The First Cuppa

The First Cuppa

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“Yes, yes, carry on….on the left, on the left, yes, yes,” the friendly instructions helped Aditi, park her car at the perfect spot on a busy Monday morning right in front of her office.

“Thank you bhaiyya,” she spoke with a large smile, as the sweaty Rickshaw puller nodded his head with a large grin.  He had thrown away his beedi, while he blurted out those instructions.  Soon, others drivers followed and he dutifully helped each one of them, ensuring their car is safely parked before they could begin the workday.

The thin emaciated man would offer a huge chuckle to everyone who would thank or acknowledge his help, while not minding getting ignored by a few.

“Can I get tea,” he asked the tea vendor; his rickshaw was parked in front of his shop.

“Bhaiyya, sector 18,” asked a young man dressed in formals with a folder in his hands, all signs, he was going to appear for an interview.

The rickshaw puller stared at him for a moment, before turning his eyes at the tea he was being offered, and then with a smile, nodded his head to agree to take him.

“Teri chai Kishan (Your tea),” asked the tea seller, as he saw him climb onto the rickshaw, to take the passenger to his destination. 

The tea turned out to be the natural casualty in search of the first passenger of the day.

“How much,” the youngster asked, as he climbed onto the rickshaw and sat behind him.

“40,” replied Kishan and began pedaling.

“The e-rickshaw charges 20,” the youngster started bargaining, his countenance reflecting his unwillingness to pay more than what an e-rick would charge.

“But this is not an e-rick,” protested Kishan, hoping his young customer would understand.

“Ok, take 30,” he quickly began negotiating.

Kishan looked around, the tea he asked for was now being sipped by some other customer, while he still waited to settle on his first customer.

Nodding his head with a loud sigh, he agreed to the proposal.

“Hey, wait, wait,” the passenger suddenly asked him to stop.

‘There is an e-rickshaw there, I will take it,’ he said and climbing down, ran towards another vehicle filled with passengers with hardly a place for anyone else to fit in.

The driver, however, managed to somehow seat him beside his seat as Kishan stared at his first customer abandon him, with blank expressions on his face.

“Now, they won’t allow us to do business even inside the streets here,” he muttered to himself and decided to turn back and have his tea.

“Bhaiyya, chaloge,” (will you go), someone asked even before he could order the tea again.

It was Aditi.

“Sure Madam,” replied Kishan with a smile.

“Sector 18,” she said and sat where a young man was sitting until a few moments ago.

She didn’t ask how much she had to pay, nor did Kishan tell her anything.

“I saw you drive in a car, so why are you taking a rickshaw now,” asked Kishan as they reached the last few metres of Aditi’s destination.

“It’s difficult to park a car here and it is quite expensive too, about Rs 50,” she replied while continuing to furiously tap on her phone’s screen.

“Hmm,” replied Kishan and stopped as they reached the marketplace.

“How much,” asked Aditi as she got down, with the phone sticking to her ears as she also began talking to her friend who was supposed to meet her there.

“Give me 40,” he replied.

Until now, Aditi who was busy explaining her location to someone on the phone put it aside and smiled. 

“Will you also take me back,” she requested.

“I won’t take more than 15 minutes,” she added.

Kishan also smiled and nodded to agree.

Pulling out a Rs 100 note, she handed it over and ran away to catch up with her friend as Kishan, sat on his rickshaw smiling.

“Some rides are meant to be missed, so you can take a better one,” he muttered to himself as his eyes scanned the place looking for a tea vendor.

He and the first cuppa of the day were still waiting for each other after all.

4 thoughts on “The First Cuppa

  1. A lovely story of hope and the stark unfairness of life. I agree that many times what we perceive to be as bad can actually be a pleasant blessing in disguise. I’m glad that the protagonist didn’t allow himself to be swayed by the meagerness of others. Always look at the bright side. A lovely reminder, Deepak. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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