Have you ever lost your way and felt alone and helpless? What is that feeling that tugs at your already pounding heart? The feeling of blood rushing to your head and sweat drip dripping all over-have you felt it?

It has happened once before..when I was in school. I had a rough day, the latter part of the day was spent practicing for an upcoming Inter-school Basketball match and I was dead tired. I got onto the bus and got a window seat. It was a 45mins to 1 hour drive home and the breeze was lulling me to sleep. I tried to fight it to the best of my ability, but I guess I failed. The next thing I knew when I opened my eyes was that I was in unfamiliar territory and the bus had just a handful of passengers. I had dozed off and missed my home stop :eek:. I got up and walked to the conductor and asked him where we were and he told me the name of the place-which was half and hour beyond my stop!!! My bus pass would not work if I had to go back. Luckily I had some change in my pocket and got down when the bus stopped. I crossed the road and took the same number Bus back-though I knew other buses too would take the same route, I didn’t want to take a chance. How clever of me!!! πŸ˜€ .

Yesterday I decided to venture out alone-walking. My sis, Bil and me have been walking this route from home for the last 2.5 weeks and I was very confident of the way. It wasn’t even that difficult…it was just a straight road for about 3 miles, a left at the end of the road, a few hundred feet and then turn back and walk the same route. So off I went on a brisk walk all by myself. 40mins..1 way and I turned back. It was on the back of my mind that its a straight road, nothing to worry..after all I’ve been walking this road the last 2 weeks and have been driven on this road a hundred times.

But, but, but, I missed the right turn while walking back and ended up walking straight ahead. Now, the worst part is that all roads here in this place in California (I haven’t been to any other state here) look so similar, and to top it all when you are a passenger in a car, you never tend to take notice of the street names or the turns etc. I kept walking ahead for another 30 mins and then started to realize that it looked like unfamiliar territory!!! But surprisingly I was calm and not tensed. I knew I had missed a turn and had to walk back. Well, I can’t stop a passing car and ask for directions – Β as if this was India! So I waited till I could spot an “ok looking Indian face” to ask for directions. There was this Indian guy who was jogging, approaching me. I stopped him and asked him whether this road lead to “***** park” Β He thought for a minute and then confirmed by fears by saying I have missed a turn and that I needed to walk back and turn at this particular road. He fished out his Iphone and showed me the map of where I was and where I had to go. I told him that I am kinda lost having taken a wrong turn. I asked him for his phone to make a call to my BIL (yes I had not taken my phone, dumb me!). But I guess my fingers dialed the wrong number, the call never went to my BIL. There was too much traffic noise I couldn’t even make out if it was a voice mail box or a message saying that the number dialed was wrong. I left a message anyways and thanked the guy and gave back his phone. He took back his phone asked me to keep walking back and jogged away…out of sight. I don’t know whether my eyes were tricking me but it felt that he was running (away) rather than jogging!! πŸ™„ . Well, I kinda expected him to say something like “U seem lost, maybe I’ll wait with you till somebody comes to pick you up”- he being Indian and all.

It was getting dark and I was getting tired. I had already walked for about 2 hours and still had another half an hour – 45mins to walk back. My legs had started to ache and I decided to walk slow. There was no point getting scared and tensed. I had to think straight, I had to keep me going. I knew by now my BIL and sister would’ve gone in different directions looking for me. My mom would be creating a scene at home. I met another 2 Indian guys walking with a kid and asked them directions again, just to be on the safe side. They too told me the same thing…I was still about 2 miles away and just had to keep walking back.

So I continued on, it was 9pm already. I had been walking from 630pm-I was getting tired. Luckily I had my water bottle with me and kept taking a few sips now and then. I knew I had to make another call to my BIL. (I just couldn’t remember the home number). Then I saw a white couple walking their dog and thought this could be my last chance. I stopped them and told them I seem to be lost. Both of them were so concerned that I was all alone at this time of the night. The man took out his Iphone and showed me the map again. He asked me if I had a number to call and gave me his phone. This time I dialed the right number and my BIL and me were relieved to hear each other’s voices. He was already out on the streets looking for me. The lady then took over the phone and told him where we were exactly. She assured me that this was a very safe neighborhood, but that apart, I shouldn’t be here all alone at this time of the night. Her husband offered to drop me as I knew the home address and left to bring his car. I was a bit hesitant to get into an unknown person’s car. The lady said she would walk me to the nearest traffic junction as there would be more light there and we can easily spot my BIL’s car.

It was really sweet of them-I saw genuine concern and a willingness to help somebody they didn’t even know. For all they know, I could have acted as though I needed help and attacked the lady when she was alone with me. But as my BIL always says, this country runs on trust-they trusted me and my story. In a few minutes my BIL came by and to say that I was relieved is an understatement! I thanked the lady over and over again. By then her husband had driven over too. Both my BIL and me thanked him too and we parted ways.

We reached home and my BIL asked me to text them saying that we had reached. I text-ed her, thanking her once again and she replied back immediately saying I could call them for any help, anytime.

Marci and Chris – this is for you. I don’t know if I would ever meet you again. I don’t even know if I’d recognize you if I ran into you again. But I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your timely help and for staying with me on the road till my family found me. Goodness does exist in this world.

Thankfully no one at home shouted at me. I guess they were just relieved I was back home safe. I had to tell K the whole story too and he was shocked 😯 . Thankfully he too did not scream at me, but he did eat my brains – in a nice way. I would’ve been a bundle of nerves if this had happened in India. Telling a stranger that you are lost and missed your way is like inviting trouble with an invitation card on a golden platter.

An adventure nevertheless – 3 hours in all. Now I can call myself – Lost and Found Property πŸ™‚ .