Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Helping hands are better than praying lips...

I read the above quotation today in a forwarded mail, and an incident comes to mind...

Few years back, when online train reservation was still not functional in India, I used to go to New Delhi Railway Station reservation office. Even though the office has about 25 counters, the sheer number of customers ensured that it took over an hour to buy any ticket.

Once, when I was in a queue, I heard some commotion at the ticket window. Normally, I do not interfere in any such commotion, but this sounded different. So I requested the gentlemen behind me to remember me so that I can join the queue back, and went to the reservation counter to know what was happening. Turned out that a poor fellow was trying to buy 2 tickets for long distance travel, for which, he was short of about 20 rupees in the total ticket price of about Rs. 1000. He was at the window, confused about what to do next, since people behind were shouting at him to go away from the counter. I asked him for his story, and turned out that his concern was that he was already losing half day wage by spending hours in coming for reservation, and waiting in line. If he needed to go back, get money and wait in queue again, he'll lose his full day wage. He was proposing that the clerk makes the ticket, but keeps it with him, and gives it only on receipt of Rs. 20 the next day. The clerk was refusing, and the fellow was feeling helpless.

Many people were sympathizing with the fellow, but no-one had any real suggestions even though the solution was staring in the face. The poor chap needed 20 bucks. I immediately added Rs. 50 to his small wad of notes, and asked him to buy the ticket. He proceeded, and afterwards came back to me in the queue, trying to return Rs. 30, even though his home was pretty far from the reservation counter. I asked him to use the money to get back home, and rush for his work. Now he wanted my address to send the money back. I just asked him to help some needy person, and I'd consider my money returned.

I'm not a very benevolent person. But when I see someone in trouble, which can be solved by a very small effort from me, I do not hesitate. I am fortunate to have seen more good done than bad in my life, and intend to keep my overall contribution positive to this world.

Just reiterating:

Helping hands are better than praying lips...

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