Two things happened that evening. It was nearly night time, around 8ish, on a chilly evening in Istanbul in late October a few years ago.
I was at the bus counter to ask for the bus I had to board. A man standing beside me just caught hold of my hand and started to run. I was shell shocked where I could not fathom what was happening to me, to my hand and what got into this man all of a sudden. In a strange city, with strangers, and stranger rumours about the citizens!!
He stopped in front of a bus door and he asked me to get in. He was the driver/conductor of the bus I was supposed to take. Since he understood what I was asking at the counter and because he was getting late he ran holding me by my hand. Running seemed to be the best option at that moment among many other options as explaining all this to me in their language or their little English would have taken away precious time and delayed the bus.
After I boarded the bus, took the tickets I was standing in a corner. Like some of our public transport buses, they too have exits through the middle door of the bus. I got into a conversation with a few of the people around as I had to know where my stop was, the driver who ran with me was driving and seated far away in the front of the bus … Every body said, they knew little English and with this little English and the chit of paper in my hand I found the bus stop. Being part of the dumb charade team at school helped majorly 😀
When the stop was near, I went nearer to the door. The bus driver suddenly stepped on the break, the middle door opened and the next moment I found myself falling out of the bus like in some Nancy Drew mystery!!! In all this confusion of the brakes and the opened doors, I had left my hands off the handles.
Nevertheless, in the next moment, two hand caught me from either side.. two women this time, little English again and in sign language, they held me tight with their free hands and asked me to stay put for this was not the stop, it was the next. Somebody passed me a bottle of water, another, passed me a bar of chocolate. As I was helping myself to the drink and food and the company of the Turkish folks in the bus in about 10 minutes my bus stop arrived. I shouted a big thank you and send out flying kisses to everybody including the driver, the men, the women, especially the two women whose hands and presence of mind saved me a crushed indistinguishable death on Turkish roads!!!
I’m thankful to these strangers for they helped me in times of need without expecting anything in return. They remain etched in my memory and now on my blog even if they may not remember that stranger that night….
There are more such encounters … To be continued …