When I came out of the railway station, all I was thinking was to find an ATM, to withdraw some cash and take an auto rickshaw towards the bus stand. As expected, the ATM at the railway station was out of cash. An old man, probably in his late sixties, came to me asking where I wanted to go. I told him about the destination which he agreed to go to. He had a cycle rickshaw with him and asked for eighty rupees for the journey. I had ample time at my disposal so I agreed with some apprehensions regarding his age and health. I told him that I need to withdraw some cash. Putting my luggage on the back seat, he said he would find me an ATM. We started our journey.
I realized while withdrawing cash that the distance between the source and destination is worth more than the fare he had demanded. While enjoying the view of the city comfortably sitting in a cycle rickshaw, I was somewhere worried about him, while he was enjoying his job as a routine chore. We approached a bridge where I realized he couldn’t take the rickshaw up the slope with the luggage and I loaded. A few other young rickshaw drivers were doing that with fairly visible pain. At the onset of the bridge I told him that I had to pick up a call, could I walk beside him while he took the rickshaw up the bridge, on which he happily agreed, feeling relaxed. In a few minutes, we cleared the hurdle and he asked me to get on board again.
I could observe a visible change in his behavior. He was much relaxed and willing to talk about where I was going, which bus I was going to board, etc. We reached the destination before time. I asked him to come and have some snacks and tea if he wanted, on which he agreed easily. I asked him what he would like to have, “Samosas” he replied happily. While having snacks and tea he kept on looking after my luggage and the bus.
When I saw my bus, I gave him a hundred rupee note with a good bye. He came rushing towards me after a few moments and said, “Acche se jana beta, koi kuch de to khana mat” (Have a safe journey and do not eat anything offered by strangers)
“Me khana lekar aya hu uncle” I laughed and waved him a good bye.
He was happy without any strings attached, not because I offered him food or a few extra bucks. It was the unexpected concern or care he experienced which we often forget to show in hustles and hurries of our busy lives. We are often deeply occupied in our worries that we forget to treat a few human beings as humans and over time they too accept the treatment to be fair…
Let us do our part in making them again feel special, no matter how small or big but a moment of happiness without any strings attached… 🙂