A routine makes for a strange animal – it can be either dreadfully, abysmally boring or quite contrarily it can be a surprisingly delicious slice of life. We all have daily routines; all sorts of them. And when two strangers with similar routines cross paths at some point – ahem – routinely, they no longer remain strangers. They may not turn into best buddies destined to drink each other under the table – or who knows, they quite well may! – but they can definitely give each other a warm smile or a casual wave or even wish each other a cheerful greeting of the day.
Likewise, on my daily morning run, at around 6:18 am, at a particular junction on Film City Road, I cross this father-son duo on their way to school – the father riding his old bicycle with the son sitting on a tiny seat attached to the bar in front and the school bag perched gracefully on the carrier behind. This morning, it was a bit different though. While the school bag was faithfully poised in place, the son was riding the bicycle and the father half-running behind him trying to prevent the bicycle from running into the middle of the road. As I passed them, I heard the son mutter in a breathless whisper, “मी बोललो होतो ना की मी चालवू शकतो, हे बघा!”. It was instantly followed with a loving whack on his back from the father “इकडे तिकडे का बघतोस? हँडल आणि नजर सरळ ठेव!”
I turned around and smiled instinctively. The father smiled back; and then, as the son looked up, he patted him gently on the head – a loving, doting father. This routine had yielded yet another friendly stranger.
– Narendra Nayak © 2017