After another half an hour, the train came to its final stop - Narita town. They got down and enquired if there is any transport to the airport. They were informed that this was the last train of the day and the services wouldnt start until morning. Then they showed the slips of paper to the officials. Apparently she had written requesting the officials to find them a place to stay for the night. That guy made some calls and then informed in that same broken english that no place is available. Outside the station, some passengers had made a queue for the taxis. The indians too joined it. While Rama was waiting in the queue, Sha and Karteek went to call the airport to see if they are still open. The final straw on their back fell, when they learnt that not only was the airport closed but even the hotel outside the airport was also completely booked and there is not place to stay anywhere. While Sha and Karteek were listening to this as if it were death sentences, Rama was accosted by another Japanese stranger. He asked in perfect english whether they were having some problem. Rama informed him that they had a flight in the morning and so set out to go to the airport at night, but due to the cancellation of the trains they were stranded. Then the stranger told Rama that he noticed the worry on their faces and hence decided to enquire as he knew how tough it is to manage here without knowing the language. By then, Karteek and Sha had joined them. He continued his story saying that due to the earthquake, it had taken him eight hours to get back to his town (Narita) from the place where he went to visit his dentist. His wife and children had left for their granny's place that day and hence he is alone in his house. He then asked them to spend the night in his home and that he would drop them off at the airport early in the morning. All three of them looked at each others faces. Before they replied, he said it would be no trouble for him at all, and asked them to come to the other side of the station. He took them to the other side of the station where there was light, and an AM-PM shop and asked them to wait there, while he would go home and get his car to pick them up and take them to his home. He enquired whether they were hungry. They had not eaten anything except that sushi, hence they were actually very hungry. But they said no. Yet, lending a deaf ear to the refusals he took Rama to the AM-PM shop and asked him to buy whatever he and his friends would prefer. He bought some foodstuffs for himself. Since Rama did not attempt to select anything, he selected some lemon teas for the three of them. He left them saying that he would be back with his car in less than half an hour to take us. He also promised to check out whether the only indian restaurant in town, "Namaste" owned by his friend Ajay was open.
Then there was the dilemma. Should they actually go with him? All his actions had raised doubts in the three minds as to whether he was genuine or had some evil plan. Why would anyone spend more than a 1000 Yen and buy you teas to drink. Why would anyone offer 3 foreigners a place to stay at 1:30 in the night. Why would anyone offer to walk back to their home which would take around 15 minutes and then bring a car to take you. Either he had to be an exceptionally kind person or a person with nefarious designs. This place where they were currently, had a small park sort of thing with benches and they could easily spend the remaining few hours there until morning. So they debated whether or not they should accept his offer, if and when he comes back with his car. The debate raged between the three as to whether they should accept the offer. Sha the leader ordered the other two to be quite cautious and careful if in case they were to go with the guy. Before the discussion could conclude, the man returned in his car (which exactly fit his description earlier) and ask them to load their luggage. Once again, they tried to convince him that they wouldnt like to trouble him and would spend whatever was left of the night outside. But he would have none of it. He also said that he had seen a harrassed indian couple in the train. They couldnt understand what was going on, they couldnt follow the announcements etc and felt sad that he couldnt help them. So, now he got a chance and he wouldnt lose it. He also apologetically told them that the "Namaste" restaurant was closed. Finally all four of them sat in the car to go to the house of this seemingly good samaritan.
He took them to his house. On the way, he described his two young children and told some anecdotes about his Indian friend Ajay, the one who set up the 'Namaste' restaurant. His house was on the ground floor of an apartment. They were still skeptical of the person. But as they entered the house, all their doubts were laid to rest as the house looked exactly as the home of a family with two young children should look. They noticed the kid's cycle, the crayon paintings hanging on the walls etc. He apologised for the untidiness of his house. All these actions were making them more uncomfortable. They should be thanking him profusely for helping them in such a dire situation, but he is thanking them for having agreed to come to his house. He offered them some fruits and buns. He also showed them a computer which they could use if they wanted. All three of them took turns to check mail and send mails to their family and friends that soon they would be in their midst. Meanwhile, the good stranger learnt of the purpose of the indians visit to Japan. He then told that he had a real estate business. Rama asked him how come he spoke such good english to which he replied that he had stayed in Guam (US territory in the pacific) for 10 years. He also told them of his plans to shift to California since his business was not doing well. Finally around 3, they decide to sleep. He shows them the 'tatami' room to rest and retires to his bed. At 6 in the morning, all are awake. The three indians because they need to get ready to go to the airport. The Japanese guy because he has to drop them there. They thank the Japanese guy and as a token of gratitude present him with a poster that they had collected. It has a goddess picture and celebration of india written in it in Japanese. He drops them at the famed Narita Airport at 7 in the morning. They were well in time for 10 o clock flight.
Whew! Finally its over. This post would hold the record of being my longest post for quite some time. It has 4969 words. Thats as good as a short story. But then, isnt it?
ps - I dont have the patience or energy to proof read this thing. Any errors if pointed out will be dealt with. Until then, bear with the language. :P
‘ M eh!’ He sighed. Airports no longer fascinated him as they used to. He strolled around the departure lounge seeking a comfortable se...