The two sides

Occasionally, the cosmos has a way of subjecting us to a kaleidoscopic set of experiences in a row in order to shake us out of our complacence. We are served with helpings of the good, bad and ugly on one platter, sometimes on a single day which holds a mirror to contrasting sets of human behaviour!

One day, a young man in white uniform and a large bag arrived at our doorstep and claimed to be from the electricity board. He asked all the pertinent questions regarding, the use of electricity in our household. He made a note of the number of electrical appliances, the amount of power we consume and even asked us a copy of an old bill to take down our consumer number. Then he gave a brief and effective lecture on the importance of conserving electricity and how the same can be achieved by using CFL candles. He whipped out the just(ly?) advertised bulbs and coaxed us to buy some. When we hesitated, he impressed upon us that it was a government initiative. He told us that if we did not accept his offer now, then we might be wasting our precious time waiting in long queues to avail the subsidised offer.

Needless to say, we succumbed and picked up half a dozen of the expensive bulbs. The savvy salesman pocketed the amount and said he would fetch the bulbs and bill books from the van parked nearby and did not show up even after two hours. Realisation dawned! We had been taken for a ride! The feeling was very unsettling. But then life must go on!

Soon, I was strolling down a busy market place. Grocery shopping had ensured that my hands were full. Yet I could not resist a pit stop at the apple vendor’s cart. I picked up some, which were tossed into one of the already bulging bags. Even as I was edging my way out through a jostling crowd, the seams of the smallest of my bags gave way and all my purchase tumbled out gleefully. They lay scattered three hundred and sixty degrees around me.

The initial shock lasted for a moment before I took stock of the situation. Even before my thoughts assembled, the men and women who were about picked them all up. An empathetic roadside vendor held out a carry bag and all the fruits were dropped into it and the bag was handed over to me. The busy men and women were soon on their way. They did not even tarry to acknowledge my gratitude. Just as I picked up my bags, an elderly gentleman, who had also helped out, turned around and remarked, “See! The world is not a bad place after all!” I could not but agree with him.

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