It’s weird where and how you meet people, its weird how you meet them for a little while but they leave you with something - a thought, a moment, a grudge or just a smile. Last month, I was in Delhi, yes, yet again, and I was in a cab heading home. A young boy, not more than 5 years old, came and pressed his little hands and nose on the window pane. He mumbled something to the effect of being starved. I reached out to my wallet and handed a 20 rupee note. Just before he fled away, I screamed from the window “Khana khana”. That was it, suddenly my well behaved Uber driver got upset with me. He told me, that what I just did, was unethical and is encouraging the menace of begging. He further added, that it is the day job for these kids, to find people like me, get their sympathy and earn a quick buck. I smiled lightly and commented, what is a quick buck – getting meager 20 rupees for food? He didn’t let me off the hook and went on to talk about begging, the parents of the street children who force them to get money for alcohol et al. I tried reasoning with him, on how it is difficult to say no to young, shirtless child, asking for food. My driver was not convinced and told me about his life, his struggles. He said, he married and has two children, both of whom study in school. He mentioned how his wife insists if he doesn’t go to work on a particular day. He said that today, he is able to take care of his family because he works hard day and night. Likewise, he shared that all men, irrespective of what their socio-economic status is, can if they want to raise their children, feed them and send them school, and it is only men who don’t want to take responsibilities, send their children to beg and their women to fake illness outside.
Other day, while I was heading for work here in Mumbai, I saw this auto rickshaw person who blatantly spat twice the red betel paste right in the middle of the road. I got furious and called him out, I asked him if he does behave the same way in his home the way he behaves on the road. He looked straight in my eye and said he does. I told him further that he should clean up the mess he has created, and this littering is a way of misbehaving. He growled at me and accused me of smoking, well I looked straight in his eyes and said “I don’t smoke so he might as well leave the argument”. The traffic light turned green and I went off. I was also in Ludhiana for some work and chatted with an Ola cab driver. (Don't know how I end up chatting so often though :-)) You know dear blog, he was so excited to know that I work in Mumbai. He told me how he was going to go to Canada once, but then family responsibilities held him back. He had this little that he could never move out of his small town life. May be all he really wanted from his life was to live in a big city and not drive the cab around in Ludhiana.
I guess I like talking to people, to people who aren’t even friends or family or acquaintances. I just like the way you become a part of their life by sharing a story, by listening to a story. I am a HR professional and sometimes the best part of my job, is to be able to talk. I can talk and I can listen, and mostly it is about how people from different backgrounds, interests and thought processes have traversed different paths to reach where they have. Many people in fact most people have simple, non-descript kind of stories but that is what makes it special, makes it endearing. Simple stories, simple people!
I am dear blog, in a breezy, reflective kind of mood. You get it, don’t you? :)