Peabody's Diary

Peabody's Diary

Open diary

A dreamer, a chaser, a traveller, an observer, a child growing up too soon - everbody's peabody

25 years old, Female, Jamshedpur

Diary Entries (1)

Aug 09th, 2014 4:19 PM

I believe in Karma and all others variations of it. I believe that what goes around, comes around. I do believe in the Universe giving back to me what I gave to it. I also believe that goodness is not dead. And that smile is a powerful gift. I also believe in Jesus’ advice, or whoever said it first – Do unto others as you wish to be done to thyself.

But a true scientist needs proof before accepting a theory, and a rickshaw driver brought it for me.

I have been staying in that obscure part of Kolkata where the only means to commute to and fro main Kolkata streets was through rickety, cycle driven rickshaws. And the drivers tended to milk our lack of public transport to the fullest. Although, given the summer heat that has been pelting down for the whole of this week, I’d happily let them charge me more if they so willed. But some don’t. They are honest, hard workers. Kind hearted too, as I confirmed today.

The night scene in my part of the town exhibits a scarcity of rickshaw drivers willing to go my way after nine-thirty or so. Especially on busy and rainy nights. Tonight, I had somehow managed to cajole a driver to drop me home. He wisely gauged the long queue of people waiting behind me and promptly asked to be paid more. I agreed immediately, telling him I would pay him fifteen instead of the fixed twelve. On my way back, since it had been a long day, I was contemplating how I was going to feed myself tonight without having to go through the ordeal of cooking.

The only feasible option that could have satisfactorily filled the void in my stomach was Maggi noodles. As I gloated over my easy dinner, I remembered that I had run out of chilli sauce. There weren’t any eggs at home either, but that could wait till tomorrow morning. But I absolutely refused to do without hot chilli sauce in my noodles.

After much convincing my tired self to finally make the effort and in turn, having nearly passed by most shops on the way already, I asked my driver to stop at the last grocery shop open on my route. I stepped down and thought of paying him off, since it would be a matter of two minutes walk to where he’d drop me eventually. But he smiled a kind, toothy smile at me and affectionately in his “Bangaal” Bengali told me he’d wait till I bought what I needed to. I tried to hurry through my purchase because I didn't want to keep him waiting, but they didn’t have what I wanted, so I had to ask at another. It didn’t have any either.

I was crestfallen, my dinner would be just that much short of delicious for the lack of hot sauce. So I boarded the rickshaw again, but not before the rickshaw driver gave me another warmly comforting toothy smile. There was something in this intimate comfort from a stranger that almost made me explain my sadness“Kothao nei.” (translated, nowhere to be found.) as I boarded his rickshaw again.

Two minutes later, I got off the rickshaw and paid him the promised fifteen. We didn’t exchange looks or smiles this time. We were perhaps both engaged with other occupying thoughts. I don’t remember. But as I crossed the road, I know my day ended a tad better because someone showed me some kindness. I hoped it was because I hadn’t haggled with him over the extra three rupees.

I remember another night, much different than this one, when my roommate was with me. Blessed and rainy it was, and everyone was scampering home to escape the sudden showers. We had had an eventful but tiresome night and I couldn’t wait to get home, my heels were hurting my legs. As usual and stated above, we couldn’t find a single rickshaw home. I had walked quite far down the road in achingly painful, shoe-bit feet before we found a vacant rickshaw willing to take another fare. I couldn't have been more thankful for it. I stalled it while my roommate made purchases from a hardware shop owner, who was being mighty grumpy.

The rickshaw driver waited patiently as I sat on the rickshaw, getting impatient by the envious looks of other pedestrians who hadn’t yet found a ride back home and who were probably mentally scolding me for engaging the vehicle for so long. My roommate was taking long and I feared the rickshaw driver would get angry at having to be kept waiting, so I tried some small talk.

As inept as I was at it, I began by awkwardly telling him that I had collected raw mangoes that had fallen down in the storm. He smiled indulgently. Encouraged, I showed him the loot that I was taking home. It was the first time I had done something so wild, collected fruits fresh off the trees while getting drenched in the rain and I was mighty pumped about it. He understood my excitement, so I went on to tell him what I planned to do with them. Then in a sudden bout of generosity, I asked him, in a very child-like manner, if he would mind taking home some since we couldn’t eat all of them nor keep them from spoiling for more than a night.

I could see the monsoon cold in his eyes melt to something warm and touched. On the way home, he even told me another recipe to use with mangoes, and then went on to tell me other delicacies made from parts of the mango flowers which I didn’t know about earlier. When he dropped us home at the end of a chatty ride, I gave him enough mangoes for him and his family to relish for the night, and hoping I would be able to cook something half as nice with these mangoes as his wife undoubtedly would.

I think I had just paid off someone’s karmic debt for offering me a ride home when most needed with a bagful of mangoes.

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