Last night (29th September 2008) I had a great experience, as I came across a Good Samaritan. It was around 2 am (in that sense it took place today, 30th September 2008), and I was returning to home from office.
So what did he do? Well, first let me give some background.
Last night when my reporting head Mr Abhiram Mishra released me for the day, it was 9 pm. I could have easily caught a bus from the Mathura Road bust stop in front of my office, and come back at my Noida home by at most 10:30 pm. But I tried to act smart. My colleague Sachin was also supposed to go in my route (his home is not far away from mine), and he was going to have the office cab. So I felt it was better to wait for Sachin to be through with his work, and go back home with him in the same cab that had been assigned to him. I asked Sachin how long he would take, and he said it would be at most 1 hour (i.e. 10 pm).
I started waiting, and suddenly I realized that it was already 11 pm. Though I was impatient, that time it was not even possible for me to go by bus, as travelling in bus at that hour is not a safe option in Delhi.
So I continued waiting, now as a compulsion. And it seemed to be unending. From 11 pm it became 12 am, then 12:30 am, and then 1 am. And still Sachin was not through with his work.
Now I was completely at my wit’s end. On one hand I could not wait any more (there were constant calls from my home), and on the other hand I had no other option (as the option of travelling by bus had already got closed).
I was restless, I was excited, I wanted using my entire intelligence (whatever little I have) to dig out a solution, when I suddenly found that my boss Mr Abhiram Mishra was still there in his cabin, busy finishing some work. (Oh, I doubt whether I have ever felt so happy after seeing him). I straightway entered his cabin. Stunned, he asked me why I was still at office. I explained everything, and he said that he would give me a lift (incidentally, he stays near my home) while going back home after around 30 minutes.
And ultimately, it was Mr Mishra who took me in his car, and dropped me at a point near my home while on way to his own home.
Now, the actual drama
My home is just 15 minutes walk from the point where Mr Mishra dropped me. But crossing even that short distance at 2 am (in fact, anytime after 11 pm) is a nightmare for me. Why? Muggers? Ghosts? Nopes. Then? Well, the problem is stray dogs.
Well, you may find it very funny. But honestly, I am terribly afraid of stray dogs. The moment I find a single stray dog in the road I immediately change the route provided I have any alternative. This is even when it is broad daylight (when stray dogs are less tending to be suspicious of passersby) and the road is full of other people (who can ensure that the dog will not have sole attention on me). So you can understand how I felt when I found that I was supposed to pass through a lane which was likely to have a huge number of stray dogs. And moreover the time was late night (when stray dogs tend to be very suspicious of passersby), and there was not a single other person.
And I had no other option. There was another route to go home, but that would make me pass through a similar lane (i.e. full of stray dogs), and would also take more time.
I was wondering what to do, feeling the same helplessness that I was having while waiting for Sachin to get through with his work. I was standing so near my home, and yet ……
The arrival of the Good Samaritan
I was making fruitless effort for mustering courage to proceed, when suddenly a car (a white car the model of which I did not notice) came near that lane, flashing its left indicator that showed that it was going to enter that very lane that I was supposed to enter. I desperately shouted -"Bhaisaab!"
The car stopped, and the driver (the only person in the car) peeped outside through the driving side window. A man in his late 20s or early 30s, the driver was dressed in shabby clothes, and showed every sign of belonging to the so called “lower strata” of the society.
“Will you go this way?”, I asked him desperately.
“Yes, I will. Why?” The man was visibly surprised, understandably.
“Well, actually, I have to go this way. Can you please give me a lift? There are full of stray dogs.”
“Really? Ha ha! OK, get in Sir”.
The man took me inside the car, and entered the lane. We passed through half of the lane, when he said that he would turn left.
“Now I will go left. Where is your home?”
“At the end of this lane.” I said nervously. Then I asked him again, “Can you please drop me at the end of the lane, please?”
“OK, no problem”. The person proceeded again, and dropped me at the entrance of our neighborhood, from where my home is just 5 minutes.
I gave him lots of thanks, and came down from the car, and……
A group of stray dogs are standing there, looking at me with ferocious (so it appeared to me) eyes. And within seconds they started barking.
I had just turned into a statue. I knew that now I could not even ask the person to give me further lift in his car, as there was a huge iron gate at the entrance of our neighborhood. This gate is kept open throughout the day, and is shut down after 11 pm by the local guards.
I was almost in tears, when the man came down from the car and stood beside me. “Come, I will help you”. He held my hand, and started escorting me through that small army of dogs. And what surprised me was that the dogs immediately stopped barking – let alone charging us - the moment the guy came down and accompanied me.
The guy escorted me for almost the entire distance that remained, when there appeared a night guard.
The guy requested him to accompany me for the rest of the road (only few steps were remaining), and now said good bye.
“You are really great!” My voice was chocked with gratitude. “I will never forget your help”.
“Ha ha, it is OK. It is perfectly OK. Good night!” The man turned round, and left.
The guard accompanied me to the gate of my building, and I finally entered home after a memorable day (or shall I say night?).
The final conclusion – the world is not that bad as we often feel it to be
I am genuinely touched by the gesture of that person, who was in every sense a so called ordinary person with very ordinary life and habits. His appearance and way of speaking made it very clear that he was either a driver or a car mechanic or something like that, and by all means not very educated.
But the man has humanity. He did not hesitate to stop his car to respond to my call, though it was 2 am, and the road was completely empty (I myself would not have stopped probably). And he also gave me a lift, and even took the trouble of escorting me through those stray dogs.
I do not know his name. I do not even properly remember his face (I was too excited to notice it properly). But I will always remember the way he helped me at the time of my need. I accept that the situation might not be that serious for everybody. I know that a lot of people would have easily reached home without bothering about the stray dogs. But that is a different issue. It was a serious problem for me, and he helped me at that time.
29th September 2008 (officially 30th September, as it was 2 am). I will always remember the date. No, not because of this so called nocturnal adventure. But because on this day I have met somebody from a rare species, the species we have termed as “Good Samaritans”.