Chennai, Tamil and an unexpected gesture that restored my faith in human good!
Joy and dismay do travel hand in hand at times or so was my situation when I got my Date-Of-Joining mail from IT major Wipro technologies. The joy obvious was from late-but-timely DOJ(Date of Joining) but shock was regarding the place they had assigned for training — Chennai. The fact that they hate to speak in Hindi, the supposed common denominator across India, made me miserable at first thought. I knew no south Indian language except Kannada and they knew no language that I was fluent in. Complete dead-lock. On the other hand DOJ letter being served just a week before joining left little room for negotiations; with very little to do, I started packing myself for Chennai treat!
Once in city, I was witness for more — with stinky streets, stuffed by-lanes laced with political posters on every new wall and building, my worries tended to rise. Added to it was my language dilemma. Andthen I met this man!
Actually, it was my search from shop to shop, person to person for accommodation which landed me at his grocery shop. With lungi, baniyan and vermilion, he was your typical tamilian who spoke clueless Tamil. I thought he was yet another fellow, who will shoo me away like previous one’s but unlike the rest, he greeted me well and made me feel ease with myself. Language? No, he didn’t knew good Hindi nor I learned Tamil on my way but we both knew one universal language — the sign language and it worked with few bits of Hindi-English! May be for all sweat I had or simply out of compassion, he ringed few numbers, looked like he inquired for my accommodation, handled few customers mid-way and later called one lady behind his shop (probably spouse), asked her to take care of the shop and came where I was standing on street. I thought it was done, he has arranged for my accommodation, may be for some commission or so, which was okay given all the uncertainties I was pitted against in a foreign land. But no, there was something fishy. He came with his bike, asked me to sit for which I silently obliged without asking any questions. And we together set for a tour of nearby. Almost after ten minutes he stopped at some cross, spoke over his phone and again we started for another five minutes. Between all this, my mind was full of suspicion. How much is he going to charge? Will I have to empty my pockets? Where was he going? Kidnap? Between all this racing of murky thoughts in my cerebrum he stopped before a flat; I left a sigh of relief. Another Tamil anna (brother) appeared before us who called me inside his compound and showed me my room-to-be which didn’t quench my parameters and I came out. Outside was this man, still standing by his bike, intact. I was pretty sure by now; he was up for something, may be to empty my pockets. I cried silently for divine intervention! “It is not how I want it, leave me near your shop itself, I will search nearby places”, all in a language of signs and bit of Hindi-English! And thus began another round of talk with air which was racing onto my face with all not-so-appealing smells of the nearby on his bike. This time although, he chose another street only to provide wings to my already thickening doubts regarding his intentions. But when he showed me my office, the route to be and other finer details regarding the city I was about to live in for few more months, my whirling thoughts seemed to rest. But then, what was he all up to? At last when we reached from where we had started, I took my wallet out to pay him for all his priceless help but suddenly, he folded his hands, few lines in Tamil and then in a mix of Hindi-English. “It’s okay saar! You’re welcome. Feel at home.” Dumbstruck. Uneasiness dawned upon me. I was simply getting restless over a man who meant no harm but pure sheer help. God, spare me! A help of few directions too would have meant huge for me in a new city but he had wasted his fuel (You know how costly that is!), time and energy all for a stranger, a stranger who spoke Hindi (Yes, that’s quite a thing here!). Later on I didn’t force him to take money again for that seemed to insult his noble gesture. “Thank you anna, I shall return, return to your shop until I’m here in Chennai to purchase everything I require to”, was all that I could say in return, it was all that I had to offer for his priceless favor. And with a feel of gratitude, surprise and elated heart I began my frantic search for room again, on my own this time. There was little to worry this time around for this was my home. As some great mind put it — the world is my home.
In dark shines the light, in a pool of crowd are few people who restore one’s faith in humanity again and again when it starts to dwindle. It’s people like him who keep lamps of human good shining and lightened forever. Health, wealth and glory be theirs, always, for making us believe in human good, time and again!
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