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It was just a few moments ago that I had been speaking to this amazing woman who had made a life for herself that I would love to live. Hadn’t I?
I am among the lucky ones that, I get to enjoy my own company often, even after having an infant and living in a nuclear family. Thanks to my dearest hubby!
It was one of those Sundays when after a movie I was sipping a hot cup of caramel flavoured coffee at a nearby Starbucks outlet. I wasn’t thinking anything in particular and was just looking outside the window. In a moment I saw a lady on Royal Enfield. She was parking the bike. She was wearing a black helmet and blue coloured aviator sunglasses.
As she entered the cafe almost everyone noticed her. She tucked her glasses over her short bob hair which were slightly highlighted in a copper colour and were looking classy. She had a tiny smile on her face and a strong positive aura. She didn’t look very young, must be in her late thirties. She ordered a coffee for herself and grabbed a corner table. I brought my eyes back to my coffee.
After just a few minutes I heard a voice from over my shoulder, “Hi, do you mind if I join you? You seem to be all by yourself.” I was surprised and words automatically came out of mouth “Yeah sure. Please.”
We both introduced ourselves. I told her that I really liked her bike. After all it’s a rare sight to see a woman riding a Royal Enfield. “Oh, that’s a recent one. We went on a bike trip to Ladakh and since then I’m in love with bikes again.” She had a huge smile on her face.
“Again?” I asked. “Yes, just after my marriage I used to have long drives with my hubby on his bike. He had a Bajaj Avenger that time. After that we have been so busy in our lives with kids and all, that we forgot this small joy that we used to share. And now recently we rediscovered it and promised to keep it going as far as possible.”
I was impressed that a woman in her late thirties with kids and a husband to take care of rides a bike and is spending her time here. I felt really curious and wanted to know more about her.
“So, what do you do?” she asked. I told her that currently I was on a maternity leave and taking care of my little one. Listening to this her eyes started to shine and she said “it’s the most amazing time of your life. As your baby grows you tend to miss their younger self. So, make the most of this time. I have two kids an elder daughter and a younger son. They both have their own routine now. I tend to miss them being babies sometimes. I often take out old picture albums and indulge into those times.”
“What about your husband?” I suddenly realised I was getting too personal. But I liked her friendly nature. After all we were strangers who might not meet again. So it didn’t matter if we share things. She replied, “He is a freelancer marketing consultant. He works from home mostly. After serving in various organizations for about 15 years he decided to back off a little and live life.”
“That’s great. You guys must be having so much time together. Whereas the position I am in, we have started to crave for each other’s company.” She agreed and advised me to be patient. I had started to admire her, and hung on each word of hers.
“How about you, what do you do?” I asked. She told me that she was heading an all India technical function of a US based MNC. Her job required her to travel to the US and UK every two months. Her job kept her busy but she took time out by working from home whenever possible. She loved to spend time with her family and she often took adventurous trips with her husband and vacation with family.
As we were talking she suddenly excused herself, stood up and rushed outside. Her unfinished drink, her bag and bike keys were still lying there. I stood up and walked towards the door to see what had happened. I saw her holding the hands of two small kids who were begging on the porch of the cafe. I had noticed them looking inside through the glass wall a while back. She was bringing them inside the cafe. The kids were a little cautious. The puzzled guard opened the door to those torn and dirty-clothed kids. She was trying to make them comfortable by talking to them.
She made them sit at our table, and asked me, “do you mind?” (gesturing if she can let them sit next to us). I smiled and replied “not at all”. I had already got what she was upto. I started to talk to those kids, asking them their names, and telling them mine.
Meanwhile she brought two sandwiches and drinks for those kids. They gave a big ear-to-ear smile to us and to each other. They ate all of that in just 5 mins. They surely seemed to be hungry. As they finished, they smiled again and said thank you. She asked for their parents’ names and addresses, and kissed their dirty faces without any hesitation.
She looked at my face which was full of questions. She told me that she was associated with an NGO which gives free education to such children and helps them to develop not only till 12th but much later throughout their lives. They offer a much greater association.
By this time I was awestruck by this lady. However, I was controlling my expressions. I asked her if I can also contribute in any way to such an NGO. She said yes and started to explain me their working strategy. I was listening to her with complete concentration, mesmerized by what she was telling me.
I was so impressed by her personality. This woman that I just met half an hour back leads a group of hundred or more people at work. She looks confident in her skin. She does things which make her happy – she learnt to ride a very cool bike in her thirties, when most of us only surround ourselves by our family and kids. She and her husband are able to keep the spice up as a couple. They still go on honeymoons. She loves her kids and takes care of them. She serves socially as well. She looks gorgeous and healthy. Must be 20 at heart, literally, which makes her go adventurous with her better half. It seems today, just out of the blue, I had found a mentor for life. I wanted to hold onto her and learn so much from her.
Thinking about all this I realized that I had lost track of what she was saying. At that very moment someone called me from behind to break my series of thoughts, “Ashu…” I turned to the voice. That was my husband. He came with my little one to surprise me there.
As I turned back to continue the conversation, I found there was no one sitting there with me. There was no bag, no black helmet, no bike keys. The three other chairs where arranged so perfectly that surely they had never been disturbed from their position! I rushed to the glass wall to check the parking. There was no Royal Enfield. Standing near the glass wall I kept looking at the vacant chairs and empty table holding just a white cup of caramel flavoured coffee.
Was that the WOMAN IN ME…?
Published earlier here.
Image source: woman biker by Shutterstock.
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