Yesterday, after having lunch at a hotel in the city, I was returning to my university (which is in the outskirts of the city) in an auto rickshaw. It was a public vehicle and stopped for anyone on the road to pick them up. As it stopped near the railway station, a boy got into it and boarded the seat beside me. He turned around, I recognized him – Ganesh, the boy who worked in the university canteen.
Ganesh is a boy of around 15-16 years of age. I always meet him when I visit the canteen. He works as a waiter. My past two years of stay at the university and my almost-regular visits to the canteen has made me very familiar and friendly with Ganesh. Sometimes I offer him a candy or I just ask him to sit with me and have tea when there is not much of a crowd in the canteen. In short, we’re kind of friends.
He looked at me and smiled. I reciprocated. He was wearing an old (yet properly washed) half sweater, a light green tee shirt tucked to his jeans properly and a pair of canvas shoes which looked new, very new. I asked him why was he at the railway station, did he return back from somewhere. He said he came there to meet his girlfriend; she lived somewhere behind the station. For a moment, I was shocked! Ganesh, a 15 year old, too had a girlfriend! I laughed and asked him if he was kidding. No he was not, he replied. Then, a conversation like this followed:
“So, you came from the varsity to see her?” I asked.
“Yes, came in the morning”, he replied.
“She stays alone or with her family?”
“With her family”
“How does she know you’re coming to meet her? You have a phone?”
“No, I don’t have a phone. She knows that. Dil se dil ka connection bhai (heart to heart connection bro)…” he said with a wink and a smile.
“No seriously man, how do you convey that?” I said as I laughed.
“Actually I tell her the date and time of my next visit when I meet her.”
“Hmm…what if you do not make it at the same time?” I asked checking a message on my phone.
“Then it’s the next day, same time. She keeps waiting for me. Your phone has a camera?”
“Yes, it has. Why?”
“Can you click a pic of me?”
“Yeah sure” I said, clicked a pic and showed it to him.
“Thanks bhai” he said with a smile.
“So when are you getting married Ganesh?” I asked playfully.
“Marry? I’ve no money for a marriage. Hope we’ll elope someday”. He laughed as he said that. I fell silent.
The auto rickshaw stopped. I looked around. We both reached our stoppage, the varsity gate. He got down and searched his wallet for a few coins. I offered to pay his fare. He smiled and waved a goodbye; probably he was getting late for work. I picked my cycle from the gate and stated to head towards my hostel.
On the way, I wondered about the life of Ganesh. How he lived it, how he enjoyed it in spite of the hard struggles he faced every day and how he even had a girlfriend and a love story. I wondered how things fit perfectly for everyone in their life.
© Barnadhya Rwitam Sharma
Featured image courtesy: Google