The Feline Favour!

The city is expanding since decades with population and concrete congestion increasing all the time, but it still goes to sleep early, relatively speaking. City going to sleep early means you don’t get the facilities at night—like shops and markets, public buses and more importantly the omnipresent cycle rickshaws. We did not mean it to be, but we got late that evening at a relative’s place. To add to our woes, the eldest boy of the house had to go out on an errand, obviously taking the car with him. Any possibility of getting a lift was thus ruled out. My tension was genuine because my septuagenarian mother was with me and to make her walk nearly a mile was never a bright idea.

We took the small lane leading up to the main road and started walking hoping to get some transport on the way. Auto-rickshaws, even a rare sight at daytime, were not passing by at all. A few cycle rickshaws going towards the main road had passengers and the ones coming in towards us from the main road were empty. We started hailing them, but to no avail. They were all returning home after a hard day’s work and a steaming hot dinner was the only thing in their mind. We could hardly blame them.

The lane is long and winding, and even after hitting the main road we will have to walk another half a mile. The weather was also cloudy and a drizzle could start any time. We were getting desperate.

Halfway up the lane we sighted another empty cycle rickshaw coming towards us. Hoping against hope we called out to him quite at a distance. He continued to paddle hardly bothering even to respond. We almost gave up trying to come to terms with our situation.

And then providence intervened! A cat suddenly darted out of somewhere and ran across the lane. The cat crossed the lane—both ours and his! I was very quick to take advantage.

“Hey brother!” I called out to the rickshaw puller who suddenly pulled up midstream. “Now you’ll have to retrace your steps and take us home!”
The rickshawallah looked around uncertainly. Opposite we waited expectantly. After a few suspenseful moments he blurted out, “You’ll have to give me double fare or I take few steps backward and go home.”
“That’s not fair. The cat crossed your path and you should not continue same way as if nothing has happened.” I shamefully tried to pump up his superstition.

After a little more exchange of words we settled for a reasonable fare to both parties. He turned his rickshaw around towards the main road and we set off merrily thanking our cat luck.

Now then, a cat crossing our way in fact benefited all of us. We got a transport home and the rickshawallah got a last-minute client and a few extra bucks. The feline entity caused us luck rather than causing what is superstitiously believed. Cheers!

(First Published on Ezinearticles.)


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