I have a weak temperament of handling people who say that they have problems in life, a boy with a torn shirt, who checks out my designer shirts, or a small baby who stares at me when I enjoy my ice cream, with that sadness of not being able to have it. These are the things which put me into deep thoughts. I just have many times felt that I should go to the kid and buy it an ice cream, take the boy to a cloth shop, buy new dresses for him. Make him happy, and find happiness and peace in his happiness, it is like the satisfaction of making someone happy makes me feel good, Yes it’s an achievement, not all care to see the world happy, I am one of those people who finds happiness in others enjoyment.
But then I am not all that gifted to help everyone in need with money. But yes, I can help them out in another way, my words, my time, my patience to listen to them and their stories. That doesn’t need money, that doesn’t need position in society. All that it needs is the temperament to lend a helping hand to the one in need.
Well, this incident which I so distinctly remember is about a friend of mine, well he became my friend just like one of these incidents which I mentioned above. I don’t want to mention his name, but I remember him sitting next to me, telling me about his dreams, what were his ideas about life, what he expected from it, and how was he going to fulfill his dreams.
We first met when in a bus, I was mostly around 15 years old then, and this boy who was also a student in my school got on into the same bus, uniforms give a sense of familiarity, we started speaking, just random introductions, and some light chit chat. I was dominating the conversation, well that’s what happens when I speak to most of the people, I keep on talking. And it was just our first meeting, but we had some sort of friendly bond growing in between us, we didn’t speak much, but yeah, since that day he started coming along with me in the same bus in which I used to go. We were in different classes, and different mediums of education as well. I was going to an English medium school (Thanks to my parents who always had my future as their priority), And this boy went to the Kannada (Regional language of Karnataka, India)medium school, I later learnt that he was in there as a part of the free education scheme of my school. And there was always this unmarked gap between us in schools, Maybe he was having an inferiority complex, and I was just too insensitive to know it then, well it was just my first encounter with all these stuff. But things really started to ease up with time, and we were good friends in some time, our discussions had started getting more and more, on one fine day, I just asked him, “Who is your favorite wrestler?” He asked me, “Favorite what??” I had to elaborate and explain. “Dude don’t you watch WWE (world wrestling entertainment)”, there was that sadness, which I had seen before in his eyes, he said, “We don’t have a TV”, and I felt really very bad for taking the topic up, I just said him, “It’s waste having one, even I don’t watch it”. He gave me a dry smile, he knew that I had just bluffed, well the rest of the journey back home ended without a discussion, my mind was messed up, I was thinking a lot about him, not much I could do, really not much I could do then, but I was determined to know why was he not having a TV
We had been friends now, for almost a year, I hadn’t asked him much about anything personal, And one day he didn’t come in the bus, I thought it was some sort of sick leave , but I saw him in school, I thought he missed his bus, but it was the same thing for the next one week or so, I didn’t know the reason, I asked him when we met in school, “Why don’t you come in our bus these days “, He just said me, “ Not just your bus, I don’t come in any bus these days “, and I was just confused ,but he wasn’t standing there for any of my questions. I was sad , more than sad I was curious, what was he doing??, We met again the next day, this time, I held his hands, I wouldn’t let him go, unless he would say me what it was , I had this bad attitude of not being able to handle avoidance, and this was a shocker for my life, it was the first exposure to what life actually looked like, how does life feel when you have to go through things that he was going through, His dad worked as a sculptor, and they earn decently well enough, But this man was a different story, he had all the habits that would ruin a normal family, he used to drink a lot, smoked, had seen another lady, left the house, not before tormenting and physically abusing his wife, and son. I was feeling bad, I shouldn’t have asked him, But wait, that was not all, now his mom was sick, she wouldn’t earn , that was the reason for him walking to school, than coming in a bus, luckily our school by then was running a no loss no profit midday meal ,and some 10-20 financially very poor got free midday meals, We could donate more money , I started giving 50 rupees more a month ,it wasn’t a big amount, not even the amount that buys you a day’s food, it would just satisfy me. Well, that was not all; he said he wouldn’t come to school if same was the case for another 15 days. I felt bad, it was a decision which could cost him his future, I thought I would convince him, I told him “ Ask some relatives of yours for help, ask someone whom you know, I can’t help much , but I could ask my parents, I am not sure if they would do help, but I will ask…
He listened to me and said, “ I told you all these because you are my friend, not because I expected you to do something, and as far as relatives are concerned, I am not asking them either. I may be having problems, that doesn’t mean I need sympathy. I will see what to do, we will not talk about this anymore”. He suddenly sounded too mature for me, situations had made him mature I feel, and yeah, expecting something wonderful to happen?? Nothing really happened, and he was out of schools in 15 days, news that he was found sitting in a temple premises for 2 days, news that he was working somewhere was the only thing I heard about him, didn’t know if he was able to take care of his mom.
Well not very late, I saw him again after 4 years. I was doing my engineering, I met him again in a bus journey coincidentally. But he looked good, he had worn something good. We both recognized each other, I greeted him, and he greeted me. He said me that he worked in Mumbai. And I asked him, “What about mom?” “She is in the home, She‘s fine now,” I felt good, He asked me what was I doing. He said me, “They say you guys earn a lot, when you have your jobs, is it so??” I said, “Yes, most of us do, depends on luck too, dude.” He said me, “Well when you earn much if you see me some day just speak to me. I will tell all my friends about you.” I said, “Sure dude, come on I am the same old friend of yours. “
But trust me, I don’t really know, if I still have those attributes in me to be called as a friend, I even today feel that I could have done something better, maybe I should have spoken to someone, said someone about him, he would have had a better future, at least good education, that question of, “You guys earn too much, don’t you?”, haunts me. Was it just a question, was it an expectation, he didn’t want something for himself. But I guess he didn’t want someone else in his position, I am capable of sharing it now, well does it reduce my guilt, I don’t know, I have grown beyond that emotional character these days.
But wait I see you guys as my reflections, we all were gifted ones. We read this today in our mobiles tabs, computers, we write blogs, we enjoy being exposed to limelight, we say we make our parents proud, having an offer letter and a fat pay check from some firm. But I believe guys like him are the ones who make their parents happier.
I still feel a glitch when I go out to malls, when I pay 200 bucks for a cup of coffee, when I tip the guy who services my car handsomely, when I buy my new designer clothes, he just comes in front of me, in my thoughts, asking me, “Would that 200 rupee coffee see me home, would it mean my education, was the tip, my ticket to engineering, is this designer wear of yours capable of getting me those 15 days where I battled with myself to choose between education or my mom!!” Well chuck it, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t watch WWE anymore. Neither do I fancy TV. I don’t travel often in busses. But I see him daily, he asks me the same question again, “Would you help me now!! Now you needn’t ask your parents, now you earn, would you help that 15 year old guy, who sought education, would you fight his war, to save his mom, and pursue education.”
I don’t have an answer, do you have one???