It was just one of those days, very casual. Very routine. I was returning home after a not so happening Monday. Little did I know, that the next 10 minutes of autorickshaw ride from the train station, would totally change the meaning of my day. In just a flicker of few moments, my normal Monday turned into extraordinary.
So this rickshaw wale uncle’s meter wasn’t working and he asked me to pay as per my wish. I, being a regular traveller, told him what I’d pay and as usual, he said the fare is normally higher. But since it’s my mistake and the meter isn’t working, I’ll gladly accept even if you give me 20 bucks. These autowalas don’t usually say this and generally put me off by their attitude. But this man struck me as quite different in that moment. After a few silent seconds, he started talking about himself.
Generally I avoid talking to strangers(you can never say what they’re up to, right?) But this time I decided to give this man a chance and he kept going.
So here goes( translated in English for everyone to understand) :” What do I tell you Madam! Life is really unfair to good and honest people. I’ve never wronged anyone in my life. But what resort does a person have when your own family decieves you? You know I’ve spent 10 years in Malaysia. I got married right here, you know in 2005 and off I went there to earn money. I just made one mistake, you know. Opened that bank account in my wife’s name and I never saw the entire sum of 10 lakhs that I earned. She ran away with another man with my money and our child. I’ve been driving auto ever since in Mumbai. Can’t even show my face to my parents.I feel like such a failure, madam. At times I really feel that I should commit suicide and simply end this life. After all, what good is such a life? ”
By this point, I was really feeling bad for him and wanted to say something that would make him feel better. About life and himself. But I just couldn’t find the right words. I kept telling him to have faith and never lose hope. And whenever he thinks about suicide, he should think about his parents who love him so much.
I kept thinking, how some people have it so difficult in life and yet we crib about our miniscule problems. But what really left me speechleas was what came next.
He said,”Madam, it’s only because of my friends who keep motivating me to live my life. But even then, with this auto that I drive, I carry the risk of death on my shoulders every day. The only reason I keep it together is because I know that every person that sits in the passenger seat is my responsibility. Their life is in my hands and I couldn’t bear it if something happened to them because of my recklessness.”
When he said this, all I could think was “Wow. Humanity isn’t dead after all. Man is born kind. It’s our actions that decide what we turn out to become.”
We reached my destination by then and it was time to get down. I gave him a few extra bucks and he fervently refused.(Again a sign of an honest man) After some persuation, he accepted it and smiled and said”Thank you madam.” And believe me, that smile on his face was very rewarding.
His story moved me so much. More than the story, his determination to fight his problems and kind nature was what won my heart. It was so refreshing to hear someone’s untold story. I’m sure, I’m never going to forget this man.
So what did we learn?
No matter what we do, where we go, we will always have to face problems in life. Life is not a bed of roses and there might be more than a few thorns in our road but we can never give up on life.
Everyone has their own untold stories. Everyone has their share of bad days. So the next time you face an erratic or angry cabbie or auto wala or your friend gives you the cold shoulder, or somebody talks to you badly, remember they could be simply having a bad day and try to be a little empathetic towards them. Not everyone has the courage to open up about their issues and not everyone has a shoulder to cry on. Let’s be a little more sympathetic to each other and try and bring a smile on someone’s face. It costs nothing.
Do good. Be good. We all can use a little more of each other’s kindness.