A few good people

Of late, everything disturbs me. Of course, the villains make me shudder - the rapists, the child molesters, the murderers, the wife-beaters, the corrupt and self-serving politicians. Then there is the depressing state of world affairs - military aggression, terrorism, states at permanent unrest, famine, drought in one part of the world and floods in the other, drug-resistant diseases, melting glaciers, species on the brink of extinction and the doomsday list goes on and depressingly on.

More alarmingly, though, the ordinary and supposedly relatively good among us are increasingly offering less and less to cheer about - our vanity (need I mention the selfie-obsession?), pride, ego, poor manners, loudness and lack of civility are becoming obvious, and tragically, being celebrated! To escape this quagmire of negativity, I thought I'd pen down some of the shining examples of the human spirit that I have myself evidenced. I dedicate this article to them.

To my house help, Savitri, who, despite being a penniless, widowed, mother-of-three at 28, soldiers on every day not a hair out of place and not a crumple in her neatly pleated saree. Though life has given her little to cheer about, she flashes the brightest smile at the littlest of things.

To one unnamed heroic auto driver who, at first, asked me to pay double the meter but pursued me when I walked off in a huff refusing to do so. He followed me and asked me to get on at the normal rate as the road was dark and deserted and he didn't want anything happening to me pricking his conscience. I must add that as I clambered on, I ungraciously (and untruthfully!) mentioned I was skilled in karate and he needn't bother about me. To this, he smirked and said my karate would be of little use when five people held me down. That comeback from him still counts among the top three most humbling put-downs I have ever suffered.

To my other unnamed hero - the safari driver in Bandipur. At the end of yet another safari without spotting a tiger, he noticed my bitter disappointment and asked me to take down his number and call him the next time I visited. He swore gallantly that he would drive me through the entire jungle if he had to till I spotted a tiger. I've seen a couple of tigers since then but his chivalrous offer has left as deep a mark on my mind as the endearing white spot on the tiger's ear.

To the neighbourhood mom-and-pop store owner who walked my child back home leaving his store unattended since she was spooked by someone asking her unseemly questions. It's not often that one meets her knight in shining armour so early in life.

To all of you - God bless and may your tribe increase!

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