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An up'lift'ing experience
I had been transferred to Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra. I set out for the metropolis with the advice of my friends ringing in my ears, "Be careful, always."
I had to make a new beginning. The foremost task was to find myself a house. Thanks to my office colleagues, that problem was sorted out within a week, and I found myself a place where I could go and relax at the end of the day. I had found myself a little nest.
Commuting, of course, was a big headache. The place I had found was almost 20 kilometres from my office. But I soon realised that I was indeed lucky; many of my colleagues traveled to work from neighbouring districts, and spent almost six to seven hours every day commuting to and fro!
I traveled to work in buses operated by the civic body. The bus service is excellent, but owing to traffic snarls, especially in the evenings, the 20-kilometre journey would extend to over an hour.
I had to work in shifts, and the second shift was particularly tedious and I reached home very late in the night.
One day, while I was still very new to the metropolis, I was waiting for a bus to take me home. It was a late hour and there were very few people at the bus stop. On that day buses had decided to be infrequent! A car stopped by and the driver popped out his head and asked me to step in.
"Oh, what excellent people!" I said to myself. Before coming to Mumbai I had been told to be careful; I had been told that people in the metropolis have no time for others. That was all rubbish! Here was a good Samaritan, who realizing my plight, was offering me a lift.
By then, the few passengers who were there at the bus stop had already made themselves comfortable, and there was no space for me. Anyway, I thanked the driver profusely. I even went to the extent of shaking his hand. Indeed, I thanked him so profusely that he was astonished. The car, of course, left without me.
The next day I related the incident to my office colleague, who was also an outsider but had been living in Mumbai for two years. "The people here are so kind, so generous, so wonderful ..... ," I might have used a few more adjectives while narrating the incident.
The colleague gave me a quizzical look and, then, almost rolled on the floor laughing.
When my friend was able to get over his laughing fit, he told me that I had not encountered any good Samaritan. It is a usual practice among cab drivers and chauffeurs of private cars at the end of their day's work to pick up passengers from bus stops at a nominal fare. My good Samaritan was not offering me a free ride but would have charged me for the same.
That was it! Anyway, I stopped thanking drivers profusely when they next "offered me lift". But I have traveled in these cabs and cars thereafter quite a number of times. Travelling in a cab by paying an amount equal to the bus fare was, after all, like being offered a lift!
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu