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The milk of human kindness

Innate goodness still exists and there are still humane humans around. (Representational image)

Innate goodness still exists and there are still humane humans around. (Representational image)  

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There are generous souls even where you least expect to find them.

Every day, Delhi newspapers carry reports of chain and bag snatching with violence. People just pass by glancing and walking off as if nothing alarming had happened. Mostly they are busy talking or texting. If the scene interests them, all they do is take a photo or make a video, which will later go viral.

Snatching seems a much less-agonising occurrence than accidents with victims bleeding to death on the road and people just recording the scene and moving on. It looks like we humans are no more humane enough to be part of another’s agony. Obviously, it is not enough for such a sight to be seen by the eye or cries for help to strike the ear. It needs to address the mind, touch the heart and influence the soul deep within.

But as the saying goes, the world is existing because there are some kind, helpful and good-hearted people still around and the world rests on their shoulders. I recently came across some true incidents that prove that angels (in human form) are still around, though rare and decreasing in number faster than ever.

My sister and her husband were riding on their two-wheeler to visit our parents. She tucked her handbag safely (or so she thought) in the back next to the spare tyre. When they reached their destination and she looked for her bag, it was not there. Shocked, they immediately rode back to see if it had fallen on the way, hoping and praying they would recover it, but luck was not on their side.

They were to leave for Punjab the same night and were away for 10 days. On their return, they found many letters in the mailbox, including a pleasant surprise. It was a postcard from an unknown person. He wrote that he and his wife were on the road behind them in a scooter. They saw the bag fall and tried to call out and follow but then lost sight of them. So, they took the bag home and since there was a letter in it with their address, they could contact them. He gave his name, address and phone number and requested them to collect their bag. It was more than 10 days since they lost it but still when they called, the gentleman informed them that their bag was safe and could be collected.

When they reached his place, he said, “Please check your bag.” “Come on, you took the trouble to pick it up, keep it safely with you and contact us. We don’t need to check,” my sister replied in relief.

My friend who was with us when my sister was telling this story, revealed that she had a similar unbelievable experience quite recently. They were returning from Janakpuri to their home in Panchsheel Park when on a signal, a man on a scooter knocked at the windshield and told the driver that the back tyre was punctured. The driver opened his door to look at the back. My friend was also on the same side on the back seat, and she did the same. Her handbag was on her lap. The pillion rider on the scooter snatched it and they sped away.

Both the driver and her husband tried to give chase, but they were too fast and disappeared in a moment. My friend was in shock and the saddest thing was that she had just come back from the U.S. with a trendy new phone gifted by her son. Things such as her wallet, keys and ID were also in the bag. When they reached home, she called her son and to her surprise, he said, “Mom, I can trace your phone. Your bag is still lying on the road and the phone is in it.”

Obviously in a hurry and not wanting to be caught, the snatchers had pulled out the wallet and thrown the bag back on the road. My friend then drove to the place and recovered her bag and phone. Though people were whizzing past, nobody dared to pick up an unknown bag, probably fearing it might be dangerous.

The phone was saved because it was in the middle pocket zipped tight as also because of the wonders of modern technology that helped track it, from the U.S. It was a good recovery, but there was more to follow. At 1.30 a.m., my friend’s phone rang. When she picked it up, there was a man on the other side. “Ma’am, I am near Tilak Bridge and I found your wallet thrown on the side of the road. I picked it up. Though there is no money in it, but it has lot of important cards, your credit and debit cards, Aadhaar, club membership, etc. That’s how I got your number. This is my phone number, please contact me and collect it tomorrow.”

Fear and mistrust of strangers is ubiquitous. All kinds of false information and tricks to make contact happens these days. So my friends were a bit wary. But when they called the next morning, he said, “My office is in Nehru Place, you can collect your stuff from there.”

Such kindness of the unknown for someone not known is nothing short of a miracle. It gives us the hope that innate goodness still exists and there are still humane humans around.

ranidevasar@gmail.com

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:49:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-milk-of-human-kindness/article30061204.ece

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