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The rickshawala I can never forget

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02nd-Jan-2017       
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Life Desk  :

Daily we hear about so many negative incidents happening around us, which make us believe as if humanity has vanished from our society. They make us believe that we are living in a world where we can't even trust our shadow, forget trusting strangers. But some incidents in our lives restore that fading faith in humanity. A similar incident made me realize that we can trust strangers.
This incident dates back to around December 2012. It was chilly and foggy when I reached Roorkee to attend a function at my friend's house. I had never been to her place, so before hiring a rickshaw, I called her to know the exact location of her house and conveyed the same to that rickshaw wala. Though I tried to put a brave face in front of that stranger and also conveyed to him, by actions, that I am constantly in touch with my friend yet I had fear in my mind that he might misbehave or misguide, knowing I am a complete stranger on this route. The whole route was quite deserted and far away from the main city. I was just focused on looking for landmarks that my friend had told me about.
It was nearly a 45 minutes journey from bus stand. Suddenly that man stopped his rickshaw saying we reached the destination. I looked at the surroundings and being a stranger, was clueless whether or not it is the right place. I quickly dialed my friend's number and told her my position. She asked me to check with the shopkeepers around and reach a particular. She was busy with wedding rituals and couldn't step out.
It was nearly 5:45 pm and being winter, hardly one or two shops were open. That place too seemed like newly inhabited; there were more empty plots than houses. Now I was actually scared and somehow that rickshaw-wala sensed that too. He stepped down from his rickshaw and went to a nearby shop to ask about that particular lane. He came back and started riding crossing many deserted plots, asking the route from any passerby he could spot on our way. He stopped at one place and asked me to call my friend once again and confirm whether or not we are on the correct route. I told him some landmarks, told by my friend, and he again started riding, asking people about that landmark. At one place he stopped and showed me the landmark. I again dialed my friend's number and she asked me to wait for her to come. I stepped down from the rickshaw and after paying the fare, I walked towards that landmark, waiting for my friend to come. After almost two minutes, she came and when I turned to go with her, I saw that rickshaw-wala also turning his rickshaw to go back. Actually he was waiting there to confirm whether or not I actually reached my destination. He waited till my friend came.
He was a poor man, his daily earning depends on the number of passengers he ferries to their destination, yet he wasted his time for my safety. I didn't pay him anything extra and he too was aware of this, yet he helped me to reach safely. No one would have ever blamed him if he had left me at the starting point but he took extra responsibility without expecting anything in return. He might be poor in terms of monetary wealth but the purity of his thoughts and actions proved he was the master of the most precious jewel of humanity, whose worth is priceless.
He taught me what humanity actually is. We always talk about humanity, moral values, altruism, etc, but how many of us would actually do what that rickshaw-wala did and that too for a stranger. To be very true, no matter how many times I have debated about helping others but what he did for me, made me feel ashamed of myself. I felt ashamed of thinking that if I were in his place, I wouldn't have done that much for any stranger. He proved actions speak louder than words. It's easy to give speeches on morality and humanity but how many of us actually follow our words; instead we always find excuses to avoid such acts.
I never believed the childhood stories about God sending his angels to guard his children, but that rickshaw-wala changed my opinion. He was my guardian-angel in disguise. I don't know his name, I don't even remember his face but whenever I am surrounded by strangers and an unknown fear creeps in my mind, this memory instills a ray of positivity. Humanity still exists, not only in words but in actions too. Have faith and you never know who amongst strangers would be your guardian-angel.
-TNN

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