Today out of blue, I thought of those two people again. I often think about them. I do not know them. To me they are nameless, and in one case 'faceless' stranger(s). Yet, there are many times when I am reminded of their thoughtful acts.
It was one of those hot summer days. We had unfortunately left our class a little too late. And hence missed the 'point'. The points or our university buses came every half an hour and would drop students on different routes. They were quite regular and you were bound to catch one or another every half an hour, except on Fridays when the last point left at 12. If you missed the last point, then you had no other alternative other than to travel on a public bus or whatever mode of transport available to you.
I don't remember why we were on a public bus that day, because me and my(now ex) friend always went on a university bus. Perhaps it was a friday, or maybe it was due to the fact that we had missed the point and didn't like to wait for another half an hour in that sweltering heat. Summers in Lahore can drain your energy very quickly.
Anyway, a public bus it was. Now those of you who have never really travelled in a public bus in Lahore cannot truly grasp the full significance of this incident. The buses are invariably crowded, stuffy and fast! The conductors are mostly rude to the passengers, and ocassionally lecherous. The bus driver has no regard for his own or passengers' life, otherwise he would drive in a saner way, which he never does. Most seats are occupied by aunties who are either old or fat, or both. We were lucky if we could get room enough to stand in the bus.
This particular day was no improvement on the general experience. The female 'compartment' of the bus is always much smaller compared to the gents section. I wonder why, as there are almost as many, if not more women travelling everyday. So it was a tight fit. What I do not like about travelling in a public transport, especially in summers is how no one seems to have heard of deodrants!!
Anyway I digress into unnecessary details and keep forgetting to mention the incident I was writing about. Now there was this beggar lady who somehow got a foothold on the bus. She was smelling the worst of all people, plus she obviously had no intention of paying the fare. The conductor was very rude to her. And was rudely trying to push her out of the bus. Then one young guy from the other section of the bus, i.e. the gents section, got really angry at the driver. He asked the driver why he was so rude to the old lady, even if she was a beggar. The conductor told him she wasn't paying the fare, and they weren't running the buses for charity etc.
The young man told him to be more respectful towards that lady and said he would pay the fare, and he did. The conductor stopped trying to throw her off the bus.
At that moment, I felt very small and ashamed of myself. Why I couldn't look beyond how dirty, smelly and unpleasant she was. Why it never occurred to me to pay that lady's fare?But there was this random guy who did look beyond her filthy exterior. Who wasn't bothered by the fact that she was a beggar woman and a pest in general.He only thought how old she was, and how hot it was outside. That's the faceless stranger whom I fondly remember.
Now this is a very odd type of fond memory to have, but believe me it's one of those things I often remember. God bless him!
P.S. The other one I will write a bit later.