“Nandini madam! Want to come for coffee??” colleague pradeep asked casually. Working next to nandini since 3 years, pradeep never made an attempt to know nandini really. He promptly says “hi and “bye”, never attempts to indulge in a conversation. They were colleagues, in fact contacts in an address book. Another name for e-mail forwards. “I guess no one wants to be friends with a person in wheel-chair” nandini remised. It may be true may not be true… but one thing certain is that either people are too friendly or too aloof! Why don’t they behave normal?? She asked herself.
“Yes! I would love to have coffee!” she answered, coming to present, leaving her train of thoughts.
“Well then! I will bring it for you!”- Pradeep offered magnanimously.
“Why trouble? We will go together” nandini said matter-of-factly.
“Well… of course we can! “He said now slowly. Suddenly he asked again” you haven’t been to café’ in our office?”
“No, I didn’t have the chance, always had from espresso” said nandini.
“Ok, I will take you! “ pradeep offered to push the wheelchair. Nandini politely refused and wheeled herself happily, without even noticing the changing colors in pradeep’s face.
Nandini stopped in her tracks… pardon my language, in her wheels when she looked ahead.
Nandini looked at the steps despairingly-“I wish people would only have brains without hands and legs!” She thought to herself shifting her weight in the creaking wheelchair. She laughed to herself imagining people with no limbs at all! Just a mass of body from head to torso which can fly!! Nandini silently marveled at her own thought. She smiled big at her own thought!
“How do we go now? Shall I ask for help?” pradeep asked.
Nandini is helpless in her own thoughts. She never expected what she has been seeing there. There were stairs that are leading to café’ and those stairs separated in two archways with more steps, one leading to café’ other to a food joint. “Total eighteen steps” nandini mentally calculated.
Pradeep called for his friends immediately. Two came immediately, one slowly. They were all smiles. Nandini started counting. “It will be easy! Dear!” she said to herself. Four member team started lifting the wheel-chair. It took a while for them to do the logistics of the wheelchair transportation. Who has to be in front and who has to be holding the back side. It’s no less than the logistics management we do regularly in company- nandini thought to her.
Now the team started their journey of climbing the eighteen steps. Somebody pulled nandini’s hair followed by apologetic “ouch!! Sorry!!”. Nandini plastered a smile on her face. Her heart is in her throat.Eyes fully opened. Seeing but not looking anything, their struggle in lifting the wheelchair, sweat covered faces, smell of sweat, their eagerness to help. At last the journey finished. One guy is rubbing his purple turned hand. Pradeep jubilantly ordered coffee. All drank with all smiles from nandini and started their descent.
Nandini offered a big “thanks” dazedly, trying to remember flavor of coffee she just now had. Profusely returned with a big “ you are welcome anytime honey!”
Nandini slowly started wheeling herself, pradeep in trail.
Suddenly nandini said-“don’t invite me again, Pradeep!”
Pradeep immediately said- “ why madam! It’s no sweat” mopping his brow.
Nandini understood. A point well taken’- by her wheel.