It happened on the day of Christmas.
You see, my vehicle is a dirty little thing. I call it a rickety wuss. It is not a motorcycle. It is a pity. That thing is a very sad sight with me, a six feet tall guy on the road. Ah, well I was parking it on the side of a relatively quiet road in Pune,believe me it was a peaceful road,such a rarity in Pune. At this point I must tell you that since four years my vehicle (ok ok! its a Hero Puch! ..a deranged species of two wheeler no more manufactured in this world!) does not have a handle lock. I carry at its backside an iron chain with a lock to put it around its tyre (pathetic, I know). So generally on such peaceful roads I let go of putting the chain around the tyre. I got down from the vehicle,put it between two handsome,robust,macho motorcycles.As I was just about to put it on the stand, a man started to say something to me from behind.
"What?" I said, my baby still in my hands.
"Oh,sorry,please put it on the stand first.........." He said in marathi.
"Oh boy...there we go again."
Bewildered, I put it on the central stand.I had not locked the iron chain around the tyre. I turned to him.
"Sir, I have to get to "Sangavi" ....I dont have any money .....when bad time dawns upon a man it leaves him stranded like this without money ...without food ...my thekedaar was supposed to come but didnt ....."
It turned out exactly what I had feared. I dont remember much of what he said. What's above is a vague idea that I am giving to you. I got it that he was begging me to give him five rupees. He was about 35, looked a respectable man, sort of. Clothes were okay, clean. He had in his hands a polythene bag which had a plastic tiffin box in it which told me that he would have set out from his home with the food. But his face did not look fine as many of his teeth were broken. As he talked, his tongue moved one of the two teeth on the side. Obviously he consumed tobacco or some such rubbish which ruins your teeth. So he did not much take care of himself.His hair were dishevelled. I was suspicious. But surprisingly he spoke a few things in the middle of his sentences in english.
"Please Sir,... help me..i have to go to sangavi..please give me five rupees..."
"What will five rupees do?"
I knew that Sangavi was a colony on the outers of Pune. He would need more than five rupees to reach sangavi,why was he asking me for five rupees?
"Yes sir, bus ticket to sangavi is twelve rupees....i will mange somehow..."
It was sad to see him plead. My wallet had many coins, a few notes. I gave him a two rupee coin and three one rupee coins. It looks even more ridiculous to give someone money in coins like that. I was still suspicious. I was like, " Okay i will give you the money, but i dont believe you, i still think you are lying.Go! do whateve you want with the money!" The moment the coins landed in his palm he started saying good things for me. "May you be successful in your life....all that you may wish..." ......and all that. .....
I cut him out!
"How are you going to sangavi now?"
"..I'll walk to Chatushringi bus stand..."
I sharply turned away,half listening to his reply, and walked away very fast.
I had this irrational fear that this guy was a thug and he would steal my two wheeler! This fear struck me while i was walking on the road and took a turn. There I looked back to see if he was following me. I did not see him anywere. When I returned I was relieved to see that awful little wuss of a vehicle.
Maybe after I gave him the money he might have started crying and was walking very slowly. How was he going to get the rest of the money? He would have probably begged to someone else, by the time he reached the bus stand. At that I was just anxious to get over and be done with him as soon as possible as I was suspicious. What if he was lying? What if he bought a bottle with that money and lied in a heap of garbage? No one can know. But there are things for which you dont have evidences. I just have a gut feeling now,after two days that he was a good man.Now I feel good that i helped somebody in need, only because i was not harmed.
Last time,on J.M. Road, there came to me a stranded woman with a child in her arms who had to go to some village. I had given her 20 bucks. I know you must be thinking I am a fool. But how the hell do they all find to me?? Gosh, maybe i could have given him 12 bucks.
I did not give with any feeling. And I did not accept his feelings of gratitude and blessings.