Big people in small towns


Today at registry office I was waiting for my turn. I happened to get face to face with an old man who was holding his Grand daughter just as I was holding my son. The old man was traditionally dressed in dhoti kurta, he must be from a near by village. I was busy noticing the pleasant changes in Raaghav’s facial expression seeing another child when I heard the old man say “dono ki ek hi jaat Hai, Innocence”. It took me a moment to understand the magnanimity of the statement. I was awed; in a town where people complain that caste lines affect everything, there are people with such big heart. 

The same night, i had to travel to Bokaro to join the annual get together of Chinmaya Vidyalaya alumni. Due to lack of reserved ticket, I ended up having to travel in general bogie. Around 2am, while going to the rest room I found a young man cobled up in one corner without any winter wear. After about an hour, he walks over to another end of this bogie, his body shivering wildly, his eyes trying to spot a corner that was comparitively warm. Apparently this bare footed man concluded there was no better place as he sat down in the middle of the walk way and attempted to cover his ears with his shirt. My mind was echoing the several reasons given by well educated people traveling in train with general class ticket to use the sleeper/AC bogie simply because it is crowded, it is cold bla..bla.. ; here this man had all the reasons to walk into the AC bogie, the simplest reason being to save his life, but he chose to suffer in the general compartment. His innocent mind didn’t even imagine the possibility of going to the AC bogie. My mind bowed to the bigness of his innocence. I soon arrested my mind and have him something to cover himself. I noticed my small mind arguing ‘this is the last sweat shirt I’ve from my PhD days in USA, I shouldn’t give this’; ‘my bed sheet is so clean, it will get dirty if I give it to him’; ‘what if I start feeling cold myself as the night deepens’. Anyways, becoming aware of my thoughts was all that was needed to segregate the right from wrong. He is comparitively comfortable now, covered with whatever I had for cold that wasn’t already in use before that moment. Small towns also have big people. 

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