Friday, August 5, 2011

What is it?

The day before yesterday, I had to stay back at office until about 7 PM. Now thats very late for me. I leave office by 5 PM, to beat the traffic and have a relatively comfortable commute. My organization allows flexible work timings; which means they dont have a fixed time or attendance; so leaving by 5 works for me. I anyway get back home and login from home and oversee office stuffs - conference calls to attend with folks across the globe or continuing to finish my assignments.

Yeah, so getting back to my late exit from office. It was raining and as usual; the auto drivers were throwing tantrums - demanding double fares. I was at their mercy; desperately trying to hire an auto when one just screeched right in front of me. I mentioned my destination when I saw a passenger already. But the driver agreed to my destination and quoted double. I rejected and firmly said "The meter charge would be so much". He instantly said "Alright, 20 Rs more on that".

It was much better than either waiting indefinitely for an auto or to be hiring an auto which demands double, anyway this guy should be taking a detour to drop me. But I was not sure; he already had another passenger; I dont want to be shown the other parts of Bangalore before being dropped and yet pay the desired amount. I wanted to ask if that passenger was willing to share the fare with me, but I am not comfortable with such arrangements ever so I kept quiet. I asked which route he will be taking and he said he would take whatever route I directed him. So that was fine, I hopped in; the passenger was a girl. Him and her seemed to be familiar with each other and they chattered non stop.

Hardly 1 km; he halted and I heard him ask that girl "What do you want to eat?" He asked me if I would like to eat/drink something. I asked if it will take time? All I want to do was get home and relax. He said it would take just a couple of minutes. I was about to alight when the girl said that they just want to drink some water to break their fast - they were excited to be having Ifthiar while commuting :)

Yup, they were Muslims; later I learnt he was her brother-in-law. But what struck me was their hospitality. He brought me a glass of thick mango milkshake. I dismissed him saying that I just had my tea. Didnt want that poor fellow to spend for me. But what he said next completely bowled me over. In broken English he said "Happy madam, Ramzan....Happy..Ramzan".

There is this total stranger whom minutes ago; dismissed rudely saying I wont be giving a penny beyond the meter charge. He totally forgot about my behavior then and was offering me juice to celebrate the spirit of sharing, joy and brotherhood of Ramzan. Thats the true spirit isnt it? He was not as educated as me; but his behavior floored me down. The next moment I was ashamed of my rude behavior with him.

I started interacting with the girl; wanted to seize every chance to justify my rude behavior and shoo away my guilt. She seemed to agree on the attitude of the auto drivers. She talked about her education, job,  asked me for suggestions as to how to go about her career. But the guilt would not leave me

As I parted; I gave him extra money than what I promised; the proud and foolish me who tried to compensate his act of benevolence by money and thereby trying to wipe my dirty hands off the guilt. I did not honestly want him to lost that 20 or 30 odd Rs he spent for my juice. He tried to give back that extra money saying that I was paying him more than what I quoted. He won again - I would have forgotten the episode had he silently pocketed that extra money and gone his way.

No amount of money can compensate such deeds. What to call this act? Humanity? His selfishness - to share during Ramzan as his Allah said? Or was that how he was? I am clueless. But henceforth, I will remember him forever and his actions throughout my lifetime.


  1. :) its in our genes .. We indians are large hearted and when it comes to festivals its more larger ..

    Its only in india where we find people like that , money is not always a big deal ..
    ah blessss .. you know i was having a rotten day till now , yeas jsut 3 hours into work .. and this story made me smile...

    YEsssssssss small deeds make us all so happy this reminded me of a episode , which i think i will post soon ..

    Lovely person I wish all humans are that good world will be a great place to live in

    Happy ramadaan .. I got Two big utnesils full of meat and Biryani last night when i got home .. my 3 doors down neighbours gave .. and I am looking forward to another 24 days of fooood coming my way he he ehe i am greedy i know ..


  2. and i am first tooo.. my reader says 1 minute you posted this he he hehe

  3. I have lived in Bangalore and as far as the argument about the driver asking for the double fare, its fairly common (and irritating). But here are two things. He was doing his job(trying to make as much as he can). But at the same time, his attitude as a person, that of sharing and wishing well of others shows that at heart he is humble, humane. Which is so refreshing to see... I have struggled a lot with the drivers in Bangalore also, but on my lucky days, I have met the good ones too.. :)

    Flexi are not in IBM? Are you? :)


  4. Thats an experience to remember. Fellow bangalorean here , and I know the tantrums thrown by these rickshaw wallas. But just cos of a sickening few everyone is branded to be bad. However as you've said some of these genuine guys show behaviour way above money!

  5. Heartwarming ! Simple act of kindness have lasting impact on us specially when we are not expecting it. I don't think that you were rude to him.It was a 'fare negotiation' and you also agreed to the halt they wanted to make ( trying to make you feel better

  6. ain't some people, as they say, men of God?

    There is no need to feel guilty about it as earlier he asked for more money, thus you behaved that way..but you mentored the girl, that's nice..i wish i find such autowalas too! sigh!

  7. wonderful post is a common language which brings heaven on earth..if only all believers understand that...hmm..nice to c this positive post..keep the cheers..

  8. There are auto drivers and there are auto drivers.

    There are passengers and there are passengers !

    Brilliant story. I have always attempted to strike a conversation with them. be it auto or taxi. Everytime, I learn a thing or two, about people that I can call 'my own' that I feel I am so distant from !

    this story reasserts my belief in the tenets of love and respect that one human being can show to another

  9. B, there aren't autodrivers and computer engineers - only human beings. You find the good and the bad and the ugly in all categories. The fact that he accepted your bargaining and later on your profuse attempts at making it up with equanimity. But you felt guilty and then tried to cover it up.

    The problem, B, is with you and like you, most of us. There are pretenders and the naturals. I could quote several such incidents where I too felt guilty in my unnatural behaviour. But then, that's life, uh? One learns and learns all the time...

    But both of you, the autodriver and the passenger are good people. He offered you a Milkshake and you, your concern about their lives. Quits!

  10. Wah. What a cozy experience! Ramzan or any festival in general brings the best out of us.

  11. Loved reading.Both are humane,the difference being,one is natural,other is acquired,both are valuable in their own way..happy ramzan..
    (such situations I don't know why I think the lines Lord Rama advising Laxmana,'lakshmanopadesam'.It describes how we are jumping into something and then invites guilt...Still couldn't stop.But the lines are by

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  13. Ramzan or not, whether there is God or no God, whether it is Indian or the Icelander there are good people still a vast diaspora. That is what drives the auto and gets the world to turn on its axis.

    As for your reaction more than rudeness it was triggered by the impatience and the frustrations of commuting.

    Not a bad end nevertheless.

  14. I think you were lucky this time. It is common sense not to accept anything to eat from unknown people. Haven’t you heard stories about train passengers accepting biscuits offered by fellow passengers, only to become unconscious, and get their possessions like gold and cash stolen? I don’t even want to think what would have happened to you, on a rainy night, if they both were in cahoots to do some harm to you. You can live with if they steal your money and credit cards. But what if you lose something else or even your life? Please don’t say the fellow passenger was a girl. As for as criminals are concerned, there is no difference between a man and a woman. You are a very intelligent person. My humble request for you to be careful in future.

  15. great experience
    but be careful in future not everyone is like this autowala.

  16. B, I second what SG said. You can't help it, but the way the world is, you got to take people with a proverbial pinch of salt!

  17. The only matter with auto drivers in Bangalore is that you should first deal with the rate. Once that is finalized, they never bothers you and are very helpful most of the time.

  18. I second what SG said ...thanks SG for pointing that out .

  19. This is life! when we grow all cynical about everything falling around us; there come people who teach us that good behavior and decency is still alive.

  20. Bikram,

    Indians or not; humans we all are. The driver might not have even realized what impression his acts made on me, thats how it is.

    We leave a lasting impression without even realizing it. And yes, knowingly or not; it makes one's day.

    At the end, he was happy I gave him extra money; I was happy I met a good soul.

    Happy Ramdan to you too. Enjoy your Biryani and Kheer. Yeah you are first :)


    I am a born and raised true blue Bangalorean and these minor tiffs with auto people are my everyday affair. But its these tiny little deeds that count. His acts made me think, rethink about the outlook of life; thats what matters.

    No, I am not in IBM. Most product R&D organizations have flexi timings :)


    Yeah, he taught me something that day. Thats what matters to me in the end.


    I dont think it was kindness; he wasnt feeding a hungry soul. It was that childlike attitude of his - he didnt seem to remember that I was harsh with him few seconds ago. I also told "look, can we get going. I am late already".

    I was insensitive to the fact that he was fasting all day and all that he wanted to do was break his fast with a juice. Yet, he didnt mind all that - just like children.

    Feeling better? Yeah I think so :) Thank you for being sweet :)


    You see God in such things :)


    Thank you. :-) Yeah you said it right.


    :-) Haaaaa

    Yes, I try to strike a conversation with them; you get to know their perspective of life; of others and it gets interesting. When you part; you know you made 2 people feel better - one is that person and the other is you :)


    Yes, I felt bad about my behavior. I was not as rude as others would be; but its rude to my standards. I am a very soft person. But I learnt something out of it; so I dont mind.

    We all make mistakes. :)


    Yup! I feel we should be that way every moment be it festival or no festival :)


    :-) It was a learning experience.


    :-) Yup!! I think so; but yet being rude is not me. It happens rarely and I am not proud of it.


    I read the first two lines and didnt read it further. I understand your concern but I cant take negativity.

    There are 2 ways to look at things

    1. Always with negativity and suspicion
    2. Embracing the situation and feeling positive about it.

    I follow the second one. Yes, there are such people; unfortunate things do happen. But I cant spend each moment suspecting each person coming across my way. I do have that acumen to judge; and its not that I drank that juice he offered me in one gulp.

    Please dont fill poison in my mind. Thank you


    Yes, I know it better. Thank you


    You too Balan :(


    Yes, they are helpful that way


    Hmm I dont want to think on those terms.


    :-) Yes, right

  21. B, I missed seeing the points that now SG and Balan made. You stumbled when you did an unwise thing of consuming some food a stranger offered. With the odd stories that we hear better to be careful. Though in this case it may have been a genuine offer from a good human being.
    Better as Balan said see things with a little salt to taste.

  22. Anil,

    This is what 'being influenced' is.

    I would just like to make this point. I didnt mention anywhere I consumed what was offered. Did I?

    I am talking about an incident that make me retrospect myself; my behavior towards that guy.

    Next, its wise to be aware of situations and take precaution than regretting. I am mature enough to analyze the situation and take measures accordingly. I accepted the drink he gave me, didnt hurt him in the process.

    It made me realize his good nature - not once but twice -when he gave back the extra money - remember?

    Above all, I dont want to muck up the experience with suspicion as this.

    I dont approve SG mentioning this; in fact the first thing I read this morning as soon as I woke up at 5 before hitting the gym was his comment - the first two lines and it just put me off.

    Later; Balan, Kavita also joined in. Each situation is different - I dont want to see this in a negative way.

  23. B, cool down. I guess a workout at the gym must. Do not get agitated.

    The opinions were presumptive in so far as you did not mention in the post that your partook what they offered. But you did. didn't you?
    Yes, I also agree with you that it is unfair to be negative .

    May be SG was quick in grasping the point he thought was important here and some of us saw the possible anomaly only after seeing his comment!

    I also agree with you that the loftier attribute that the gentleman displayed must not be eclipsed by suspicion and innuendos.And also the whole discussion and opinion should not negate the experience that the incident gave you .

    But, B, the observations that was made need not be taken as an insinuation but as a vital part of what also could be in a similar incident in the world today as we hear and know about.

    Your intelligence, acumen and maturity to analyse situations is not what was disputed. How so ever wise one is and the depth of experience life has given , there may be moments when one can tread. And also even when we hold a positive view and empirical knowledge of facts it is always better to keep in mind it is a jungle out there!

  24. Anil,

    :-) Sorry if my words seemed tough; but I wanted to convey what I think about this suspicion thing loud and clear.

  25. Though we meet such people for a very brief amount of time, they leave their tracse forever, don't they?

  26. I am also reading your reply early in the morning. I do not fill poison in your mind. All I did was to humbly request you to be careful in future. That is all.

  27. Oops, B! Sorry for that 'Kallu-kadi'! I cannot recollect how many times I have been taken for a ride because of my trust and faith in people. All I wanted to convey is that there are good and bad people around and it pays to be discerning, not necessarily be suspicious or paranoiac! Maybe SG/Sm went a bit ahead with his/her imagination, but things like that has happened, you know. Take care -and take that thorn out of your mind! :-)

  28. Nethra,

    :-) Yes.


    Thank you. Unfortunate things can happen how much ever careful you are. Suspecting everyone everything at all times only keeps you blind from appreciating beautiful moments.

    I am always careful.


    I totally agree with you Balan. We do fall prey however careful we are. But taking a U-turn in imagination instead of appreciating that deed put me off..

  29. You just have a new follower madam. My thoughts on this - yes, Muslims are very generous in their nature. I can tell you this. Earlier in May,I had gone for a Himalayan trekking expedition.We had an entire day to ourselves in Delhi before our return to Goa. I went about exploring the capital by myself. The temp n humidity was sooooooooo high and I was thirsty all the while. Kept having my stops for something to quench my parched throat. A short distance from the Red Fort was this mosque. Outside, there were this Muslims who from large utensils were pouring glassfuls of cool water for the passers-by. I was so touched. Constant liquids down my system was a must to go on. I can skip successive meals but can never do without water or its related forms for long.

  30. Basil,

    Welcome to B Log sir :)

    That was thoughtful of them. I have couple of experiences as this. Such simple things can have a long lasting effect isnt it?

    Thank you for your comments.

  31. a beautiful post. The auto driver taught all of us a great lesson. We read all these things in books, spiritual articles, but we never imply this on our life. sad. And look at him...his simple act made you elated and this post in return made my day :)

  32. Each one of us a good human being.Auto driver has set an example for those who have only religion tag on their face.
    I too would have given him some extra fare

  33. I don't think his behavior has anything to do with religion.
    It is what is expected out of each of us. Probably has a lot to do with the upbringing

  34. There was nothing to feel guilty. that time you were a commuter, who was trying to get a fair price.

    In fact he was not fair in asking more then metered. Right?

    and then commuter & rickshaw wala gave way to two human beings thats it.

    Anyway Keep Smiling.

    May God Bless You.

  35. Shadow,

    You back :)

    Thank you. Yes, those simple things really changes your perspective. I learnt a lesson

    Chowla sir,

    You said it right sir :)


    Yup! religion has got nothing to with it. Its humanity and mutual respect for fellow human being which is tough to come by nowadays.

  36. Sometimes in life.. we get to learn about things in life from the least expected person.. life presents itself before us.. in different forms.. and leaves a lasting impression in our hearts...

  37. Anon,

    Thanks for your nice words. Makes me feel better :)


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!