Sunday, September 11, 2011

1636 : I have no legs, but I can make you walk !!

Picture this.

I was a at a book fair yesterday, picking up stuff for a little friend of mine. I finish shopping – clutching 6 bags containing around 30 books I trudge back to my car – which is parked in wilderness (about 200 mtrs away).

I open to boot, dump the books and am about to enter the car when a voice beckons me “Sir!!”.

I turn back startled… remember this is the middle of an empty space, so I am surprised someone could creep on me.

I see this young chap – say in his very early 20s, light beard, a good mooch…well combed hair, in a cycle for the disabled, with a twisted hand and polio infested legs.

My first reaction is “Run” – “this guy will hypnotize you and escape with your wallet” (yes you here these kind of stories in India all the time!!)

Instead I stare hard and see that the guy looks simple and innocuous, not crafty at all…so I wait.

He now knows that I have his attention – so he tells me – in very good English

“Sir, I want to be like you, but I cannot. But I want to continue to try. I have pools for children, will you buy?”

“What pools?”, I ask.

“Sir, you inflate this and your kid can play in the water.” As he says this he puts his hand in his bag and removes a tiny well packed box, almost the size of a small Pizza and hands it over to me. “The cost of this is 300, but I want 370 for it. I will use 70 to help myself”.

My first instinct is to open the box and check whether it really has a plastic pool or is it just full of plastic carry bags….but then my rational mind kicks in and says….it does not matter. I like his honesty so far.

“Sir, this will not only help me, but others like me….I part of a group that is full of disabled people.”

I pay him 400, tell him I don’t want 30 back – pick the pool, tell him a beaming thank you and move into my car.

As I am driving off, I wondered – he could speak good English, he was genuinely less abled, and was working hard in the afternoon sun to sell a few pools.

I know so many folks in my immediate life, who will not fight, who are fully abled but wont move an inch to “live” (instead we shall complain of the cramp, or the back pain, or the headache, or the carpel tunnel and use this excuse to sleep off in the afternoon) – this chap and his ilk should be the posterchild for the modern suburban world.

I don’t think I did him a favor (or charity) by buying the pool. I was paying him Guru dakshina for teaching me a few things which I will try and remember for my life. I don’t think I shall ever forget his face, and 400 was the price I was more than happy to pay for something as priceless as that Smile

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Roshan said...

continue with the idealism buddy!!

Sonal said...

It is not only very kind of you but wise as well to put it in such a way. Your blog is my morning "gyan" with coffee. I really do appreciate the nuggets of wisdom and of course the jokes that you so best put in words. Thanks!!

jik said...

sometimes a strange man can make you happy and feel great of you.