It was Neetu and her friend Baiju. Everything around them was filled with love and laughter. They were inseparable. They never made any plan but were always found wandering together. Life was one roller coaster ride for them. They shared almost all interests, choices and nothing really ever came between them. Still they were unique in their own ways. Neetu was more outgoing and adventurous whereas Baiju was the serious one. Probably these difference in their personalities complemented them even better. They had know each other for the longest time, but the most surprising thing was they had started hanging together only since a year. But that didn’t reflect in their friendship.
It was an afternoon, nothing special and different from any other day. Like always the sun, heat or crowd really didn’t make much of a difference for them. They were sitting in the college library and had spontaneously planned to go for a movie. They never wasted time in panning. They had an idea and were in the move in no time. They were near the movie hall in time. Those were the good old days of single screen cinemas, the multiplexes hadn’t arrived. But being students they always had this little crunch for cash. So they planned to stuff their growling tummies before the movie began. They went across the street to get some Wada-Pav (this one rules the taste buds and heart of every hungry and cash crunched Mumbaikar). While Baiju waited outside, Neetu venture inside the shop to buy their meal.
She placed order and waited to be served with hot piping delicacies. Soon a broken tired voice interrupted. It was an young man who looked old. He was in dirty clothes. From his attire it was very much clear he was either a truck driver or a cleaner. He stretched his hand out and handed over a one rupee coin to the Shopkeeper and slowly murmured “Ek Wada-Pav”.
Shopkeeper without paying much attention gave it back to him, “ itane me nahi ata”
He looked hungry and ,Neetu wanted to give him her share. But she didn’t. All of a sudden a thousand thoughts crowded her mind. How can I offer him something that he not able to afford. Would he not feel ashamed to take help from me, would it not downsize him further.
Soon that man was off with whatever that shopkeeper could give him for 1 rupee. The man had vanished from the scene. Neetu could not eat after that. She felt so ashamed for not extending her help to the less fortunate Stranger.
We do all kinds of good deeds for people we know. But it takes a lot of courage to go out and help #the stranger.
This one episode changed forever the way Neetu valued and perceived things. Even to this day she is waiting for one more chance encounter with #the stranger so that she could do what she didn’t last time.