Godot returns…

There’s this old man who drives his rickshaw in my neighbourhood. He parks his vehicle right outside the gates of the apartment blocks I live in.

He’s got a kind face, a very polite demeanor  and the man is really old, must be pushing 60 — not an age when one should be driving a rickshaw for a living. But that’s our country.

I always take his rickshaw if he is around whenever I have to go to the metro station or anywhere in the neighbourhood and don’t feel like walking.

It may sound a bit pompous but I have often found myself dropping my plan to walk to the neighbourhood market on my off day to help him earn ten bucks more for the day.

Sometimes I feel his wrinkle-ravaged, weather-beaten face sports a knowing smile that says I know what you’re up to boy, thanks for the charity!

But recently, he returned my “favours” and to some extent my faith in humanity.

I was in a hurry and got on to his rickshaw to meet a friend. Normally, I check my wallet before leaving home but that day I forgot.

When I got off his rickshaw my heart sank when I saw the empty wallet — it didn’t have a single penny except for some foreign coins.

The old man read my dilemma on my face and said, “Koi baat nahi saab hota hai. Baad mein de dijiyega.” I thanked him profusely and just as I was about to walk away he did something that I will never forget.

The old man took out a hundred rupee note along with some soiled teners — perhaps his entire earning of the day — and said, “Ye sau rupaye rakh lo saab khali haath mat jao.”

Despite my assurance that i would take out money from an ATM on the way he insisted that I take the money saying what if the ATM didn’t function.

I was overwhelmed by the gesture but a mixture of embarrassment and ego stopped me from borrowing money from a rickshawwalah.

A few days later while returning the fare I wanted to give him an extra ten bucks, but he politely refused and just took what was due for that day’s ride.

It takes a lot for them to be honest and giving compared to people like us who earn in a single day what they earn in a month.

Which is why I don’t grudge the autowallah who borrowed a thousand bucks from me and disappeared.

When I wrote Waiting for Godot a few months ago, I didn’t know that Godot will return one day in the form of a rickshaw walah to return some of the faith I have lost in humanity.

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13 thoughts on “Godot returns…

  1. You never told this story to us abhi tak. How refreshing and sensitive. Really, it is heartwarming to know that people like these still exist in this big bad world. It reinstates our faith in humanity and helps us live again. All is not gone, it reminds us. Thank you for sharing this pleasing experience with us 🙂
    P.S. And, welcome back to the blogosphere, Abhi 🙂 Really missed you 🙂

  2. Sharmi has said it all. How unfortunate that the city isn’t full of people like the old man, but pompous hard-hearts who drive Hondas and try cheating their domestic helps of every paisa.
    Great post, though!

  3. Nice one Abhi. It happes whenever we lose faith in humanity, we come accross with such an incidence in life that we get our “lost” faith back. While going through your experience, I was wondering do we really underestimate humanity from those downtrodden people?!! Why do we always think that they can’t be honest because of their socio-economic condition?!! Why do we show such a gesture as larger than life ?!! Recently , in newspaper also there was a report that “an autorickshawala has returned a mobile phone of a passenger” ! and they published a photograph of that autorickshawala! Is it not natural ?! Sometime, I think, that may be we have made humanity, honesty etc are belonged to a specific class of the society for our own interest, or may be for our “feel good” factor!

    This is only my thought which I wanted to share with you as it is relevant to your experience. Hope you won’t mind it.

    Warmly 🙂

    • Hello Barsha! Gud to hear from you…yes I completely agree with your observation that it is only natural for people to be honest. But strangely it is not…which is why when an autowallah or a rickshawala returns your mobile or your purse you go ga ga over it. We have become so cynical that we expect people not to do such “natural” things.
      Thanks again for your comments!

      Cheers!

  4. Had read this when you wrote it. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t posted any comment. 🙂 As always, a lovely read. You know, while the rickshawala was your Godot, you may have been his.

    Been a long time since you wrote anything. Share some more of your observations.

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