I was standing alone at the bus stop patiently waiting for the bus No 201 that takes me to  my destination. After about 10 minutes, I saw a weird looking man approaching me briskly. He came near me and enquired softly, “Time, please.” I replied back “ Sorry Sir, I do not have a watch. Please ask somebody else.” The man kept quiet and silently walked away, but did not care to ask any of the bystanders. I was a bit amazed at his behaviour, however did not bother much as I was eager to reach my office at Tilaknagar

Again, the next day I was at the same point waiting for my bus. After about 5-10 min I saw the same person walking towards me. Giving a wide smile he again asked. "Time, please?"  A bit irritated this time, I shouted back “ I am sorry. I do not carry a watch. You can please ask somebody else.” The man said nothing, but went back with a sad face. I was sorry for him as I thought he was hurt. But, I did not give much thought to the incident, as my bus came immediately after and beckoned me.

The next morning, I came to the bus stop with some of my colleagues.  After some chit-chat, I saw the same man approaching me for the third time. He came near us and put forward his usual question, “Time, please.” One of my colleagues standing next to me looked at his watch and answered. “It is 11:15” At this, much to our surprise, the man raised his voice and blurted “Why do you want to answer? I am asking this gentleman here!”, pointing his finger towards me.  I could not resist any longer. I yelled out “Look here. Are you mad? I am saying that I do not possess a watch, why do you keep asking me the same question again and again when there are so many people out here.” The man became reticent and started trudging back slowly.

I was really intrigued at his strange manner and was disturbed that this issue is taking a serious turn now. I was still pondering over the incident when our bus came by and we boarded it hurriedly.

I took a different route to the bus-stop the next day, and stood a few feet away from the stop in the hope not to be visible to that person, in case he came along. But, alas, the very same person in the same dress, caught my attention and I could see him frantically searching for me in the usual place. After some moments, he spotted me and beamed with joy like a kid, while I was fuming inside.  

As I was standing there wondering what to do, a mid-sized van stopped by.  Two persons, in blue uniforms, came out and rushed towards the man who was now making his way towards me. As they were about to take the man into custody and get him to board the van, I grew a bit inquisitive. I went to their side and asked them. “What is the matter? Why are you taking this man? Do you know him?” One of them replied, “Yes Sir. He escaped from the mental hospital a few days back”. I was dumbfounded. On further enquiry, I found out that his father has been murdered in front of him and from then onwards, he became mentally unsound. But, why on earth did he put the question to me only? Perhaps, it is because I resembled his father.. or perhaps something else which I will never know.


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