The luck of small things

If the kid hadn’t been marginally late to get ready in the morning, she wouldn’t have been home when I got the message from her school that their bus had broken down and we’d have to make our own transport arrangements. I was busy hollering at her to rush to the bus stop, when we got this message and a happy grin spread across her face (it’s a treat for her to be dropped in an air-conditioned car, by mom, with music, seated comfortably — and I suspect she often transpires to miss the bus). And so off we went.

She isn’t allowed to take her phone to school, but if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have got the opportunity to listen to some of her recordings. She plugged her phone into the car’s music system and introduced me to her singing — songs sung as karaoke using YouTube, and recorded on the phone. I was stunned — she was really good. Of course, she’s on the school band and I’ve known about her passion for music, but this was really the first time I could hear her singing solo, on loud volume, with nothing else to distract us. I was so amazed at the quality of her voice — throaty, hoarse, innocent — that I must have asked her at least 15 times, “Is that really you?” She was pleased, to say the least, with all the adulation so early in the day. It was a sweet treat for both of us.

After getting back home, I struggled to print out certain documents on the computer for our Aadhar card application. The internet wouldn’t work, and we weren’t able to download. When we finally managed to download after much fretting, the computer wouldn’t connect to the wireless printer. We were running late — we’d been told to be at the centre by 9 am, and it was 9.15 already. In much frustration, I gave up and we decided to go to the centre without that particular document.

If we had, in fact, managed to print that document and had been on time, we wouldn’t have desperately decided to call the hubby’s friend, who is an expert on such matters, for his advice. If we hadn’t been late, we’d have not been able to get through to him either; his phone had been switched off before 9.15. As luck had it, we not only managed to reach him but he informed us about another application centre in Connaught Place where we could possibly avoid queues. If we were lucky.

So we went there instead of our planned destination, and reached at 9.40. The centre was supposed to open at 9.30 but the man in charge hadn’t turned up. In the meantime, I chatted up the guard and the assistant, and kept up the eye contact and non-verbal communication with them even as other applicants filled up the room. Every passing minute, I grew restless at the long wait, and impatient — I had a big meeting in office at 11. When the main man arrived at 10.30, the guard gestured at me to go ahead first, which we promptly did, and to my secret relief, the assistant handed over our papers first as well. A few seconds into my turn, the Aadhar officer asked if ‘Harishji had sent us’. I understood immediately of course that this man operated only through references, but I played dumb and gave no answer. After most of my biometrics were done, he got a call from ‘Harishji’, who asked if his ‘people’ had turned up. Our man said, ‘Yes she is here,’ and then Harishji told him another name and his face got all confused. By then he was committed to our case already, and so we had our turn in peace. We were done in a few minutes, and I was in office at 10.55.

If we hadn’t been the first to arrive at the centre, the guard and assistant wouldn’t have developed an affinity towards us. If they hadn’t subconsciously supported us through their body language and actions, we’d have had to wait until all the other references, starting with Harishji’s, were done, and I’d have left in frustration for my meeting. If I’d left, the procedure would have had to be repeated the next day, and we wouldn’t have got our card in time for our new house’s lease registration.

Being late, facing roadblocks, having technical malfunctions — things that usually make us tear our hair out in frustration — all led to good things eventually. God is in the details.

And, sometimes, good fortune lies in strokes of bad luck.


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