As soon I boarded the night train from Bhopal to Nagpur, I began itching all over. I thought it might be bed bugs (in a train??) and realised that I was having an allergy attack and I spent the 7 hours sitting on the edge of a lower berth in the dark ... thankful it was night and everyone was too busy sleeping instead of watching me in my plight.
Nagpur arrived at 4am and dark, the streets deserted. I got into an auto and asked the driver to take me to an all night pharmacy. Which he did promptly. The two attendants had to be woken up and bleary eyed gave me some medicines. As I paid, the auto driver told me, "I will take you to a government hostpital. The emergency will be open." Dont risk taking medication without asking a doctor. OK, I said. And he did. I wondered if I'd have to leave my suitcase and laptop behind in the auto...The driver solved the problem. He took my suitcase and laptop and shepparded me to a window; "yahan say 5 rupay ka ek slip lijiye". I did. Then he took me to another room where there was an attendant who took my slip and called a young lady who looked like she had just woken up. She gave me an anti-allergen shot and asked the driver if I was going somewhere close by. haan. Dus minute main hotel pahuncha doonga. Ok. And that was indeed that. In 10 minutes I was at the hotel and another 15, snug in my bed, all itches gone and all nicely drowsy by the shot. And did you know, the driver didnot even ask me for more fare for this detour. I very happily paid him more than double of what he had asked, knowing even then, it was a very small way to say thankyou.
Nagpur has been a transit point for the nearly 2 and a half years I have been to-ing and fro-ing Bhopal. All I see is the airport, the station, the cabbie, the auto driver and one hotel where I sometimes spend a night. I dont know anyone. And yet...these extremely brief encounters have been pleasant ones. And after that fateful night...I am overwhelmed. Nagpur & Nagpurians...Nicely Done.