Once I got a bus bound for Shimla. I was in high spirits. It was my first occasion to go to a hill station. The bus started. It was going at a fast speed. By twelve I was nearing Chandigarh—the capital of Punjab and Haryana.
At Chandigarh we had some passengers. They were all bound for Shimla. They seemed to be happy set of people. They talked and gossiped. It was sitting all alone. I was infected with their jovial nature. I wanted to be on friendly terms with him.
The fellow smiled. He understood that I was a novice. He therefore, wanted to make a fool of me. He came forward. He sat near me. We began to talk. In the course of conversation I came to know that the fellow was a resident of Delhi and was going to Shimla on an excursion1 in the company of his friends. The fellow hinted that they would be putting up in a hotel. Since the landlord was their friend, they were sure they would get a good accommodation.
I, too, was in need for. some accommodation, therefore, requested the gentleman to use his influence and get me a good accommodation at least for a month. The man promised to help me as soon as he reached Shimla. We were at Shimla in the afternoon. It had rained only recently and, therefore, it was rather cold. I gave some money to this new friend as an advance for accommodation and then set about arranging my things.
It was now evening. The fellow did not return. I grew suspicious. I made enquiries at the hotel. I was told that none had so far come to get the accommodation booked. I was stunned. It was a cruel joke the fellow had played on me. I hired a coolie and went out in search of some other accommodation. Soon I got one in an up-to-date hotel.
Although I had to pay much, I was satisfied. While I lay in my bed in the hotel. I remembered the fellow who had cheated me of my money. I was now determined that I would never make a way-side acquaintance. It was a valuable lesson I learnt from the incident.