On my way to work today, I saw feeble hand waving out to the cars -- quietly hoping, that someone would stop.
And I did -- I opened the door and the man bent down to say 'I want to go till the end of the road to post this letter, will you be kind enough to drop me till whatever distance you can', and I let him in.
I was going the same way, and the distance was not too long actually -- but since it was sunny I am sure walking thru the crowded roads for a near 80yr old man would be really nasty.
We sat quietly for almost half the way, and then the man broke the silence saying 'The auto rickshaws are on strike today, and so I had to trouble you by...'. I was flushed with embarrassment.
I don’t know if this happens to any of you -- I feel ashamed when I am in a position where I feel I am enjoying a comfort that many people are deprived of -– and when I say ashamed, I really feel so guilty and embarrassed that I almost wish I could jump out of my own skin. In this case, the comfort was the comfort of an AC car. Flushed with guilt, I said 'Yeah, its crazy -- especially the reason of the strike is unfair.'.. I was so embarrassed and guilty conscious that I thought maybe I should wait till he finishes his work and drop him back, because I was not sure if he will find another person to drive him back. I was mentally behaving as if I had asked the auto’s to go on a strike – Anyway, eventually I did not offer him a ride back --thinking he might find it creepy.
By then we had reached the end of the road, where the man had to go and he gave me one of the most kind smiles I have recently seen, blessed me, thanked me with folded hands like I had done a super big favor to him – all this added to my discomfort,in my mind I was silently pleading him to stop -- It was almost getting suffocating to be where I was -- the point where I had to allow that person to go back into the scorching heat -- the fear of whether he will be able to find a transport back home – and then the uneasiness of my own comfort. I was numb for the rest of my travel.
We often see people on the roads asking for lifts (free rides), but most of us seldom stop – mainly because of all the mishaps which have managed to make us skeptical about the intentions of people you are trying to help. I know it is unsafe -- and maybe I was just lucky that nothing bad happened to me, and that old man was actually a nice and honest person who meant no harm.
But it is sad that because of a few scoundrels, a whole lot of goodness is getting lost.
I have had a bad experience with giving lifts some years back after which I have kind of become a little more careful -- but sometimes, I just leave it to chance and stop anyway.
I am sure many of you will think I over reacted -- or I am super sensitive -- but I am not really like that -- I am touchy feely only when it comes to coming face to face with the unfairness in the world. I feel very guilty. Maybe I should go see a shrink .. its abnormal naa?