This too is India

I wrote some time back about an incident which showed one of the things that is wrong in our country. Now I have to set the balance right by speaking about the positive things that exist side by side in India.

This happened about a month back. I was coming home one evening on my scooter when it stopped and I realised to my dismay that I had run out of petrol. So I started pushing it to the nearest petrol station which was almost half a kilometre away. I had taken about ten steps and was beginning to sweat already when a total stranger came up to me on his motorcycle and asked, “Have you run out of petrol?” I told him that I had. Immediately he asked me to stand where I was and offered to go and get some petrol for me. “How can you push your scooter that far?” he said as he went off on his motorcycle towards the petrol station.

I saw him disappear into the traffic, not sure whether he really meant what he said. I stood near the pavement, exactly where we had spoken to each other and waited for him. I said to myself, “In case he was just talking in the air, he will not come back. I will give him twenty minutes and then go away. I will make use of this wait by making a few phone calls.”

I made my three phone calls as the traffic continued to flow on that road. I had hardly waited 15 minutes when I saw the man reappear. He stopped near me, pulled out a plastic bottle in which he had brought half a litre of petrol and handed it to me. I was really surprised. “There is just enough petrol to get to a petrol station,” he said. I didn’t know how to thank him, but in the end I did find the words.

“I felt sorry for you,” he said “when I saw you pushing your scooter. How far could you have gone like that?” Then he rode away on his motorcycle. He was a complete stranger and he had done me such a great favour that night. My faith in humanity was restored, I must say.

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