Laxsha Natraj

Drama Romance

3.7  

Laxsha Natraj

Drama Romance

The Greasy Hands

The Greasy Hands

8 mins
300


TV anchor Ritu, was busy checking the script given to her by her crew. Her cell phone jingled. Ved had sent an SMS to her, saying that he would be picking her up at 5 PM sharp. As she read the SMS a gentle smile bloomed on her lips. Earlier her mother had almost given up her dreams of getting Ritu married till Ved came. Ritu’s expectations about the groom were so high, that no one was fitting into her frame. She not only wanted a highly educated, cultured man but also have a good taste of music, a voracious reader etc. To her mother’s relief, luckily they found Ved fitting into the picture.


The evening traffic was unexpectedly very heavy and Ved was struggling to drive. Ritu was getting worried that they were going to be late for her favourite Sitar recital. Finally, the car had to stop as there was an accident in the front, and all the traffic was coming to a grinding halt. Cursing under the breath, Ved tried to reverse the car. Ritu peeping out of the window was shocked to see her neighbour’s girl Minu standing and crying among the crowd.


She said, “Ved my neighbour’s kid is there. Let me check what is wrong” With her heart in her mouth she was already out of the car when Ved pulled her back by holding her hand and said,” Ritu, If it is an accident it will be a police case. Let us not get involved in that. Someone will help them. I don’t want to miss the music” Hearing this statement sudden anger fumed and burst into her head. Glaring at him she hissed, “Ved leave my hand just now” As Ved looked at her with open mouth, shaking off his hand roughly, she rushed towards the crying girl.


The girl Minu came running to her and said,” Didi, see my brother Arvind. A car overshooting the signal had hit him. He is bleeding and I don’t know what to do “

 Ritu hugged her and comforting her said, ”Don’t worry we will take Arvind to the hospital” As she looked around a bit thinking of calling for an ambulance, as the boy was bleeding profusely, a man with a bit untidy shabby shirt, moved closer to them and said, “ Minu the taxi had come. Let us go to the hospital”


As the public helped the bleeding boy into the car, Ritu and Minu got into the back seat with the boy while that man got into the front seat. As the taxi started moving, he took his cell phone and called a hospital number and informed them to be ready as he was bringing in an accident victim.

He turned to Ritu and said, “My name is Harish. In this type of traffic, the Ambulance will take a lot of time to come. Hence I called the taxi. Since Mehta hospital is close by, we will take Arvind there” Ritu was comforting the girl while the boy Arvind seemed to be in a state of shock and almost remained quiet.


Reaching the hospital, the waiting staff wheeled Arvind into the causality room. Ritu now called the number of the parents of Minu who were on their way back from Sridi Dharshan. She informed them gently about Arvind. Only then she remembered that the money had to be paid for admission and she rushed to the reception counter. To her surprise, she was told by the reception girl, that the advance deposit was already paid by the Uncle of the boy, and the balance they can pay later.

As she and Minu sat on the waiting area she said, “Minu it is good your uncle was there in time”


All this time Ritu was thinking that Harish was someone known to Minu. But she was surprised when Minu told her that he just happened to come there when the crowd gathered and she did not know him at all. The doctor attending on Arvind came out and both of them rushed to him. He smiled warmly and said, “Arvind is fine now. There are mostly external injury and a minor fracture. But he had lost a lot of blood. The boy’s Uncle Harish bringing the boy in time to the hospital, and then donating the blood made a lot of difference to save the life of the boy“


Both Ritu and Minu stared at each other. He had called himself the uncle! Taking direction from a nurse for the blood donation room, they rushed to see Harish to thank him. An empty room stared them and the nurse that the uncle had already left the hospital.


After a week Minu’s brother, Arvind was discharged from hospital and the whole society was praising Ritu for her timely help when heart in heart she thought that the actual credit belonged to Harish. But why should a man wear such a shabby, stained shirt? Somehow the stained shirt refused to leave her memory.


After five days there was a phone call from Ved. She thought he was going to apologize for his behaviour. But he said very curtly, “Ritu I think we have to call off this marriage. We are almost a world apart in the way we think” The line went dead without waiting for an answer.


Two months rolled by. One day when Ritu was in the car with her friend Meghan, their car coughed twice and then stopped. Meghan who was driving said,” Luckily, our mechanic garage is nearby. I will call him” As she made a call on her cell phone and got out of the car, Ritu opened her book and started reading. She heard some voices but never paid any attention. Finally, Meghan got into the car. She heard a voice “Madam, please send the car tomorrow for service. I will look into the problem” The voice sounded very familiar. But before she could take her eyes out of the book and look at the person the car moved away.


Meghan said,” My mechanic Harish is a very good man and is too polished for a mechanic. His father used to service our car earlier and now he is doing the job” Ritu remembered the shabby wrinkled shirt. So Harish was a mechanic. A man, who has to repair cars for his bread, took an unknown child to the hospital, paid the admission fees from his pocket and vanished quietly before someone thanked him! She could not digest it!


Next day evening she took a taxi to the same spot where their car stopped the previous day. Walking a little distance down she located the Garage. As she hesitantly walked in, a garage a mechanic looked up and said, “Yes, Madam, What is the problem with your car?”

As she blinked and looked around Harish came from the backside and said:” “Madam, Where is your car?”

She looked at him and said, “I don’t have a car, I came to see you” Harish just stared at her. There was absolutely no recognition in his eyes. With a surprised expression, he asked, “Me, for what Madam?”

She said hesitantly, “Two months back near Dadar Circle a boy Arvind was run over by a car and…”


Now a smile came on his face and he said, “Oh yes, now I remember. You are that girl’s Didi. Right? How is the boy now?”

As she looked around he said, “Please come to my office” She walked behind him to reach a small cubicle with a table. He pulled a chair and she sat down.

Harish said, “Now tell me, Madam. Why did you come all the way looking for me?” Ritu looked at him, his wrinkled, greasy shirt and said “The First question is why you paid the money for the hospital that day? The second question is why you ran away from there?”


Harish laughed and said, “I did not know that I would be court-martialed for this. Generally, when accidents happen, many times people won’t have enough cash or credit card, to pay for the admission. Secondly, if I hang around, later people come thanking me and sometimes they try to give me cash etc. for my help. So to avoid all that embarrassment I vanish ones my job is over”

Ritu was now taken aback. She said, “From the way you say when an accident happens etc., it looks as if our case was not the first one you attended”


Harish laughed sheepishly and said, “Yes I had attended some six or seven cases earlier. I had given my number to most of the constables and they call me when an accident happen around here”

Ritu still blinked. Harish on his own said, “When I was in my final year of automobile engineering, my father met with an accident. The accident did not kill him. But he was on the road for four hours, and he died of bleeding. I dropped out of college and took over his garage. As much as possible I tried to save the accident victims. I don’t want another person to die for lack of help” There was dead silence as both sat in silence.


Ritu was tossing in the bed for a long time that night. She was ashamed of her own pride and the importance she attached to status, education, career etc. Ved had everything, but he lacked a human heart, the kindness which is the essence of life. Harish always was with greasy hands but had a heart which was filled with kindness and sympathy for all unknown persons.


One day Ritu asked about Harish to her mother. Her mother said, " Ritu when we think of compatibility in marriage we look for the highly educated person because we all have an age-old belief that education will make a person cultured. Culture is not just opening the car door for a lady or waiting for the lady to sit first. Culture is when you don't hurt another person's feeling and be always kind in heart. Finally, the warmth and kindness for each other is the only factor which works in the long run in marriage"


After two months when the famous TV anchor Ritu married a car mechanic she was the topic of gossip everywhere. It is difficult for the world to understand, anything beyond the word, “the Status”

 


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