I don't know when I had written this story. I found it very amusing...
"Yeah! it's finally over! Today is the last day" I thought to myself as I shutdown my laptop to go and stand in the boarding queue.
I stood among the other passengers at the Changi International Airport thinking, "2 more hours and I would be in the taxi back home"
Little did I know that it was the beginning of a very long journey.
Just as we began boarding, a petite old lady in a bright purple dress began cheerfully arguing with one of the ground staff saying "son, I would never do that" and then suddenly out of nowhere a few guards appeared holding their AK 47s menacingly.
The ground staff was holding an inhaler in his hand.
"What is this?" he asked suspiciously
"This is an inhaler for my bronchitis. I need to use it in case I develop spasms during the trip" replied the lady pleasantly.
"You can't carry aerosol spray in your cabin baggage. I will hand it over to the crew. You can ask for it if you need it during your trip" replied the staff.
"Thank you" replied the lady
Something about this lady intrigued me. Was it her pleasantness?
In the flight, I found the lady sitting next to me. We chatted a bit. She told me that she is from Madrid. And she was on her way to See and feel the 'real India', as she put it. Her first stop was Bangalore.
She had made no plans. She will first visit Bangalore and then take off from there to different parts of the country.
The flight landed out in Bangalore. After completing the formalities. I got out and took a taxi.
Suddenly out of nowhere, this lady got in my taxi.
"Take me anywhere. I want to see the real India. You are the only person I know here" she said.
It was 12 midnight and I was sitting in a taxi in airport with a loony lady who wants me to take her
anywhere. I was perplexed.
I looked at the cabbie. There was a serene, 'Its-your-problem' look on his face. No help there.
"Maa'm where do you want to go?" I asked her.
"Take me to Vidhana Soudha" she said
"At this time?" I was frantic.
"Yes, it says that the structure is brilliant at night." she replied
Off we started off for Vidhana Soudha. Once we reached there, as she said, the structure was
awesome. 20 years in Bangalore, and I never knew that Vidhana Soudha is lit up beautifully at night.
Next she wanted to see Shivaji Nagar.
I had the ride of the life. We visited Bangalore Palace, Cubbon park, Lalbagh, MG Road, Temples in Vijayanagar...All at night.
We had snacks to eat from 'Thindi Veethi' near lalbagh, had tea and bun from roadside stall. The doctor in me told me that junk food is not good, but hey, what the heck? It was delicious.
The whole experience was new for me. Driving in Bangalore at night, I saw how much I had missed the color and smell of the city. Bangalore was beautiful by night. And after 20 years in Bangalore, this was the first time I was seeing the city in the night. In the dreary every day life of 'Home-Work-Home', I had missed 'Living'.
By about 6 AM in the morning, I was so enjoying the trip that I felt a little disappointed when she wanted me to drop her at any hotel so that she can take some rest. I dropped her at Hotel Atria near Vidhana Soudha and headed home. Before leaving her, I handed her my visiting card.
To say that I forgot the whole experience would be wrong. How can you forget such experience?
I received this letter two months ago.
Thanks a lot for taking me all over Bangalore that day about 6 months ago. It was one of most cherished days of my life.
As you know, I wanted to see the real India. After about 4 months of traveling, I reached Haridwar. There I attended a sermon by Baba Shubhanandaji. He convinced me to give up my material life and embrace a life of spirituality.
I have decided to follow Swamiji's advice and give up all my earthly possessions. I don't have any living relations.Since you were the kindest person that I have met in my life (ever since my husband died), I have decided to make you as the sole heir to my fortune."
That would be one heck of a disappointed Swamiji, I thinkAnyways, I pen this story, sitting in my Villa in my Vineyard in Madrid.