Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Cab Ride

I arrived at  the address and honked the horn.
after waiting a few  minutes
I walked to the door and knocked.. 
'Just  a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. 
I could  hear something being dragged across the  floor.

After a long pause, the door  opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me.  She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with  a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's  movie.

By her side was a small nylon  suitcase. 
The apartment looked as if no one had  lived in it for years. 
All the furniture were  covered with sheets.

There were no 
clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils  on the counters. 
In the corner was a cardboard  box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag  out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase  to the cab, then returned to assist the  woman.

She took my arm and we walked  slowly toward the curb.

She kept  thanking me for my kindness.
'It's nothing', I  told her.. 
'I just try to treat my passengers  the way I would want my mother to  betreated.'

'Oh, you're such a good  boy, she said. 
When we got in the cab, she gave  me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive  through downtown?'

'It's not the  shortest way,' I answered  quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she  said. 
'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a  hospice".

I looked in the rear-view  mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have  any family left,' she continued in a soft  voice.. 'The doctor says I don't have very  long.' 
I quietly reached over and shut off the  meter.

'What route would you like me  to take?' I asked.

For the next two  hours, we drove through the city. 
She showed me  the building where she had once worked as an 
elevator operator.

We drove through 
the  neighborhood where she and her husband had lived 
when they were newlyweds 
She had me pull up in  front of a furniture warehouse that had once 
been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a  girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow 
in front of a particular building or corner and 
would sit staring into the darkness, saying  nothing.

As the first hint of sun was  creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm  tired. Let's go now'.

We drove in  silence to the address she had given me. 
It was  a low building, like a small convalescent home, 
with a driveway that passed under a  portico.

Two orderlies came out to  the cab as soon as we pulled up. \
They were  solicitous and intent, watching her every move. 
They must have been expecting her.

I  opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to  the door. 
The woman was already seated in a  wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?'  She asked, reaching into her  purse.

'Nothing,' I  said

'You have to make a living,' she  answered.

'There are other  passengers,' I responded.

Almost  without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She 
held onto me tightly.

'You gave an  old woman a little moment of joy,' she  said
'Thank you.'

I squeezed her  hand, and then walked into the dim morning 
light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound  of the closing of a life..

I didn't  pick up any more passengers that shift. 
I drove  aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that 
day, I could hardly talk. 
What if that woman had  gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient  to end his shift?
What if I had refused to  take the run, or had honked
once, then driven  away?

On a quick review, I don't think  that I have done anything
more important in my  life.

We're conditioned to think that our  lives revolve around great moments.

great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully 
wrapped in what others may consider a small  one.


You won't get any big  surprise
in 10 days if you send this to ten people.  But,
you might help make the world a little kinder 
and more compassionate by sending.
it on and  reminding us that often it is the random acts of 
kindness that most benefit all of  us.

Thank you, my 

may not be the party we hoped for, but while we 
are here we might as well  dance. 

 This piece came through my email this morning and it touched me deeply... hence I thought I would share it with you and see if you feel anything.... (at all).

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 = 2

IT was a real torrential fall last Tuesday, before Tuesday and after Tuesday... Alhamdulillah to that.  There was blessings in disguise.  Those showers have helped to clear the haze that was around us - (all the living creatures here), that was hanging in sky, in the atmosphere and most of all in the thinking minds of "forgetful people" like me...

After some hesitation, after hesitation, I fell asleep.  

The rice was boiling in the cooker.  It was basically meant for fried rice for someone special who was leaving for Jordan that night.  I had taken out some prawns, frozen veges, skinned the onions and shallots, cleaned the paprika, prepared the chillis and then I prepared myself to sleep.

It had been raining since the morning.  I knew he was leaving.  I was alone, without any chaperon ... that caused me to instantaneously hesitated to even thinking of going out of that front door.  But by four o'clock I was like in dizzy spells... I realized that I have not performed my prayer.  For an instant I thought I was dreaming.  But NO!  I wasn't.  So, hastily I took my ablution.  Prepared myself to pray, from one prayer to another.  Soon after, I felt so refreshed and found myself standing in the kitchen.

I started to prepare the friend rice.  How?

1. Shelled red onions/shallots, garlic and  prawns.  Slit the prawns to remove the "black" thingy from their back, leaving the tail intact. Set them aside.
2. Heat the wok with some olive oil.  Use the wooden ladle and as the new non stick pan would not like any scratches on its surface!  Before the oil gets heated up, put in sliced and crushed onions and garlic.  Lightly fry them.
3.  Add chillies.  Add a little salt to taste.  Than if it gets too hot, add a little brown sugar to lighten the hot "spells".

4.  Add veges, mushrooms and put in carrots last to maintain its crunchiness.
5.  Add rice last.  Keep on tasting until you get the correct taste.

Once done, look at the clock!  It's only 5:25p.m.  There is still time to prepare myself to go to the airport.  But before that, I called my "niece" to ask is she is free to accompany me to the airport which is more than 50 kilometers away from where I now reside  The phone was cut off instantly.  I knew just the reason why.  Her phone battery had gone kaput. Anyway, since the fried rice was ready, I better think wisely if I were to just pack them and store up! 

By the time I was ready to ... dunno what yet at this point of time.... the rain was getting heavier.  I took my car keys, house keys which by now I am quite used to handling all the 4 locks... took the packed fried rice and unlock the door.  Locking the door was no longer a  hassle now... 9 floors down and there I was ... into the car!  It was faithfully waiting for me on the second floor...

Out into the rain I drove.  My niece had gone back to her hostel, got the phone charged and then called me to tell she could come along with me.  Yayyyyyy!  BUT it wasn't as easy as typing the cary word Yayyyyyyy.  

That was when the equation in the previous post was posted....

The normal 10 minutes journey was too short on normal brightly shone days as compared to today's.  This time, the crawl turned into snail crawls... NO!  Not even snail crawl.  If you  could imagine, it took me two solid hours to reach her!

So, that answers that!  I knew we would easily have passed and missed the 9:00 o'clock flight.  Silently, deep down I was hoping for the flight to be delayed.  No one at the airport knew that we were coming.  Somehow, we were informed that the flight was delayed until 12:00 midnight.  Alhamdulillah.  I had ample time to reach the airport.  Slightly after 9:00p.m we were already at the parking lot.

Now the harder part is tracking them down.  Where could they be.  Any wrong movement, wrongly asked question might lead to the "secret" which would not be a secret anymore!!!  Anyway, we were successful.  We succeeded in giving a huge surprise to them.  I had four or five packed fried rice to share!!!

By the time I reached home... it was after 12:00 midnight.  So that was what it was all about!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


COULD anyone solve the above equation?  Am off to bed now.  See you another day...InsyaAllah.

Police: Carbon dioxide led to death in McDonald's bathroom

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 14, 2011 1:38 p.m. EDT
  • A line on a carbonation tank was "improperly disconnected"
  • The carbon dioxide built up to toxic levels in the bathroom
  • An 80-year-old woman died after the incident September 7
(CNN) -- An 80-year-old woman who died after being found unconscious in a restroom at an eastern Georgia McDonald's was killed by a lethal dose of carbon dioxide, authorities said Wednesday.
An investigation determined that a "bleed line" on the tank used to carbonate beverages in the McDonald's drink dispenser was "improperly disconnected within the wall cavity," Pooler, Georgia, Police Chief Mark Revenew said.
This caused carbon dioxide to build up in the restroom, which was in close proximity to the tank, "in a potentially lethal concentration," he said.
Anne Felton, of Ponte Vedra, Florida, was one of two people found in the ladies' restroom September 7. Authorities arriving on the scene were also stricken by "an odor," Revenew said at the time.
A total of nine people, including three firefighters, were transported to a local hospital, where Felton died.
No one else exposed during the incident should suffer any long-term effects, Revenew said Wednesday. Simmons said all three firefighters have recovered and returned to work.
At certain levels, Pooler Fire Chief Wade Simmons told reporters Wednesday, carbon dioxide can "render you unconscious in a very short period of time."
Authorities are still investigating how the incident occurred, Revenew said, adding that it involved "more than one error, I believe." The franchise's owners, he said, are "grief-stricken" and have been very cooperative. The findings so far are considered preliminary, he said.
Investigators did not discover the issue until Tuesday night, after receiving a call from a police department in Phoenix, Arizona, advising them of a similar incident there, Simmons said. That call "sped us up and moved us in the right direction," he said.
The restaurant re-opened after the incident when it was deemed safe. Authorities said it was closed Tuesday night for testing and the carbon dioxide issue was found. Revenew said the wall cavity had to be opened during the testing.
Pooler is about 10 miles west of Savannah, Georgia.