Month: September 2016

India owes you!

One night, a stubborn voice on the other end of the phone mocked me, “Hey Mr. Al… I guess I had fixed a meeting with you at around 10.00 and its already 10.15! Where are you, Sir?” Of all the things I had planned to do that night, I could barely remember scheduling to meet a client. I wondered which person in Sales would have a meeting at the time when everyone would soon be snoring. I quickly regained my senses, and put some pressure on my nerves to come up with a valid reason for me not showing up. “Sir, actually… I am stuck up in Noida and would be there in no less than an hour. Sorry to keep you waiting, Sir. I will definitely be there at 11.30”

My roommate, seated beside me, in Saket, stared at me with the weird look, “Noida?? And who wants to meet you at this hour? And where?”. Going by the thought that I need to look professional, I get extremely pissed and panicky, hastily then search for an ironed shirt and get ready in a jiffy. My roommate freaked out again when he saw me all dressed up; but the moment I tucked my office id card onto my pants’ hook did he notice that I was heading for some official work. Since my anger knew no bounds, I was fiddling to book a cab. But he helped me book the cab and I started my journey at somewhere around 10.40 in the dark, hoping to crack the deal at the meet.

Frustration kicks in. When you need to take an hour long journey in the cab, either the cab’s radio or the device in your pocket come handy. I chose to pull out my mobile and ping to random groups, informing my buds about my adventures of meeting a customer at this hour of the night. I didn’t receive any reply and thought that all my people may just be rolling themselves tightly into their bed sheets. I just lift my eyes and to my surprise, I see the taxi was decorated with bits and pieces of saffron, white and green – a small showpiece over the car’s deck; two plastic flags taped at the corners of the front glass; one ribbon and a toy, both tri-colored, hung over the rear-view mirror; and some magazine titled ‘India’ in the pouch on the back of the seat in front of me. I scoffed at the thought that this driver must be some nationalist-maniac dude to have so many items, of the same colors, fashioning his car interiors.

I was looking out the window, eyes moving over flyovers’ curves, cars honking and then out of the blue the driver turns to me to say, “Thank you, Sir. I stay just few meters from your drop-off location. I rarely get such bookings in the night that are near my home.” The IT guy in me wakes up to proudly throw in some logic, “May be these Car-Hire App companies have some logic that the last trip you make has the same destination near your house”. He continues, “Sir, please don’t mind, but I see you neatly dressed and I like to see such people.” I was taken aback and without taking any time asked him the reason behind. Mr. Keshav had three siblings. One happily married to a good businessman, the other- an MBA working in US and yet other who was trying to get a visa to the Emirates. I was shocked. “Keshavji, why are you driving a cab then?” He explained to me that he wasn’t much interested in studies. His father, who himself was a cab driver, never wanted to see his sons do the same job. He assured that all his children got good education, yet Keshav’s interest didn’t much fall in line. He dropped from school somewhere in the 8th or 9th standard. When his father was off-duty, he learnt to drive the car, which otherwise used to stand below the tree shade while his dad rested. I asked him if he didn’t feel the gap from his learned siblings when they were busy studying and grew up to do much better. He tried his hands at some business, failed twice, tried to re-enter school but alas! He took cab driving as his career since then. A year ago, he registered himself with one of these start-ups and was driving for customers like me. He informed me that he earns more than what the others earned. This didn’t shock me much.

He stopped the radio and asked me, “Sir, am I disturbing you? I am talking to you since a long time and though that is keeping me from dozing off, please let me know when to shut up.” I asked him to continue his jabber as none of my WhatsApp pings had received replies and I had nothing much to do. Keshav jabbed one thing – “Sir, whatever you do, whatever you earn, try to give back to the society and God would definitely bless you.” I asked him to explain what he actually meant. He narrated:

Sir, have you heard of ghosts? (me nodded yes) One fine night, I was driving through the night on a road similar to this. I was humming to the radio. Just I was moving by, I noticed a hand, near the pavement, waving for me to stop the car. I didn’t pay heed but drove for some 100-200 meters past it. But, then I felt – let me check who it was; may be a genuine person would be needing a ride. I look back and reverse my car. I could barely see a hand still waving under the lights of my car’s indicators. I rode till it got clear. I stop the car to find the hand and to my surprise I had already past that tree where I remembered seeing it in the first place. But there was no one in sight. I started driving ahead, thinking it must have been my mistake. But then, when I just stepping over my accelerator to take forward, I saw the hand again. No human body, but just the hand. With fear, I pulled down the car window and shouted to check if someone was there. I could faintly hear – “Please help”. Very faint, yet clear. I ask the voice to come near the car. The voice denied and asked me to instead come nearby. For a second, I thought – ‘WTF am I doing?! Let me leave at once’. But then when I was about to go, the voice begged for help. The voice said, “No one is ready to help, please help”. My conscience knew that God is with me. I gathered courage and reached the huge oak tree; the voice became much clearer. It begged asking me to lend my shirt and that is all it asked. I could see a human shape attached to that hand then. As soon as I took off my shirt, the hand grabbed the shirt and in a second I could see a lady figure tightly hugging herself making way from the back of the tree. When the street light flashed her forehead, I could see blood and bruises all over. The lady begged to take her home; she would do anything in return for my help. I felt so sad and angry at the same time; about the fact that a lonely lady, naked and bruised all over had to hide behind the tree with no one to help. I asked her to quickly get into the car and we drove to the directions she gave. She asked me my mobile and with that she informed her parents that she was safe and would reach home soon. The moment we reached her home, her parents thought that I was the culprit behind their daughter’s state. The lady explained that she was picked up by a gang, raped and thrown out of the car. They had torn her dress and threw her mobile from the van they were travelling in. This pour soul had helped her to get back home. Her parents’ gratitude knew no bounds. Her father grabbed my leg and asked for forgiveness. Her mom thanked me all her heart. I just asked the lady to take care of herself and took leave as it was already 2 in the night.

The next day, Keshav received a call from the girl thanking him for his help. He met her to collect his shirt. Her father offered him some money. Keshav thanked their gesture, grabbed his shirt and drove away. “Sir, I helped the girl for in the state she was, any good person would do the same. Did I do it for money? No, Sir. I like to help people and I believe that is the way I give back to the society. I may be less educated, but this is something I contribute to my country!”

I was impressed to know that a cabbie finding a lady, barely wearing anything in the middle of the night, managed to share his clothing and cell phone as well and more so, without taking advantage of her, left her safe and sound at her doorsteps. This was just one of the incidents that Keshav had experienced. We were still a few kilometers from my destination and hence he had to keep himself awake. He narrated a second one:

I was on my way to complete the last journey of my assigned tasks by the Car-company and after dropping the rider, I headed home. When I was at home, getting into my home clothes when I saw the phone ringing. I was least bothered about the device. After a while, the phone rang again. When I answered the phone, the lady whose husband I had just dropped as my last rider, was on the other end. The guy had a medical emergency and she couldn’t find any cab or auto at that time of the night. She thought I could be nearby as I has just dropped her husband. She tried my number, the last called number on her husband’s cellphone. Since, she sounded in a very urgent tone, I informed my wife that I would be back soon. I got back and found that her husband had to be rushed to the hospital. She was helpless and thanked God the moment I reached there. I took the duo to the nearby hospital. On reaching there, the lady had some cash tied to the knot on her saree. She untied it and kept a note in my hand. I was very weary of the fact that I was being paid for an emergency. I gave the cash back to the lady and asked her to use the same for her husband’s treatment. She thanked me enough while I left.

“Sir, instances like these! Many such like these have happened to me itself” “Keshavji, God knows that you are one person who wouldn’t hesitate to think twice to help someone in need and hence such tragedies happen at your end. You are a savior to them.” “Sir, I am happy to help and contribute to the society in any small way. You know why?, Sir” “Why?”

He informed me that his birthday was just a week ahead. “Sir, I was born on the Independence Day. I feel lucky to have taken birth in this country. It has made my siblings successful and I am earning well too. I love my country very much and would love to die for it” All the while I was wondering why so many flags and tri-colored stuff in his car; this answered my query. He added, “You must be seeing things in my car. A proof of me being so patriotic”.

Two stories down. The voice over Google Navigation indicated that in a 100 meters my destination would be at the left. I couldn’t thank him for accepting my booking as two cabs had already cancelled my bookings, considering the time and distance I had to travel. I had to attend a serious meeting with a client, who was ignored by one of my colleagues for a month. The customer was sure of giving the order to us, but since no one visited him, he was frustrated. Me being frustrated too for having been called to attend a customer who works in a night shift at the BPO. Two boiling pots would be thrashing each other now and none of the cabs helped me in my endeavor. I was extremely happy and delighted to have met Mr. Keshav residing in a notorious city, known for its crimes, yet having such souls who take pride in helping people without taking advantage of their helplessness. I knew that come what may, my frustration was calmed by his stories and I was all set to crack the deal. I got down the car, paid Mr. Keshav, gave him a huge smile and wished him, “Happy Birthday, in advance, Bhaiyya… Thank you… and yeah, India owes you!”

Good Day,
Blabberer, Ally 🙂

Thank you for all your love, likes, reads and comments. There could be many Keshavs that you may meet in your life. Just take a second to thank them!