Sounds of the city

Honking was considered bad manners in this city. He looked helplessly at the traffic jam in front, and the girl on the back seat, struggling for breath. His heart flipped over at the thought of being found with a corpse in his car. His heartbeats were loud, sweat trickling down his temples, but everybody around was too busy to notice.

He stepped out of the car to review the situation. Should he call an ambulance rather than take the responsibility of taking her to hospital? It was an idle guitarist plucking at the strings of his instrument, who looked up at him.

“Can I help?”

“How can I call an ambulance? I offered to take a sick girl to hospital from the sidewalk. But the traffic jam is unnerving.”

The guitarist pulled out his phone and pressed a few buttons. Within minutes, an ambulance had reached them and taken the girl.

“Are you new to this place?”

“Yep … just came last week.”

“Have a job?”

“Yeah … in a bank.”

“Spend some time in the evening here to understand the pulse of the city. I’ve not found a place to stay as yet, but  learnt ways to help others. Kids gather here to listen to music, and give me a lot of info about the place. I have an audition with a music director tomorrow.”

It was the best piece of advice he ever received. Life happens outside air-conditioned offices and self-sufficient apartments. Five years later, he runs a successful helpline for immigrants. And all the knowhow he needs to make his business unique is gathered from the sidewalk. He has a business partner – the guitarist he met on that fateful day.

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