For two people who couldn’t have been more different and who’ve never met each other at a distance of less than 3 meters – we get along pretty well. As we pass by each other almost every day, me, worked up about one thing or the other. And him, clearly mourning rapid loss of hair – we learn to put aside our worries for a few fleeting moments and admire each other’s punctuality. On time, every time.
He needed a haircut that day – desperately. The first day. I waited for him to catch my eye. I knew my voice couldn’t reach him, and even if it did, he wouldn’t be able to make out what I said over the sounds of engines roaring and horns beeping. He looked over to me; expecting me to be there as I always am, six days a week.
“Haircut!”, I pretended to shout.
It took him a while to understand what I was doing. A little taken aback, “Sick yesterday!”, he mouthed back.
“Tomorrow then?”, quizzically, I asked.
His nod came right before he motioned me to pass. I obliged, followed by an incredulous biker, who wanted to know why I was muttering to myself with such enthusiasm. The thought of stopping the ambulance nearby must’ve occurred to him, there was mental written all over me. But he seemed like a man in a hurry and besides this was rush hour we’re talking about.
Sure enough, the next day the traffic guy looked a lot more presentable than yesterday. I gave him a thumbs-up and he returned with a smile. Followed by a chat on the weather , he, on the middle of the junction, me, at the very start of the lane.
I think we’ve both found the funny in this situation and that’s why we look forward to meeting each other every day at the main crossing that separates the east end from the west end of the city.
Our everyday meeting mainly consists of lip reading and little questions like, “Forgot your muffler today?” , “You heard? Pepsi is now 18Rs. Apiece! And I remember the days when it was 9.”,”It was 5 when I was a kid.”, indignantly, he’d reply.
The most fun part is looking at the bewildered expressions of people waiting patiently for the signal to open. Convinced they had uncovered the communication patterns of secret agents. Our little chit chat has successfully aroused the suspicion of 9 out of 10 people that pass by. Their curiosity. PRICELESS!