I took out my immaculate white cotton handkerchief and cleaned my face. It was covered with black dust and drenched with sweat. For hours I was standing at the bus station popularly known as Majestic area in Bangalore, India. This was way back in the early '90s when I was a working as a trainee engineer.
It was a sultry Sunday and the day being my holiday I decided to visit my classmate's house who lived in the same city but a little far off.
My classmate was from a very affluent family and was pursuing her higher studies at a premier institute in town. In those days, there weren't any social network or cellphones and so meeting an old friend in person was the easiest way to stay in touch. The much-awaited bus finally arrived but it was totally jam-packed.
It came to a screeching halt and after a long tiresome journey I managed to get off the overcrowded bus. By then the scorching afternoon had turned into a pleasant evening and I could hear the chirping of birds.
I went to a nearby snack-bar, bought few chocolates to gift her and groomed my dishevelled self.
After walking a few yards I found a huge villa. Two swanky cars were parked inside the compound and the driver was busy cleaning the car. The house had a well maintained-lawn, adjoining a lotus pond. I was stopped at the gate by the security guard. As I was about to introduce myself, my classmate waved from her portico. The guard saluted me and escorted me up to the house entrance.
Her parents were very warm and hospitable, thus making me feel comfortable. We chatted for a long time when I realised it was time for me to go back to my hostel. I remembered the arduous journey of the bus and I cursed my fate. But I had no choice as my income was not much and I couldn't even afford to buy a motorbike.
When I mentioned this to my friend she suddenly exclaimed, "You are very lucky! You can enjoy the bus ride. How I wish I could also go." Hearing her I was speechless. I left in a hurry.
While boarding the bus I not only thought about her wish but also wondered why in spite of having all the luxuries of life she yearned for something so simple? Why she wanted to experience the rigours of life voluntarily when she had such a comfortable life? It's said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. How true, isn't it?