There is an opportunity at every turn to make a difference
I was on my way to work on my Activa (scooter), overwhelmed by the full size raincoat and the heavy downpour. I had just dropped my son to the crèche in the lane nearby and had braced myself for the 45 minutes rain drenched ride to office. As usual, I was just on time, and if traffic allowed, I would be able to reach office just at the turn of the clock’s menacing hand.
As I rounded the turn, I saw a small figure walking towards me from the center of the road in a school uniform and lugging his school bag twice his size on his frail shoulders. He did not have a raincoat, that’s the first thing I noticed about him and as I moved closer, I saw his face and saw that he was crying silently. As I moved in further, I realized to my shock that he was the son of the crèche lady where my son went – Nalini’s son. I was so shocked, that unbeknownst I braked and almost toppled over. “Omkar!” I said in a concerned and raised voice. “What are you doing here , in the middle of the road?” I did not realize, neither did I care I think at that time, that I was too standing in the middle of the road, which was quite a busy road, more so at that hour – around 11 am in the morning. (I had agreed on a special timing for office as my son was very young).
He didn’t say anything, he couldn’t say anything as he was crying profusely. I came to my senses and pulled my scooter and the kid to the side of the road. I offered him water, which he gratefully devoured (poor kid, his bottle was empty – typically that is how children are, they don’t fill up their water bottle after school is over). Then I waited patiently, till his tears subsided. He told me, “His rickshaw kaka had not come after school and that the school did not allow him to call home, worse is, he did not remember their landline number , and that he, like many other kids, did not have a single paisa on him.” My jaw dropped but I shut it before he could see it. I glanced at my wristwatch, which stared menacingly at me again, I was already well past my official time. I thought for a minute. How do I reach his parents? There were no mobiles at that time, at least I didn’t have one those days; there was no booth close by and in any case we would have had to wait till they came and picked him up.
For a minute I was torn between work hour commitments and the duty of humanity. But when there is a fight between head and heart, my heart always wins. I made up my mind and asked the kid to sit behind me, turned my bike back towards home and went through the rain straight to his house. I dropped the kid in the safe haven of his home, spoke to his parents, who couldn’t thank me enough. I then headed back to office.
I was late to office by 1.5 hours. The manager was a raving demon. I calmly sat in front of her, dripping rain, head held high, chest filled with pride and said, “Kanchan, duty is important, but human duty comes first to me.”
God had given me an opportunity in the lost kid, and I had used it to make a difference to his life, my life and to humanity.