Happiness and refreshment of the mind are available not only inside a comfortable room. An open mind can see how God gives man abundant coolant, if one desires. I thanked the conductor for taking the heat out of my body in this sultry weather.
IT WAS a humid day. The sun was showing off its brilliance. I was standing at the Mulund (West) Bus Station waiting to hop on to any bus that goes the way of LBS Marg. Yes, my destiny was Shoppers Stop.
I was sweating. Ahoy! I saw a bus fast arriving at my stop. Immediately, I asked a commuter seated in the bus whether it will go to LBS Marg. He nodded in the affirmative. I breathed a sigh of relief and got into it. There were few passengers.
The conductor soon arrived at my seat. I boldly said, “Shoppers Stop!” A short period of silence followed. I replied with a doubtful smile. There was another pause for a few seconds. I requested the conductor to repeat what he said, as I was confused and because I must have half heard it, due to the noise inside the bus or perhaps the noise of daily life in the bustling city.
In an instant, my ear correctly picked up the words. What I earlier thought I heard (or didn’t hear) must have been an error on my part. I heard, “Shoppers Stop? Kounsa wala? Mehenga wala ya sasta wala?” (Shoppers Stop? Which one? The expensive one or the cheaper one?)
Those seated nearer and those with sharp ears, laughed out. Noticing my embarrassment, an elderly gentleman came to my rescue and said “Take it easy son. Don’t worry. The conductor is right. You know, there are two Shoppers Stops, one at Mulund (West) and the other at Andheri (East.)”
The conductor, staying cool and true to his ticketing professionalism, then joined in the conversation. Smiling, he said, “Mulund Shoppers Stop char rupiye, aur Andheri Shoppers Stop chauda. Abhi bolo ji, sasta wala ya mehenga wala?” (The fare for Mulund Shoppers Stop is Rs 4 and Andheri Shopper Stop is Rs 14. Now tell me, the cheaper one or the expensive one?)
I could not control my laughter. I patted the conductor on his shoulder for taking the heat out of my body in this sultry weather. I felt great. This is Mumbai.
Happiness and refreshment of the mind are things that are available not only inside a comfortable room. An open mind can see how God gives man abundant coolant, if one desires.