I had been to my bank just a while before. As I was standing at the counter, a middle-aged man approached me with a Pay-in-slip in his hand and requested me if I could fill it up for him. I was in a hurry… and, I was just one man behind for my turn to come. I felt sympathy to this less privileged man – as far as literacy was concerned – still, at that moment, my focus was never to waste my time and get out of that place. For a fraction of a minute, I was in a fix: “What should I do?”
“Don’t worry,” I told him gently, “I will fill up for you as soon as I am done with my work. Is it okay?”
The man’s face lit up with relief. Just then, I heard another gentleman telling me, “Give here, I will do.”
The man thanked me for my kindness, though I hadn’t actually helped him and went with the Good Samaritan to a corner to get the form filled.
I did not feel the burden of any guilt as I had done from my end what was best possible. Though I was in a hurry, I had decided to help him… It would not have taken more than two to three minutes of mine! So, the gentleman around came to the rescue… and, I felt I too had helped the under-privileged man with my kind words and hope.
Just two days ago, I had been to a court with my advocate. We had to affirm and file an additional affidavit. I had no clue about any such matters: where to affirm or file, how to file, what it signifies etc. Such things, advocates know and, so, we blindly follow them. Each court has a different set up and, my advocate, who too was new to this court, asked the guy who was sitting in his cabin all alone. I learnt that he was called ‘Registrar’.
My advocate asked him, where he could affirm the additional affidavit.
“Not here!” the man, who had no job in his hand, declared without even looking at my advocate.
“Where should I do it, sir?” my advocate asked.
“Ask there,” he pointed to the table outside his cabin.
This man too wasn’t all that busy. When approached, he pointed at the table opposite him, again, without even looking at us.
The lady on the opposite table, even before my advocate opened his mouth shouted, “Vichare”! Her hand was directing us to Vichare whose table was on one end of that room.
Vichare turned out to be a thorough gentleman. He made us sit. The rest my advocate knew… I had to just follow him, sign at three different places… and, leave the court-room premises.
“So indifferent some people can be, “I could not hold back my feelings and told my advocate.
“Don't worry, I am an advocate and this is my routine work… and, yes, I can imagine the plight of a lay person.” He added, “This is how the world works; this is how people behave… and, you need loads of patience to deal with all this.”
“Yes sir, but…” I said.
“Yes sir, but…”
my advocate caught me unawares,
“That is how we argue in the court…
“Yes, correct… Point noted… But…”
The fact that the dead-pan attitude of three souls in that court-office had not affected my advocate was clearly evident. “If you can not help me, that is fine with me, sir; I will move on and find for myself… No issues!” this was how my advocate wanted to go about, not letting these unenthusiastic and indifferent people to rub on his world-view.
I kept quiet. “There is a lesson here, buddy,” I reminded myself as I came back home.
So, today, when this less-fortunate soul in the bank asked me to fill a simple Pay-in-slip for him, the episode at the court-office popped up before my mind. “Help him in whatever way possible,” the voice inside prompted me, “Don’t abuse your privilege.”
Yes, another Good Samaritan had filled the form for the poor man. But, I am glad that I did not shoo him off. I am happy, I had genuinely assured him of my help…
The relief and smile on his face were enough to bring about the same on mine!
Pics.: Anand Pais