The heat of summer, the stress at work and the ever so slow traffic had taken its toll on me. Standing in the bus packed with sweating men and women standing-sitting so close to me for more than an hour was killing me brutally.
Twenty minutes had gone by and the bus had moved only an inch.
My legs were crying, my muscles were threatening to revolt, my senses were on their way to call a strike and I still had to board an equally crowded train after this ordeal.
Just when my right shoulder was about to begin complaining about the weight of my purse that was hanging from it, my throat gave a slight itch; one I was so familiar with. It resulted from the need of water. A need I wasn't able to fulfill with as my bottle was empty.
As the bus kept inching towards the station, its final stop - my stop, the thirst kept aggravating.
The prayers were in all the languages I knew and it had only one underlined wish. Get me home quickly, please!
I was famished, I was thirsty, I was worn out. And the traffic just refused to budge. With all my will power and strength I stood on the spot waiting for a miracle. I played my favorite movies in my mind to avoid the reality and it kind of worked. Thirty minutes later I saw us nearing the station. I looked at the watch, 7.30. Stopping for water will make me miss the train I had my eyes on and that meant reaching home late. All I wanted that time was a hot bath, food and sleep.
Finally the bus stopped at our destination and I sprang out of its confines running towards a nearby shop. Asked for a small bottled water. I grabbed the bottle not caring its temperature or its brand. I paid and ran towards platform number 2. Knowing well the crowded train would make it next to impossible to drink my nectar, I opened the bottle and drank a little, just enough to ease the itch. All this while, running.
Reaching the platform I saw my desired train snaking in. I capped the bottle tightly and shoved it inside my already heavy purse, ready to board the battlefield. Just as the train came to halt I squeezed my thin frame inside.
I couldn't move but I had to get further in with my lock stock and barrel.
Then I felt a warm but firm hand around my right wrist. It was pulling me in. I saw a bunch of smiling females who with determination and some voice authority made the ladies around me relax and make way. In no time I was inside, safe. It was crammed but I wasn't being shoved. A woman got up from her seat and made me take her place. "You look sick", she said. I realized, I was. I could throw up anytime. Another woman gave me a bottle and asked me to take a sip from it. Its glucose water I was told. "Such journeys call for these drinks", she smiled.
I gulped down more than a little and found an elderly woman fanning me with her dupatta.
Overwhelmed with such kindness my hopes on humanity firmed up. The city that's often touted as heartless had more heartbeats than you and I could possibly imagine.
The incident reminds me of not losing faith in humanity and I hope it never dwindles.