The soldier in a stranger

It was the first visit to Chennai on my own to attend a friend's wedding at Mylapore. The wedding reception was on a weekday, in the evening. Another friend familiar with the Chennai streets and local trains would accompany me during the journey since I hardly knew the place and could not converse in Tamil fluently.

The reliable friend was caught with some problem at office and the last moment surprised me that he would not be able to join. He instructed from where I can catch the bus to Chennai and reach the marriage hall by evening. I was disappointed but did not want to miss the chance to travel alone. I finished my work by noon and started to Chennai from the Electronic City office in Bangalore. Thus the plan was Electronic City -> Hosur -> Chennai -> Mylapore.

I reached Hosur in a short time along with my backpack containing the DSLR and lens along with the clothes and jewellery. I made my mind that I would not speak to any stranger on the bus to Chennai.

At Hosur, there were hardly any AC buses and all I could find was a private bus with no other options left. I bought a ticket and sat with my luggage. It was hot summer and no fresh air circulating, people in a rush to travel, slowly got in and the bus started.

I enquired the conductor how long it would take to reach and how far is Mylapore from the bus stand, whats the best way to reach the wedding hall. The conductor said he did not know any details and gave a blank look. Two guys who were seated behind were conversing in Tamil and seemed to be college students. They seemed to hail from Chennai and knew nook and corner of the city. One among them was happy to provide me all the details.

The bus reached Koyembedu at 8 in the evening. I was checking on the auto rickshaw who could drive to the venue. No one uses an auto meter there and you need to bargain on the price before boarding the rickshaw. I was unsure on how much I have to pay them. Conversing in tits and bits of Tamil, I would ask, "Mylapore, .. hall vareengala [will you come to Mylapore]", he would reply in turn, "noothi.. something something" the Tamil numbers sounded Greek and Latin to me.

One of the two guys whom I met on the bus, came to my help and spoke to the auto driver and fixed the price. He told me how long it would take to reach the venue, how much I should be paying the autowala. In case of any emergency, I could give him a ring and noted down my mobile no.

It took 40 minutes to reach the wedding hall in the peak traffic in an auto. He would ring or sms every 10 minutes and ensured I was safe in the auto. On reaching the hall safely, I called up and thanked him for the help. A stranger can be a hero no matter what the situation is.

This post is a part of #Soldierforwomen in association with

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