Monday, January 21, 2008

A few moments of panic

It was another afternoon yesterday as I walked briskly to the bus stop to take a bus to my office. No sooner I reached than a bus arrived. Afternoons being off-peak hour, buses are rarely crowded. But this had a few passengers standing; nevertheless I got in, for no one knows when the next bus will come.

The conductor was near the entrance giving tickets, so even before I'd got in fully -- I had one foot on the last step -- I reached for my back pocket to take the wallet. Just as pulled it out, it slipped from my hand and fell down; hitting the edge of the lowest step, it fell out on to the road.

The bus wasn't moving fast, and for a split second, I saw it lying on the road. But the bus wasn't moving slow either, so I couldn't jump out. For a moment I panicked, but I quickly told the conductor to stop the bus: "My purse fell out..." I told him. He blew the whistle, the bus slowed down and I hopped out. Quickly I turned back and ran with all my life. It must have been just about 100 meters from the bus stop.

I could see a boy picking up something and giving it to an elderly man. I ran faster. Panting, I looked at what the man had in his hand. It was something black, and I immediately recognised it was my wallet.

"Sir, my purse... "

"It's yours? What is your identity? I was planning to give it to the police..."

As I reeled out in quick succession my name, where I work, my designation etc etc, he opened the purse....

"O, you have so many credit cards...."

"No sir, I've only one credit card, one is my office identity card...."

Though I was upset about how people quickly jump into conclusions without ascertaining the truth; I was more bothered about getting that purse back from him. In fact, one was a credit card, one an ATM card, one a discount card from a bookstore; and one my office identity card. And, I had Rs 100 plus a few smaller notes.

"Okay.... " fully convinced he handed it back to me with a smile. "I'ven't taken anything, you can check..." he added for good measure.

With a smile I thanked him and God; and walked back to the bus-stop.

Once again (what a coincidence) just as I reached the bus stop, a bus came. This one, however, had very few passengers. I got into it, sat comfortably and heaved a sigh of relief.

Then I pondered over what had happened during the previous few minutes.

  • What if the conductor hadn't whistled the bus to stop immediately?
  • What if someone had already picked the purse and walked in the opposite direction?
  • What if that the old gentleman, instead of being good, had just put it in his pocket and asked me a counterquestion: "What purse?"

These are times when I feel I must count my small blessings.

I also pondered over this:

  • What if I had, as usual, put the ticket fare in my pocket, so I wouldn't have had to take the wallet in the bus? All this probably could have been avoided then...

4 comments:

  1. All of us , i think confront such moments of panic in our day to day life! what is important while looking back is counting the blessings .. as you have done! when most often we look at the whole issue in a rather uninviting approach...brooding on having to face the situation!i believe its the small day today events that help us learn ...only if we stop and look!

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  2. Just there is light and shadow in one's life, there are good and bad people also.Basically all are born with innate sanguine qualities.But as we grow up and depending on the environment we live in our attitude to life and out surroundings change. Pl d't ponder over what happened to you on that day and come to hasty conclusions.Krishna Vattam

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  3. Hmm.. We really need to be thankful for the small favors that God bestows upon us everyday. Experience is a mother of all teachers, and having experienced the loss of my wallet ( including passport, credit cards and currency to the last dollar!!)in New york airport, I now know what exactly i should NOT do with my wallet !!

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  4. you know pradeep - just when u start losing faith in humanity a wonderful person turns up. it is almost always like that. there is always greatness in oneself, it gets turned on only very few times in life!!

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