This is a simple tale of a human being who is totally unknown to me but who had touched my life briefly very recently. He is not a climber, nothing extraordinary and we cross people like him by the hundreds each day. Here's the story: -
Recently I was in Mumbai and had to go to a friend's place, which is rather close to the Bandra local train station. I got out of the station in the impossibly sweltering heat looking for respite from the sun. There were many autorickshaw fellows, but all of them refused my fair since I was traveling only a little distance or they asked for a much higher fair. But for the sun and my parched throat I would have perhaps taken a bus. Finally I waved down an autorickshaw with a puny little old fellow in white dress. Hearing my destination he smiled and asked me to hop in. He quietly lowered the meter and off we went. He put on a music and offered me a sip from his water bottle. We reached my destination and the meter read a paltry sum of Rs 13.00 only. I had only a Rs 20 note or Rs 12 in change. I asked him to keep the Rs 20 but he refused and took Rs 12.00 from me and left with a smile. As he disappeared down the road I had to shake my head twice in sheer disbelief. Is such honesty and display of human kindness possible in today's world, that too in the sunny roads of Mumbai!
I am a die-hard positive person and despite everything hadn't lost my faith in the goodness of humanity, kindness and compassion. I always presumed that we saw glimpses of these rare qualities only up in the mountains where life is simple, where every stranger is a long lost friend. Little did I know that I would meet an angle on a burning afternoon outside the crowded Bandra station. I do not know his name, I do not know his autorickshaw number, I do not remember his face or his voice. I would not know him if I ever pass him again in my life. He would die one day faceless and nameless like millions, but to me he would always be my hero. Another glimpse of humanity and a glint of hope that everything is not yet lost. May we have more like him; I will certainly try to be like him.