The bus was jam packed.Nalini never expected this.When her two wheeler refused to start she hurried to the bus stop.The threewheelers were plying but all of them had passengers.She waited for more than ten miniutes for an empty auto.She had to reach her office on time for a meeting.It was cloudy with the threat of rain.She took the bus to avoid the rain.There was hardly any space to move.The men were virtually breathing on her neck.She could not stand the stench of their body odour.The conductor asked her where she was bound for.When she mentioned he tore a 4 rupee ticket and thrust it on her hand.She proffered a fifty rupee note having no coin.Hedeclined saying with asperity in the voice ”No Change with me.Give me the exact amount.”
She replied “Sorry, I have only one two rupee coin.Please help me.I will take the balance later when I get down.”
He whistled the bus to a stop and said heartlessly “Give me back the ticket.Please get down.Be quick”
“It is drizzling outside.Please help”she pleaded
Even as the conductor refused to listen to her, an elderly man who was sitting in a seat near her said ”How could you do that? Don’t you see it is raining? Here is a five rupee coin.Give her back the ticket.”
The conductor insolently gave her the ticket and one rupee to the man muttering some unintelligible swearing.Nalini was dumbfounded as this happened quickly.”I don’t have change.You can give me back whatever you have.Take this fifty rupee note. she said
“Never mind, four rupees is not a big amount.Are we not human having sisters and daughters like you? Forget it” he said as he got up to alight at the next stop.He did not look very affluent from his tattered shirt , a pair of cheap chappals and the bristle on his face.Nevertheless in her mind ,this face of the kindly man from among many onlooking passengers was etched .
It was two months later Nalini’s dad called her and asked “Nalini, do you have any plan to go out? If you are free, why don’t you accompany me.I am going to the orphanage of which I am the president to select a new manager.The old manager had left the job.You can join me and help me in the selection.What do you say?”
Nalini was very happy and said “I will gladly join you.Give me five minutes .I will change the dress and be here soon.”
The orphanage was a trust property of her father’s trust.Her father being an industrialist and a philanthrophist founded this institution to help the hapless children.They were taken care of well,given good education and vocational training too as they grew older.The previous manager was very efficient and managed it well.Her dad wanted to choose a good man.As they sat down in the room,she asked her dad what was he looking for in the candidates.Her father said that he looked for some one with experience in running such an institution and capable also.
The candiadates started coming one by one.Some had experience but looked for a good compensation, while some had no experience and were willing to work for any salary and a few others had no commitment to work in such an institution.Her dad asked her to give rating on a scale of 0 to 10.At the end when one elderly man entered,Nalini immediately recognised him.His beak shaped nose and the bristle on the face was unforgettable.He was the good Samaritan who came to her rescue in the bus two months back.He showed no sign of recognition and stood deferentially.Nalini asked him to take his seat.
Nalini’s dad asked him” You don’t seem to have any experience in such an institution.You had worked in a private company in an ordinary position.There is no managerial experience also.How do you think you are suitable for this job?”
He was silent for a few seconds before he spoke” True, I have no experience.But I have a sincere wish to serve in such an institution. But I have many children .I can look after these boys and girls as if they are my own.I will bestow the same care as I give my children.I may not have the requisite experience but I think I will discharge my duties conscentiously to the best interests of the hapless children.I need this job also incidentally to maintain my big family.”
“We don’t pay much.OK .Let me see.Please wait outside.We will decide in another thirty minutes” said Nalini’s dad.
Nalini turned to him after he left the room and said “Appa, I think experience is good but not an essential parameter.What I look for is something else.”
“OK, who have you chosen out of the seven we have interviewed?” asked her dad
“My vote goes to the last gentleman” she repled
“What? What are you saying? He has no experience at all and has worked as a clerk in a private firm.He has not an iota of adminitratve experience.I have already crossed his name”he said.
“Appa, I think experience can be gained on the job but there is one qualty that cannot be gained.It is inherent in a person.For an orphanage with luckless children devoid of love and affection of parents, what is needed is compassion and a concern for them.The rest are all immaterial.All the others came looking for a job while this man said he came to serve.” said Nalini
“How can you be so credulous and say this man has compassion? Do you know him or go merely by his words?” taunted her dad
Nalini then related the incident that took place two months back and clinched the decision in favour of the old man.
A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one good deed