Ram had overslept and did not realize that the truck had stopped. He quickly picked up his stuff, pushed the driver away hard and jumped off the truck. He ran off in some unknown direction. He seemed oblivious to the urban chaos that was all around him. His present motive was to escape from the driver.
Running out of breath, he stopped for the first time to look around him. Palms on knees, his back bent and head stuck out, he was amazed and shocked at the high rises, the vehicles, the rush of people, vendors selling stuff, people shouting and waving their hands at nobody, big billboards of movie stars, advertisements and the lack of simple order. This was a complete contrast to the place he ran away from. Is this the place he is going to make a living in? He wondered if he could survive that day!
For the first time, he felt scared and questioned his decision. But he could not go back now. Anyway, he cannot come to a conclusion in an instant. He had just arrived there. Of course, anybody would be scared to get out of their comfort zone. He just had to live it through for a few days to get a hang of it.
“Sir, can I have some water?”
“That would be 12 rupees boy” said the shopkeeper placing a bottle on the counter.
“What? 12 rupees? You charge for water?” asked the puzzled teenager.
“Hey! Which bloody village are you from boy? You have ignorance written all over your face. Now get the hell out of here!” blasted the shopkeeper placing the bottle back in the refrigerator.
Isn’t anybody friendly here? First the truck driver and now the shopkeeper. At least the driver had a reason!
“I am friendly unlike him” said a voice as if it had read Ram’s mind. Ram looked back to see who was the source. A boy of almost his age was walking towards him showing all of his dirty teeth. He was wearing a tattered shirt and dusty shorts.
“Hi. I am Raj. What’s your name?”
“I am Ram”
Raj eyed him cunningly from head to toe, his smile not wavering even for a second.
Ram eyed Raj curiously from head to toe, his brow frowning and forced a smile upon his lips.
They shook hands and Ram asked Raj why his teeth were reddish brown in color. Raj gave another of his extraordinarily awesome smiles displaying his wonderful teeth and said:
“Welcome to Hyderabad!”
To be continued…..