It was the begining of november last year,perhaps the first sunday. At around 7’o’ clock I was coming back from my local guardian’s house. It was a part of my routine those days. Every sunday I went to visit my local guardian, who lived in Laxmi Nagar, I used to come back to DU by metro and then walked down to my PG.
But that day was a bit different, I saw a thin old rickshaw-puller at the DU metro station who was requesting everyone, but no one boarded his rickshaw. Whether out of pity or his expected speed hardly matters. Instead of walking I decided to book his rickshaw for Vijay Nagar. I won’t lie that I wanted to help the guy,but truthfully, leaving that guy wanting for customers didn’t seem somewhat right at that moment. It was cold, he was old, he definitely was in need of money. He could have easily begged for help, and many in a similar situation would not have hesitated. His condition looked worse than many of the professionally pestering beggars of delhi. It seemed to me that he was different, he was a man with self-respect.
I felt like talking to that guy,I wanted to strike some converstaion with him. I just wanted to know what was it that made him look strikingly different from others. Why does the composure on his face not match with his tardy dress? What was it that pushed him into pulling a rickshaw? Should I blame the government? Or was his son responsible for this? I just wanted to blame someone. Anyone!
To break the ice, I asked,” oh uncle ji! Don’t you feel cold? You are showing your body just like Salman Khan; without any reason.” I ended the sentence with a fake smile, I didn’t want to look disturbed at the elan with which he was pulling the rickshaw. He turned around and said, ” I don’t have that now, so I don’t feel cold.” Perhaps, he was refering to clothes or may be something else. But at that very moment I felt like helping that guy. I wanted to give him at least the sweatshirt I was wearing. But there were two issues involved here, first I wanted to help without hurting his well preserved self-respect and secondly, the sweatshirt belonged to my friend.
I decided to leave the sweat shirt under the seat and pay my friend for his loss. I tied the sweat-shirt to a rod so that it doesn’t fall-off and end up as a wasted attempt. I paid the the richshawalla hurriedly,pretending that I was getting late for something, I quicly entered a narrow lane so that he can’t trace me even if he notices the sweat shirt.
On reaching the PG my friend put across me a very simple question ” How can you donate someone else’s property?” I said I’ll pay for your loss. He said, “I am not asking for money, but please tell me how can you donate someone else’s property?”
I had no answers.