Those days I was preparing for Competitive Exams. Dates of application were announced and this was the time when online applications were not in fashion, students had to fill their forms offline and send it through ordinary post to the respective addresses. This was my very first year in Delhi and I was hardly aware of its streets. Shubhi, my hostel mate, was then a 3rd year student at Delhi University and was well aware of the local roads. She suggested me to visit Post office at Delhi University, a 15 minutes’ walk from our hostel. She then guided me the route but later she said that she also had some applications to send and hence we had decided to go together.
Next day as planned we went to the post office and reached here around 11AM. Post office was filled with near about 30-40 people inclusive of its employees. I guess most of visitors were students and university staffs. My all application forms were completed backend and here I just had to weigh the application forms, buy the required tickets and dispatch it through ordinary post. My work was completed and now I was waiting for Shubhi to finish her work. In a while I heard some noise at a distance. I turned around and saw that an old man trying to talk in a group of people. He was looking very ordinary, old, over than his age, he was wearing off-white (More to yellow) Kurta and a Dhoti and had a cotton towel at his shoulders. He had a paper in his hand. I tried to understand what was going on there but later I had lost my interest in the incident. I turned back and was now looking for Shubhi to complete her work fast.
Suddenly a helpless voice comes to my ear "Betiya mera ek kaam kar dogi"(Daughter, will you help me?). I turned back and saw the same old man was standing in front of me in all his dirty and smelly clothes with a paper in his hands. Before I could speak he again pleased me to favor him. I took a breather and asked him what help does he need? He told me that he want to send money order to his wife at village. He was illiterate and so he was looking for any educated person to help him in filling his form. To be honest, I didn’t know how to send money order. I said the same thing to him. He gently said that he knew that and he would help me in filling his form. I smiled and agreed to help him. His name was Shiv Pujan and his wife name was Parvati. After filling the form he asked me to wait for few more minutes till the time this money order thing get done. I agreed to that as I was waiting for Shubhi also. After all when his work was completed he gave blessings to me and above to that he had offered me Rs 10 for my help. I was very surprised with his behavior. I gently said No to him and explained that I have not done anything great for which I should be rewarded. His eyes were filled with tears and with his shaky voice he said that all these people whom he was talking initially were asking him Rs 50 to fill his form. He said that this was only that he could offer but then nobody helped him.
I felt very surprised with his talk and I was speechless. He again insisted me to take his money. I refused it one more time and asked him to forget about the things that happened. He should go and relax. He went and now Shubhi was also done with her work. We came out from the post office where I saw this old man again, he was waiting for us. Yes, he was a Rikshaw Puller, and now he gave me another offer. He asked us to allow him to drop us to our hostel in exchange of no money. Before I could speak Shubhi told him that it is hardly a 15-minute walk, we don't need rikshaw. I looked into his face; it was dark, full of wrinkles more than his age. I was trying to figure out what made him to offer us such a favor, for which he could easily earn Rs 20- 25 for one ride, the money I guess which was his ultimate need. I took a moment and returned to him. I mentioned that he didn't owe anything on me so he didn't have to do this courtesy. He blessed me again and said this was his first experience when he was helped by any person in exchange of nothing. He was not used to of it and so he was in fear of losing something of him and hence he continued to help me in all his manners. I had nothing to comment on his life experience because I knew he was not lying. I just smiled and said that he is free from my debt and for the first time he smiled in this story.
I have brought this story up because this incident showed me the dirty side of so called "educated people". If anyone of us would have been asked that are we educated? The answer would be undefeated "Yes". That old man had also assumed the same thing in post office but I guess he was wrong. He found people who knew reading and writing but certainly were not educated. Moreover he had been asked money in return of help. I am sure people who all were in post office that day might be students, employees, staffs of DU, but no one helped this poor old man. So what if he is in dirty clothes, does he not deserve a genuine help? Why we became so selfish, so insensitive that we cannot see needy over our comfort zone. Why do we educated people always hesitate in giving helping hands? Why this percentage is always minimum? That old man was no matter illiterate but he knew courtesy. He was poor but definitely a self respective person. In our processed lifestyle aren't we loosing self-consciousness, courtesy, responsibility towards our society? Re think.