Sweet surprises

Sweet surprises


I woke up to a glorious Monday morning when it was a sheer joy just to be alive. Not wanting the minor irritations of the immediate past to quell my spirit or spoil my elation, I refused to dwell on it. Resolutely, I pushed it back and decided to savour all that the day seemed to offer.

I made up my mind to go for a walk. The walk did me a power of good, clearing my head and making me soak in the beauty of the trees bursting into bloom. I ran into (rather, walked into) a couple of acquaintances. After exchanging pleasantries, we concluded that there was no point in living in Bengaluru (Bengalooroo?) if we didn’t go for morning walks. On that affable note, we partied.

My sense of well-being restored, I felt equipped to deal with the petty problems that arise on a daily basis, and which take up so much energy and time.

The first surprise of the day was that garbage had been collected unobtrusively. More often than not, it is left to languish due to the absence or neglect of the collector. It augured well, I thought, pervaded by optimism.

There was a bit of a mix-up in my bank account. I braced myself for a long wait and repeated explanations while I got pushed around from one counter to another.

Incredible as it may sound, the very first person I spoke to invited me to sit down. She listened patiently to what I had to say. She assured me that there was nothing to worry about. If I would give her a minute, she would trace it. And believe me, she did. That she took slightly longer than a minute was of no consequence. I was so relieved that I thanked her profusely for sorting out the problem so fast. She said I was welcome. The words were said with customary courtesy but  the inflection conveyed  just that little bit more. A charming smile accompanied the conventional words. Musing over the way the lady had dealt with me, I couldn’t help feeling that the world was, after all, a pleasant place to be in.

Feeling quite up-beat, I thought I would finish some of the other errands as well. In my eagerness to cram as much as I could, as most of the morning was still left, I lost count of time. When someone asked what time it was, I realised with a shock that it was well past the lunch hour. I needed to rush home to give finishing touches to the midday meal.

Though I had to cover only a short distance, and could have very well have walked, I hailed an auto because I was in a hurry. Auto drivers aren’t keen on trips that will only fetch them the minimum fare. Even at the best of times, they haggle for extra fare and often say that they don’t have change. At a time when even people with well-lined pockets are grappling with  spiralling prices, I do sympathise with the plight of the not-so-fortunate. Not being the peak hour, I managed to find an auto driver who was willing to go the short distance. I assumed that he would expect to be paid 20 rupees.

Why grudge him three paltry rupees, especially when my morning had gone so well? After I got off, I peered into the auto to ensure that I had left nothing behind. Then, I gave the driver 20 rupees and walked on, quite pleased with my generous gesture. As I was opening the gate, the driver called out to me. I turned. “Here is your change,” he said, handing me three rupees. Not all auto drivers are tyrannical extortionists. Here was a self-respecting individual. My do-good act fell flat. I admired the driver’s attitude. So cynical and judgemental are we that even small acts of decency overwhelm us!

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