It’s the city we recently moved to that occupies my thoughts again. Flummoxed, how like all other cities, it does provide a mix of people, but the balance tilts in favour of the kindly, good-natured kinds. A blessing to be here, in Ahmedabad!

So this one is about a total stranger and how he left me speechless with his totally out of the blue action.

I was in an unfamiliar and new area for a meeting, which done, I stepped out of the office with a view to exploring before I returned. On foot seemed challenging as I am directionally challenged, and the sun was acting up too!

So the friendly neighbourhood three-wheeler was my preferred choice. I spotted one and decided to hop into it, when the person sitting inside said he wasn’t free and had something important to accomplish. Okay, so another one, but they seemed to have become scarcer than the rain in the deserts! Sporting a crestfallen look I asked him how I could reach the nearest market since I was unfamiliar with the area. (you know the direction and if it were walking distance or something).

Immediately his eyes lost their connection with the mobile phone he had been glued to. His stance changed and very helpfully he told me all I needed to know even suggesting I take the auto rickshaw from the opposite side to where we were at that time.

I thanked him and began walking across the road when I heard him call out, “Ben” (sister) that’s how they address women in this city. “I’ll take you to the market myself. Only a drop-off, I won’t wait. I have work you see,” he continued. A change of heart I guess. The tonnes of silver in my hair, do turn worthwhile sometimes!

I was more than happy.” Sure, just drop me at a place to eat since I am rather hungry”. Relieved, I hopped in quickly before he could change his mind and off he sped, a la Bollywood hero style! We zipped off the auto engine consuming the quiet air around.

Talking nineteen to the dozen he shared that he was waiting for someone at the spot I had seen him and so he needed to get back but was happy to help me. A sharp turn, a sudden swing, a twisting right and we were at a shopping mall.

“We’ve reached. You will get some food here. Is this okay?” he queried.

Of course, it was. Couldn’t have asked for better! The perfect destination for I needed to pick up a few things too. Thanking him I pulled out my wallet to pay him the requisite fare.

“No ben. I can’t take this,” he said modestly.

“But you must,” I insisted. “You have more than helped me by reaching me to the place whose name I had forgotten.”

“ Na, na! But I can’t accept money from you. I just wanted to reach you safely to the place you wanted to go to. Are you happy? Have you reached the destination? Then I have received my fare.

Really?  Was this conversation really happening? Are there folks like these? Most are out to make a million out of a mile but this one was refusing even the basic fare! The distance may have been a km or a km and a half, but it did require time, effort and fuel to cover it.

But the young chap wouldn’t hear of it. “ I am happy I could help you. I am happy I could reach you where you wished to go.”

“You see ben I am a contractor and was sitting in front of the dug up area waiting for the supplies to come in. So how can I take money from you when I am not even an autorickshaw driver,” he reasoned.

I surrendered to his logic. At times, in life, you just have to let go. Money assumes such insignificance that you wonder what is it that we are hankering after all the time! A few rupees looked abysmal, were dwarfed by his gesture, his kindliness.

I thanked the man and walked slowly towards the mall entrance deliberating how this little act of kindness had added a sparkle to my day and subtly given me a lesson that a sudden, spontaneous act of selflessness goes beyond a mile and heralds pure joy.

O Ahmedabad what else awaits on your plentiful platter?

Happy Holi !!! 🙂

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