The day I was stranded in Hyderabad

Published: August 3, 2013
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I gasped and with trembling hands decided to make a call before the lights went out and things went wrong. PHOTO: AFP

Feeling like a rat surrounded by a dozen cats, I stood there on an empty street near the famous Rani Bagh, Hyderabad. I dreaded the moment I had decided to step out of the Daewoo bus.

Aagay Latifabad ka stop hay”, one of the passengers announced.

(The Latifabad’s stop is ahead.)

A few men started moving out of the bus, and being an amateur, I followed. I thought I had to move out of the bus at this point rather than at the Daewoo bus terminal which was ahead. The only thing I was sure of was that the Daewoo bus doesn’t stop anywhere other than its own terminals and this was the right thing to do.

So there I was at the wrong stop, at a dark, deserted petrol pump. A few cars passed by occasionally and their honks made me jump out of my skin!

If matters could get any worse, they swiftly did. As I moved aside to call my uncle and tell him about my whereabouts, I noticed that my battery was almost dead and the bar of my battery was flashing in the top, left side of my screen. My phone was going to die. Great! I gasped and with trembling hands decided to make the call before my phone died completely.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘blessings come alone, but trouble comes in pairs’?

I witnessed exactly this.

Around me were a few men who worked at the petrol pump and the few men who I followed out of the bus – only men all around me and I was a young woman, completely lost, completely on my own.

I was reciting my Ayatul Kursi when one of them approached me. He asked calmly,

“Aap ko koi lenay nahi aya?”

(No one has come to pick you up?)

Trying to look confident and fearless, I gulped and replied,

“My uncle is on his way.”

I heaved a sigh of relief as he turned around and walked towards his friends. A few seconds later, he turned around and said,

“I’ll be standing here until someone comes to pick you up.”

I quickly turned my phone on and called my father. I explained everything to him. I told him how I was stupid enough to get off the bus at the wrong stop, and now I was stranded at night, with no one but a multitude of men. They could have done anything to me.

My father sounded worried and asked me not to talk to anyone. I could hear my mother whimpering in the background, and here I was all alone.

I fought the urge to cry as the call ended. Every second felt like an hour. That man who spoke to me was standing with his friends, laughing and making phone calls as his car approached. He said something to the driver and then looked my way.

My mind was in a whirlwind; I couldn’t help but think of possible scenarios in my head. What would I do if something really bad happened?

Minutes, that seemed like days, passed by and I was still standing there all alone, just because of the stupid mistake I had made. I knew my uncle’s place was far and it would take him at least half an hour to reach this place. I couldn’t help but pray that he would somehow manage to come faster.

Standing there on the footpath with mixed emotions of fear and death, and a knot in my stomach, with a stranger watching out for me – I wanted to dig a hole and hide.

However, luckily before anything else went wrong I saw my uncle’s face at a distance. I took a deep breath and ran towards him. When I turned around to thank the stranger, who stayed to look out for me, he was already headed towards his car. He waved and smiled at me, but I didn’t get a chance to return his kindness. All we did after was make a few calls and complaints to Daewoo’s main office.

The two pieces of advice that I would like to share with the people who travel alone are:

One: Figure out all the stops and transits beforehand.

Two: Keep your mobile phone charged.

Often in life, we see or meet people who make us realise that there are angels or spirits present in the form of humans. Maybe they are just one of the ways Allah (SWT) chooses to remind us that kindness and good intentions are the two ingredients that are still holding this world in its place. He sure restored my faith in humanity.

I never did get the chance to see that person again, but whoever you are, and if you ever read this, my parents and I would like to thank you for being a blessing in disguise – an angel for us on that day. May you stay blessed always!

Kanza Abid

Kanza Abid

An A'level student at the Beaconhouse School in Karachi. She is also the online student correspondent for 'The Beaconhouse Times.' She tweets here twitter.com/KanzaAbidHusain

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