”. She replied “its Ramya but it’s not my child, I am just an attorney of her.” I thought why would a child as little as her needs an attorney? While we started some conversation, she told me that both her parents are struggling a separation case from past two years. I so questioned, why doesn’t she stay with her mother until the court decides on a custody.
She replied “Actually none amongst her parents wants her custody, they are actually fighting to give away the child to each other. So by the time anything is decided she has been given into the custody of the attorney.
I heard the story but chose not to make any comments. I took the girl in my arms, kissed her and played some more sillier yet much sensible fictional games of her till the airport arrived.
We both found an attachment with each other in an hour’s journey. As she left the cab and her attorney closed the door, I kept watching her. She was tapping her feet in water and enjoying the weather as they approached the airport terminal.
I knew, now it was getting immeasurably late for this very important meeting of mine and I was sad.
Sad for a different reason!
Actually, it so happened that tears rolled down as she had stepped down from the cab.