A short lesson in humanity from a courier boy

K.B. GANAPATHY writes: Reading daily newspapers could ignite many unlikely thoughts in the minds of people who are rather sensitive. I probably belong to this class of people and which is why, I was deeply disturbed reading a news item yesterday titled,

“Techie assaulted for parking bike in front of a house — irked residents pelt stones at house”

If it were not for the photograph accompanying the report, it would not have created any deep feeling in me about the pride and prejudice some people suffer from.

Even hubris.

The incident, as reported, was about an IT professional Pradeep who parked his motorcycle seeking shelter from heavy rains that suddenly overtook him, in front of a house in Srirampura, at about 6 pm on Sunday.

Noticing this, the owner of the building, Srinivas, reportedly objected to the parking and a quarrel ensued, resulting in Pradeep being allegedly assaulted.

The residents in the neighbourhood, who were watching the incident, apparently shocked by the conduct of the owner of the building, began pelting stones at the house, further aggravating the situation. The police were informed and their arrival brought the situation under control.

I held the newspaper in my hand for a while and read out the news to my sons who were having breakfast, more as a lesson in harmonious living in a society than for its significance as an earth-shaking event which it was not anyway.

Then, I told them of the news that appeared in Star of Mysore almost a year ago, just to impress upon them the contrast between good and bad in human behaviour during a given situation.

The news was about the former RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan who went missing in our City and was later found.

Sudarshan, 81 years old then, had come to Mysore on a short visit to his brother’s house in Nazarbad. He had left the house early morning for his regular stroll that day. However, he did not return home as expected as he had not only lost his way back home, but was also unable to use his cell phone, which he had left behind.

Sudarshan by then had walked about 6 kms and found himself in Naidunagar. Helpless, he approached a youth who was watering the garden in front of his house and asked for water to drink.

Now look at the civility and nobility of that youth Ashok, 25 years old, working as a courier delivery man, in contrast to Srinivas, who picked up a quarrel with the IT professional Pradeep, who too was in distress of a different kind and sought refuge under the roof of Srinivas’ house.

Ashok did not refuse to give water like Srinivas who refused to give refuge. He took the old man inside his humble abode, offered him a seat and gave him not a glass of water but a glass of butter milk to drink. He even offered Sudarshan breakfast, which the latter refused saying he would have breakfast only after bath.

More importantly, Ashok did all these, not knowing who that old man was. For him it was helping an old man. That is all.

It was only when Ashok switched on the fan and TV that he came to know that the old man sitting in front of him was a VVIP and a Police search was already launched to find his whereabouts. It was only then that Ashok went to the police commissioner and informed about Sudarshan being in his house safe and relaxing.

In my younger days in Pune, a city prone to frequent rains like in Bangalore, I was using Ideal Jawa motorcycle for my transport. As a result, there were many occasions when I had to face sudden pouring of rains, forcing me to nearby houses seeking shelter like the IT professional Pradeep.

No one ever drove me away or quarreled with me like it happened last Sunday at Srirampura. In fact, I still remember one house on Ganesh Khindi road, where I sought shelter. This house happened to belong to a Sindhi family.

I had parked the bike and I had taken shelter under the outer roof, waiting for the rain to abate. Suddenly I see one young boy approaching me with a glass of water which left me wondering then, and on occasions like this remember the gesture of that young boy as nothing less than divine. So was the gesture of Ashok.

Alas! Where has divinity disappeared from this mortal man!!

(K.B. Ganapathy is the editor-in-chief of Star of Mysore, where an expanded version of this piece appeared)