The Paigah family were involved in ruling the Princely State of Hyderabad in the 18th century. Most of the family is buried within beautiful tombs in a peaceful area south of central Hyderabad
After visiting the collection of tombs, we waited in the rustic street that leads from them to a big highway. Cocks, hens,and goats roamed around. Eventually, an autorickshaw (‘auto’) arrived. We hailed it, then boarded it.
Before heading out of the rustic enclave, our driver stopped by the entrance to a yard. A little boy approached and greeted his father, our driver. The latter gave his son a package. It was rotis, which the driver had specially fetched for his mother. The boy took them indoors to his grandmother and returned to wave goodbye to his dad and us.
We left the area and began speeding along busy main roads towards the city centre.
The auto driver’s mobile phone rang. He pulled up by the side of the road, and answered it. Immediately, he burst into tears, crying uncontrollably.
We asked him what was wrong. He told us that his mother had just died.
Our driver resumed driving. Every few seconds, he wiped tears from his eyes. We told him that we were very sorry for him, and that he must return home. He did so, but only after making sure that we were safely aboard another auto to take us to our destination.
Even though we did not know him from Adam and are unlikely ever to meet him again, his grief was infectious, palpable.