Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Rustic charm

Bangalore is a city of one-ways. On more then 100 roads, big and small, you can’t drive back the same way you go. Because of the switch, I am quite confused about the roads in the city. I am told most people are.

Yesterday, I was on Hosur Road, opposite Johnson Market. I was returning home. I had to take a right turn, and I landed on a path I had never taken. I was totally lost on this alien road. So, at a junction, I asked a guy sitting to the left of the driver of a small transport van the direction.

This guy didn’t look educated; his dress (whatever I could see) was dirty, probably after unloading a truck-full of whatever. I expected a curt reply. I even thought he might guide me on to a wrong road. Don’t we have a tendency not to trust such rustic, unimpressive guys; and we always seek the impressive and suave people?

I was totally mistaken. He had a smile on his face. He told me the turns to take. At every junction the vehicles stopped, he looked back in a very reassuring manner. And, I smiled back at him, and within minutes we seemed to be communicating so well: all non-verbally. It looked such good fun; because even from that distance I could sense genuineness in his demeanour -- and, a refreshing contrast against disgusting images of urbane arrogance.

After a couple of kilometres or so when I could make out my way, I pulled up to the left of the truck, and shouted a big “Thank You Very Much” with a Big Smile. And, I overtook him.

As I drove, I thought about his guy, and his concern and sensibility. I wondered about the stereotyped images we have about people like him. There was absolutely no need to keep track of me. He could have just told me the direction and just forgot about me.

We are so sceptical of such people. We go so much after the exterior. This was not the first time such a thing was happening to me. Yet it was a surprise to me, when he was so kind.

Whether one has intrinsic qualities of kindness, sensitivity, humility, etc, can’t be judged from his or her educational qualification, dress, or such external attributes.


  1. Nice posting Pradeep. It is rare to find such persons nowadays. Once I was on my bike in a congested locality and got lost. When I asked a guy directions, I got more confused with what he said. He said he would show me and sat behind in the bike and led me to the place. It was around 1km. He got down. I thanked him. What happened next surprised me. He started walking back in the route we had come. I first thought he would be having some work nearby, but he kept on walking. I started the bike, went to him and asked where he wanted to go so that I could drop him. He said said he was going back to his place - where I had asked him directions. He said he had come with me as it was a congested locality and newcomers usually got lost. He asked me not to worry about him walking back. He said he was happy he was able to help someone. I said I will drop him at his place. He refused the offer saying he had got an opportunity to get a good exercise - walking 1 km.
    He looked every inch a rouge. But what he did was something even I would have never done.

  2. The problem with us,the ppl who r all educated is that we go for the sophisticated look many a times,and more than anything these days geniune simplicity and feelings r lost in the crowd.My friends make fun of me when i say thans after taking a ticket from the movie counter,or bus conducter.And looks can be deceptive.Atleast in small towns and villages ppl still trust eachother easily,but in cities,gosh,hmm,frankly speaking there would be bad exp also,but then does that need to stop us from living and trusting?
    Thanks alot fo linking my blog here,me wish to do the same:)

  3. Hello Pradeep. This is a post that left me with much to think about with regard tothe way we view people we don't know. It brought to mind the old saying, "never judge a book by its cover."

    I'm glad you had such a positive experience with this good person.