Girish Joshi

The day I almost starved to death.

7 min read

The new sun is rising as I look outside my moving train window. There is something peculiar about train journeys, they bring out the writer in you. Especially the window seats. Suddenly, everything comes passing by, the thought train begins, with every building, with every tree, and with every farm passing by, you retrospect. Slow music playing in the background in your earphones is all you need more to make the entire travelling experience, more surreal.

Today, I am going to Jaipur. Don’t ask why. I am not here to write about my travel itinerary. Let’s talk about something that makes your mind stop and think. FOOD. Yes, let’s talk about food. I wanted to tell this story for a very long time (yes, three days is a long time if you have nothing specific to do) and finally, I feel like penning it down. I was hungry, well friends say, I always am. Maybe I should check with a doctor, a mental note added. So I was hungry and I was lazy and I was alone at home. Hey, has anyone told you about my excellent cooking skills? No? Great. There is nothing to hear about that. I can’t cook. I was alone at home. And I was hungry. I could have died that day out of starvation. But guess what I survived. Thanks to the greatest invention of this century, food delivery applications. Yes, they are life saviours, it’s high time we give them credit for what it’s worth. Where was I? Yes. Hungry. So one thing led to another and I was successful in placing an order for a White Cheese Pasta (for brevity let’s call it WCP from now) from a not so very famous restaurant. The screen showed that I can have my WCP in the next 25 minutes. It was a long time, but I could wait that long. Now all I had to do was distract myself from thinking about food and hunger for another 25 minutes. And so I did that by diving in the YouTube Marathon. From Taylor Swift’s new album to a European travel vlogger exploring streets of Delhi to stand-up comedy videos to hacks to stop procrastination, I watched it all. I thought my watch was over, so I looked at the phone. It had been about an hour since I placed the order, and my delivery agent still seem to wiggle around in streets somewhere far away from my home.

I was raged. Hunger can make a nice man go crazy. If you would have seen me that day, you’d know how exactly my condition was. The clock said that my WCP was another 20 minutes away. This was totally unacceptable. So I called the delivery agent, after practising how I was going to bash him for being so late in delivering my WCP. It ringed. And with every ring, my heartbeat rose. He did not pick up my call. How unprofessional I thought, but somewhere I was relieved. He gave me a reason, a piece of evidence they call it in the food delivery industry. I was angry just that my anxiety level came down knowing I don’t have to talk to him.

Honestly, the reason I prefer shopping online, booking tickets online, or ordering my food online is that it reduces human interaction. And human interactions give me chills. So I was happy he didn’t pick up my call, but I was angry because my WCP was still not here. I thought I should lodge a complaint against that guy. I can ruin his food delivery career I wondered. How dare he not deliver my WCP on time? I exactly knew how many stars I was going to give this guy.

I was interrupted by the sound of a thunderstorm. I checked my weather app, it was raining in the city. And just then I got a call from an unknown number. I picked up the call. The delivery guy was on the line. He said that he cannot come to my home because it has started to rain, he’s worried about his phone getting wet. He’s waiting at the nearby popular vegetable vendor. He said if I can come to pick it up from there. I said hell no, for a) I was alone at home, can’t lock and go, that would have been counterintuitive in the first place b) duh, it’s raining outside and c) why would I? It’s his responsibility to bring me food, that’s what he is getting paid for. So I told him, I don’t know, whether it rains or not, whether your phone goes bad because of water or not, put it inside your vehicle, somewhere cosy and come quickly to deliver. I hung up. I think he felt that I was angry and hungry. I thought now he’d just cancel on me and I will never have my WCP. My stomach & I almost cried. I thought, if he knew the weather was bad, then why did he not deliver early, why was he riding like crazy, wiggling around the wrong streets. I knew what he would say. He would say it’s the restaurant’s fault. They took too much time in preparing your WCP. Such a shame, such a shame that I would die of starvation in the century when the food is plenty and when my internet connection is working. I guess old folks are right when they say, never trust technology too much. My whole life was passing in front of my eyes, just like I see these farms and animals passing from my moving train window right now. Leaving things behind, I took a deep breath of gratitude. I held a comfortable position on my bed, adjusted my laptop, and waited for the death to come peacefully. Such a shame. What would tomorrow’s newspaper read? I wondered. What would my mother think of me? I wondered. I told myself, whatever my time was here on earth, it was good.

I am an atheist. I never believed in miracles. I believed in logic, and logic told me to die but death told me not today, and an atheist saw a miracle that day. I think it’s god’s way of making his presence felt. My phone rang, it was that same unknown number. He said, I cannot find you home, which turn should I take? I gave him the directions and stood on the main gate of home to personally receive my, by then must have been cold, WCP. I told him to come to the first left in the street in front of the hospital. He took the second left, I caught a glimpse of him, probably his delivery backpack. I called him and told him to come back. He did but what I saw made my mind stop and think. He came on a scooter with four wheels and two sticks to assist him to walk. And suddenly, my every thought, every word, every act came passing by just like I see things passing by from my moving train window. I felt sorry and I felt terrible for being an, for being an asshole. He stopped in front of my house finally. He told me to take out my WCP from his delivery backpack. No delivery agent, in my entire life, has ever let me see inside his backpack. That was really kind of him and trustful. I could have taken as many food parcels as I wanted but I didn’t and I couldn’t because there was only one food parcel, my WCP. Anyway, I was touched. The WCP was worth Rs 120 delivery included. I gave him Rs 200. He said, I don’t have a change, this is my first delivery, and probably last. I went inside to bring change, but halfway through inside. I turned around. I went to him and handed over that Rs 200 note to him. He said God bless you. There was nothing more I could say other than hope that he keeps delivering food to hungry souls.

Was the WCP worth the wait? I can’t say, but it definitely saved my life that day. I am not exaggerating. My moving train took a halt.

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