Bright in Barcelona




Sobs … but this time the noise woke me up.

Ever thought of the perfect sound you would want to wake up in the morning? I thought as I opened my eyes.

An unknown girl crying in your dorm is not one of those.

She was alone, legs sprawled on the floor, back rested against the lockers and face covered with her hands. You stifle your sobs and these become hiccups.

I looked around… All the other fellows were still asleep.

I picked up the only bottle of water left on my bedside.

‘What happened?’ I asked as I extended water towards her.


Sun in Barcelona is always happy. Perhaps it takes after the city, youthful and slight.

The blue eyed blonde had a story to tell and I was keen to listen as I took her out from the miseries of the hostel.

‘I thought I had faced the worst in Morocco’ she said sipping on the coffee.

We were walking in the bright as she told me how she lost all her possessions on the beach last night.

‘They took everything…my purse, my passport, credit card. I did not notice. I was just looking at the stars…how could this happen’ she broke out in tears again.

‘Hey there’, I chipped in. ‘Well now you are just the way nature intended you to be…unburdened and light’ I smiled to calm her down.

We were on our way to the police station.

‘I had saved for a year for this trip’, she continued again.

The girl was intent on completing the world tour. Barcelona was just half way from Canada, the point she started.

‘I planned to stop in Poland for a month or two, find a job, and earn some bucks to continue the tour’, she mentioned.

‘And what sort of job would you find in Poland?’ I was being realistic.

‘Anything… I can babysit, teach…’ She was a school teacher.

I was intrigued. We had reached the police station.


The last time I had been to the police station was in Karachi, after two armed men had snatched my car on gun point.

I already had low expectations. But this time I had walked into an institution.

None of us knew Spanish…I was still struggling to convey my hello to the officer when he handed us an application form in English. Life was much easier now.

The only item not stolen was the gifted teddy bear. She was supposed to take photos with the bear in each city and mail those back to the grand ma.

We spent an hour in the police station conversing while waiting, chatting as we filled in the forms.

I quizzed her on the ability to complete the world tour now and she showered me with the possibilities.

The closest feeling I could reminisce was the time when my car had broken down on the all shiny, concrete road of Dubai. Back then I was uneasy. Now it appears I was naive.

She did not know anyone on her road, wanted to explore the world before settling into the decision of how to spend the later part of life.

Life can still be the way it used to be in your childhood, if you are willing to be curious. She was curious.


I insisted to the hostel admin to return her the deposit money. It was not a routine procedure. But they did. And in the joy of that moment of helping someone, I thought I will write the admin a thank you mail later.

I never did.

And so we walked her to the bus station. By this time some of us had woken up.

Spotting the ride from far, she was keen to continue her journey.

‘Best of luck for the rest of your trip’ I said.

She smiled. I could see the fresh journey on her face. The sobbing girl of morning was no more.

‘Merci…umm…’ in her attempt to thank me, she mumbled.

‘Sarim’, I completed.

‘Nice to meet you Sarim’ she spoke softly.

A glow…the new road.

Nice to meet you too.



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