- by KParthasarathi 21 Jan 2009
Srinivas returns home from office late every day. He takes the metro train to his home as it is very fast enabling him reach home in less than a hour. The snag is this mode is not preferred by commuters after 8pm as the stations are deserted, dark and desolate. Ladies strictly avoid them whatever be the urgency. The stations are too situated a little away from the main thoroughfares. Srinivas does not bring even his two wheeler, let alone his Maruti, as there is no secured parking shed to take care of vehicles. You can only see some loiters or shady characters moving around in the vicinity. Srinivas as a rule does not carry money more than five hundred rupees or valuables except his mobile. On pay days he takes a taxi home. But one night when he alighted from the station and was walking towards the exit, he saw an unshaven young man in his early twenties walking towards him. Srinivas looked around. Not a soul was visble.The station was dark except at a few places and prevented an ideal background for crime.
The man pulled out a blade and said in a gruff tone "Give me your purse and the mobile." Srinivas without a murmur handed him the both. The man was not even in twenties as he had surmised but just a stockily built teen around eighteen.
As the boy started moving away, Srinivas said "Hey , can you give me ten rupees as I have to take a bus?"
There was a baffled look on his face. He didn't say anything but took out a twenty rupee note and offered it.
Sinivas took courage and asked him “You look so young and seem to be a good man by readily giving me the money for my bus fare. Why do you do this job that is risky and certainly not an honourable one. You don't have to answer if you choose to."
He looked at sharply at Srinivas's eyes and after hesitation said "I am a plus two passed and have no job. I have an old mother and younger sister at home. My mom is sick and cannot work. The girl is just thirteen and studying. I have no other go as I have to support the family."
As they were walking, Srinivas said "That is not the right answer.If all the unemployed took to mugging, the city would abound in muggers. Why don't you learn some skill and earn honestly like everyone. else"
I know no skill. I have no money to spend. I have to earn at least hundred or two hundred to keep the kitchen fire burning.I haven't taken any food since morning. I will use this money to take some idli or briyani for the two at home."
Srinivas gently patted the boy and told him "You seem good natured and affectionate to your mom and sister.I am happy about it. Are you willing to change and ready to lead an honest living if I show you a way?"
"Most willingly, Sir.I am not comfortable with this.I am always afraid I will turn to be a thief and slide into a life of bigger crime. I am also terribly afraid that I may go prison one day bringing shame to my mom and sister. My mom would commit suicide if she knew how I bring her the money.' he replied
Suddenly he took out the purse, took out just a hundred rupee note and returned the purse and the mobile. He said "I have not seen anyone talking to me so kindly. Most are scared and try to run away or scream for help. You are the first one to treat me as another human being and talk to me gently. Sorry I had to take the hundred rupees as my mom and sister at home would be hungry."
Srinivas said" Never mind. Have another hundred. I trust you. I will show you a way.Tomorrw is Saturday and I will be at my home. Come to my place at 10 am. We will discuss. Please do not come if you are not determined to change from this wretched way of life."
It was noon the next day. The boy had not come. Srinivas was vexed that he was cheated. He had a hope of transforming a young boy from a life of crime and shame to decent living. He felt that it was difficult to transform people given to crime and cheating. He was greatly disappointed and told his wife how even if he wanted to help someone, he could not.
Two days later as he was leaving for his office, he saw the boy standing at the gate and hesitating whether to enter or not. Srinivas was surprised as he saw a faint glimmer of hope at a refined criminal." Sir, excuse me, I could not come as promised on Saturday. My mom fell down and broke her leg. I had to take her to hospital and tend to her. We pledged some brass vessels we had to get the money. Your two hundred also helped us. I am determined not to lead a life of shame. I am willing to work hard. Please show me a way."
Srnivas decided immediately to take a day off. He took the boy to his automobile workshop who ran a travel service too. He met the owner known to him well and spoke to him privately for a few minutes. The boy was called inside. The owner said 'I will take you in my company for the sake of my Srinivas Sir. The boys will teach you driving in three days time. Sir has agreed to pay for the license. We will also teach you car mechanics. Once you get the license I will employ you as a driver. Till then I will pay you a stipend. You will work with the boys here. But before that I would like my foreman to visit your house now with you and meet your mother and sister to know what you are saying is genuine. Are you willing to work?"
The boy with tears in the eyes fell flat at the feet of the owner and Srinivas and said in choked voice" I would be indebted for life to you both. Turning to Srinivas he said "It would be a great honour if you can also visit me house and see my mother in bandage. You will then know that I cannot utter a lie to my living God."
When Srinivas narrated the happening to his wife later that day, his wife said “I am not surprised at all. I am fortunate to have such a kind hearted husband who is even willing to undergo hardship to help someone who deserves. You treat everyone with kindness, even those who do harm to you-not because they are nice to you, but because you are.”Kpartha12@hotmail.com