Paddling with full force, Gajodhar took a U turn, balanced his isometric strength and moved his rickshaw toward the DLF Mall of India. “Bhaiyya! Stop at the gate number 1 please”. Said one of the two ‘just-out-of-Instagram’ girls sitting on his rickshaw. The sun rays were sharp and piercing, like a bunch of needles penetrating deep inside human flesh. Men, women and annoying children were passing by. Busy populace!
The upscale girls got down from the vehicle in their frocks and heels. Almost tripping on the uneven road, one of the girls handed over Rs.30 to Gajodhar. He wiped off his sweat and took the money. As the girls continued their fluctuating ramp walk, Gajodhar called from behind, “Madam, only 30 rupeeeej? 50 madam, pleeejj.”
“What bhaiyya! you are asking for too much.” Said one of the ‘just-out-of-Instagram’ girls.
“Madam, 50!” Gajodhar demanded.
“Sorry! It takes only 30. We will not pay a penny more.” Said one of the girls and the small brigade continued the ever fluctuating walk.
Gajodhar frowned, he wanted to argue a little more but there were more people in the audience and lesser participants. There was no scope for impromptu debate performance. He looked at those girls walking toward an outlet, that had a mammoth banner.
It read – ‘ZARA sale! Get a dress worth 5000 at just 4999.’
One of those ‘just-out-of-instagram’ girls exclaimed, “Oh! Sale. Such bliss.”
Zara – 1 Gajodhar – 0
Gajodhar Dhasa, a thin man in his early forties had come from Chapra in Bihar several years ago to Noida. Nestled in a slum area near sector 18, Gajodhar had been pulling rickshaw for several seasons now. Average looking, dusky, moustache laden, sheepishly smiling sometimes and over-smiling, Gajodhar often felt, little bit of extra money could make his life better. Just a little extra.
His rickshaw would be located mostly at the gate number. 02 amongst several other rickshaw walas. Pedestrians came mostly from that gate and they would call for public transport. He would often claim to the fellow rickshaw walas while waiting for his passengers, “When I have an extra money, I will go to that fancy restaurant with my kin.” He would point out at 5 star hotel – The Unison Hotel, right next to the DLF Mall of India. His fellows would chuckle in the same rhythm like that of bobble heads for some time.
And he would only answer one thing, “Unimaginable things happen when you dream”.
Sharp and piercing sun rays were mellowing down, sun was setting in steadily. People were hastily walking, driving for their cabs or waiting near the mall. It was just another day for service men, daily wagers, elites and the shopkeepers.
Gajodhar at gate number.02 was resting on his rickshaw. He was busy digging his nose and seemingly looked disappointed at the performance of his fingers. Just when big blob was on its way, a young man came to him.
He asked, ” Chaloge? See this address and drop me here.”
Gajodhar quickly rubbed his painstaking hand on his dhoti and craned his head at the small piece of paper to understand the gibberish. Scratching his head, he successfully pretended for straight half a minute and sheepishly smiled. The young man quickly got it. He said, “Oh! OK! Let me read it out to you.”