Monday, February 16, 2009

Babu’s surprise

Rajesh had telephoned the travel agency at least six times during the day to be in readiness with a car for him to take his wife whenever the labour pain commenced. He had met the owner in the morning and explained his need. Since morning, his wife was complaining of intermittent pain but not of that intensity to rush her to the maternity hospital. In fact, the gynaecologist had given a date that was still two days away. The owner of the travel agency had assured him not to worry and that he will send the car within five minutes of his telephone call. There were not many tourist travel companies in the vicinity the place being in the suburb. It was also marriage season and most of the cars had gone out. The owner of the company resided in the same building with the front room doing the duty of the office. He had detained one Indica and an ambassador. But there was only one driver, Babu, available. He did not send him out on long distance duty as Babu had returned only in the morning from Bangalore after a night travel. The previous night also he was on night duty. He could not get sleep for two continuous nights. He pleaded with the owner that he be given off for him to get some sleep. But the owner asked him to lie down in the office, as he had no spare driver. He also told Babu about Rajesh’s predicament and the likely emergency arising. Babu had to relent and tried to get some sleep in the office itself. Hardly two hours had gone by when the local inspector of police wanted a car for a few hours up to 5pm.The owner explained about Babu being awake for two nights and the emergency duty expected anytime in the evening or night. The inspector promised to release the car any time before 5pm if the need arose and that in any case he would return the car by 5pm.It was only at 8pm that Babu could return to office, and after a quick dinner slept on the bench.
It was at 11pm the owner got a call on his mobile from Rajesh. He came down to wake up Babu who was fast asleep. He had to nudge him several times and asked him to proceed immediately. With heavy eyelids begging for sleep, he was at Rajesh’s place within ten minutes. He requested Rajesh to give him a mug of water to wash his face. When Rajesh saw that he had difficulty even to keep his eyes open, he asked him what the matter was.Babu told him about his continuous duty for two nights and whole day. Rajesh requested him somehow manage to take his wife first to the hospital and that he would discuss the matter with him later. It was with great difficulty Babu drove the couple very slowly to the hospital even as the lady was crying under the increasing pain. Once in the hospital Rajesh requested Babu to wait till the baby was born.
The delivery was smooth that happened within an hour of admission.Meanwhile Babu got a call from the owner to stay back with Rajesh till he released him. All his pleadings, that he needed to go home and sleep, fell on deaf ears. The owner simply bellowed his order again and slammed the phone down. Babu was very cross not only with the owner but also with Rajesh. He was very sore that despite his help in the late night in the conditions he was, Rajesh had no heart to release him but made him stay. It was then Rajesh came out smiling and patted Babu. Babu was in no mood to smile. He asked him “Sir, you are well aware that I have not slept for almost sixty hours and have been on duty most of the time. I agreed to come to your place only because of the emergency and expected you to send me away once in the hospital. Instead of showing gratitude, you have detained me. I now know how selfish people are.”
Rajesh putting his arm around Babu told him,’ You have mistaken me. I got a call from the owner to send you back as there was an urgent call from a political light weight to send a car for rushing to Erode. I knew your predicament. I told your boss that the case had developed complications and that I have been asked to keep the car in readiness to shift my wife to bigger hospital and that I was not in a position to release you.”
“Sir, the baby is born already and you said everything is fine. Why did you say all these to the owner?” asked Babu
“Yes, I knew your owner would be heartless to send you to Erode. I also know that you are not in a condition to drive and needed good sleep. I have arranged a room in the adjacent small hotel for you. Go there and sleep. You can go home in the morning. I have paid the hotel already. You came to help me when I needed you most. This is the only thing I could do to you in return. Please do not mention about the room in the hotel to your boss. Thank you Babu immensely,” Rajesh said.
Babu could not control his tears at the large hearted nature of Rajesh..


  1. A gratifying tale beautifully narrated by the author. While its disheartening to see such cab drivers deprived of their sleep only to serve us day in and day out,its also heartening to realize that sensitive people like Rajesh exist.

  2. Sir!!! This is a great gesture shown by Rajes. Many of us fail to understand the pains of the driver. We sleep in the car while we travel and we assume that the driver is also as fresh as we are. Many of us overwork the drivers and most of the times it ends up in an accident.

    The nation lost a great Carnatic Musician, Shir Maharajapuram Santhanam in a road accident as the driver was half asleep while driving. Who should be blamed for this?

    We need to empathetic with the drivers especially while we travel long distance.

    A very good story and a good lesson too.

  3. Thanks Sweta and Girivasan for the comments.The lure of money drives the owners of ourist travel
    companies to overwork the drivers.

  4. A nice story well-written. Thank you, KP.

  5. nice story, touching as usual.. and i loved reading it..

  6. Very nice story. I enjoyed reading it:)

  7. Sadly the pilots in India share the same hard luck..lack of sleep leading to innumerable accidents. A thought provoking story!

  8. nice and touching story....
    i whole heartedly wish if there were some people with such great heart in this world so that atleast some children live with filled stomach....
    hmm....God bless you...