It strikes you sometimes, the random kindness of strangers. These random acts, by themselves insignificant except for a certain moment. Like when you are climbing the steps of a narrow tower, and you find yourself face to face with someone going down. With no space. You negotiate, suck in air. Make yourself smaller than you are. Step sideways. Allow.
In a city like Delhi, the randomness is even more erratic. And yet certain flashes of it exist. Like some guy at the toll booth telling you not to worry, he’ll get you change. You’re like his sister, after all.
You see, the people of this city are never polite. There is a rudeness in everything. In their incessant honking, in their gestures, in their walk. Their elbows forever ready to nudge you, even if painfully. But they are kind, sometimes. Even their kindness is sort of rude. An abrupt gesture that you are meant to forget. To acknowledge it implies that you have seem them vulnerable.
For a city that has been attacked so many times, it needs to build walls around itself. For a city full of sarais, it is strangers who must become family. And with family, you can be rude and thankless. Even if you secretly admire them. Because at some point you find yourselves sitting next to them, and when they fan themselves in the heat, a little cool air grazes you. They look at you rudely. But continue fanning themselves, a bit more than really required. And for that accidental kindness, you are grateful.