From Darkness to Light

I got down from the bus. I have been practicing alighting from a moving bus. Slow moving. Not to worry. It's not as tough as it seemed to me earlier. The shuffle was on and played my current favorite track. Square One by Coldplay from the Album X & Y. Home was a good 10 minutes walk from here and I loved every minute of it, in spite of the heat. I started towards the junction with various thoughts in mind. For starters, I don't like interference. The so called well wishers from all around the world who have nothing to do, whatsoever, with my life. Poking their over sized noses to sniff out something interesting to dwell upon. Don't we all have enough on our heads without worrying about what is happening around? Seriously, who has the time and energy to discuss every mortals' issues! I, for instance, am at work from 7 in the morning to almost 5. Travel included. So, when I get back home, all I can think of is, good food and good sleep. Sigh. People don't change. I'm so glad for this trend of nuclear families. Fewer folks to bear. Also, lesser burden on the planet. Anyway.

I saw him as I walked towards the adjacent bus stop. He must have been in his 50's. He was confused and muttering to himself, so someone around him would offer help. No one looked in his direction. I went up to him and asked where he wanted to go. He said Egmore and even told me the bus numbers on that route. He had been waiting for nearly an hour and people either overlooked him or gave him wrong directions. I informed him that he was standing at the wrong stop and the buses to Egmore came to the adjacent one. I waited along with him. I asked him if he wanted to sit. He said he was used to working long hours, standing. He didn't like to sit. The frequency of buses seemed to have died down and I wondered if he'd mind taking one of the auto rickshaws or the share autos. He reinstated the common belief that they were not to be trusted, on experience. He even advised me against it, ever.

He used to work in a factory in Ambattur Estate. It suffered losses and was shut down. His supervisor was willing to recommend him to another factory in Coimbatore, because he was such a good employee. But he was hesitant about moving to a different place with family. Then, he insisted that I get moving and not wait so long for him. I assured him that I was in no hurry. What work did I have. He asked me my name. I told, and wondered what he would do with it. Since 'Kadambari' is not too often heard, he asked me to repeat it. So he could remember. He said he prayed everyday so he'd include my name in his prayers from now on. He said people usually never helped him. The bus finally did come and I thought if it would be difficult for him to reach his destination once the sun sets. But well, he lived in a world that was dark. And he had lived his life in darkness. He was probably a better night traveler, than most of us. He was blind. He seemed worn out after years of sufferings and toil. Yet, he was up and running. Providing for his family and trying his best to live a dignified life. He carried a bag slung over his shoulder and a cane. I held him by his arm and directed him inside the bus. He thanked me and smiled. I wonder if he knew what a smile looked like. I couldn't smile then, though. I didn't have to smile back at him. He wouldn't know.

I started walking back, retracing the path. Some song played. I don't remember which one. I increased the volume till I couldn't hear anything. In my head.

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49 comments:

varunshridhar said...

the opening lines that could be seen more as constructs of capitalism got me thinking of something else.

Good deed kaddu. well done. The last time I ever did something as good as this, all the day's tiredness was off my head for bit. call it satisfaction!

Kaddu said...

Oh wow! That was touching! Especially the line "I wonder if he knew what a smile looked like."

I don't hv any words to comment on this one girl! All I can say is... you shud wite more often!

KarSub said...

Very nicely written Kaddu. Reminded me a lot of Asin from Ghajini (I mean that in a nice way, of course).

How come you have yourself, commenting on yourself? Anyways, you should write more often.

Amol Naik said...

Fantabulous....

It is very often that we learn about life from "imperfect" people than "perfect" ones. Great spirit of life, especially people who are too nosy about what they have and don't have.

Well written..Kadambari! Well done..;)

Sumit said...

Kaddu, I'll second your namesake - the other Kaddu on this. You really should write more often. The last few lines were simply haunting.

Kudos!

Nikita said...

even before you mentioned that he was blind, i was already thinking of the many blind students that i have come across on the DU campus. it is a common sight- other students helping them out at the bus-stop, writing their exams or assignments as part of their NSS service hours, recording their chapters n all. It is always a heartening experience to see it happening and humanity is sure not dead.

also, my experience with the blind, now about 4 years, has taught me just one thing- they need facilitators, not helpers. they are perfectly happy in their world, albeit with a lot of struggle and what they appreciate the most is if they are not seen as a handicapped person in need of help, but just another human needing guidance for something that is beyond his control.

a wonderfully written piece :)

Kadambari said...

Varun, I was in the 'capitalist' state of mind. So, it had to start that way. :)

Kaddu, Amol, Sumit. :)

Kartik, I'm not commenting on my own post, dodo! That's Kadambari Singhania who has the same nick name as mine. :P

True Nikita. The mere fact that they come out of their homes is an inspiration. They know they have the capability to achieve what they want. And a little guidance is all they need from us.

pisku said...

Im sure this is a gesture u'll remember for a long long time. A little deed but goes a long long way.
godbless you.

sandeep said...

a very nice thing to do ... and well writen too. most people (including myself) will be reluctant to do something like this. i hope this will serve as an example for all of us

Amal Bose said...

that was a really good deed... n well written too.

muthu said...

wow... you have a very open and a candid manner of writing.... I loved the pace & the flow of the piece....

Atul said...

Hi Kadambari

r u ready for exchanging blogroll links

Kaddu said...

@ "I'm not commenting on my own post, dodo!"
Ha ha ha! This was bound to happen sooner or later! And it's despite the fact that I officially call myself "Kaddu", whereas you use your full first name to blog & comment! Hilarious actually! =))

Mukund said...

Well, as everyone said a brilliant thing to do and also very well written from the start to the finish. Very few would take the pains and do what you did.
Keep it up...

Kokonad said...

This is beautiful... (freaking) awesome. I agree, there is a lot to learn from life and people would be significantly more content if only they'd realize how much they have that others don't. I hope more and more people have encounters such as this, so they put their lives in the right perspective. It will lead to a less materialistic world.
:) And great job with the display picture too!

rads said...

Good job..keep it up :)

Kadambari said...

Pisku, Sandeep, Amal, Muthu, Mukund, Rads. It takes one thought and we all have it in us. :)

Kaddu. Lol! I know! This is going to be funny. Or maybe both of us could officially introduce each other in our blogs. :D

Kokonad. That's exactly my point. It sure did clear my head of all the cobwebs. And for the display pic. :)

Atul. I shall check your blog out.

Kaddu said...

@ "both of us could officially introduce each other in our blogs"

Sounds like a good idea. You're currently located in chennai, aren't u? Let me take a screesnshot of ur blog too... will look good with the post... :-D :-p

Kaddu said...

Done!
Caught in the Tangle of Names!

Choco said...

What a heartwarming account!

And you proved to be a sweetheart in person & not just in your words here.
Keep it up Kaddu!

Ps: Love the new dp :)

Archana said...

Very nice post. It's a rarity to even see someone try and help or let alone acknowledge someone's need for help these days.

It's a very well written post, and that feeling of not being able to hear or recall what song was playing when you walked away...that was where you had me. Look forward to reading more of your posts. :)

Vyazz said...

Wow....I guess the real problem is that people usually prefer to be nosy rather than help someone with real problems. That was a wonderful thing what u did back there. Frankly the world is too darn crowded and busy to notice another human beings problems.

Kadambari said...

Hey Kaddu! That was fast! I would follow up soon. Sure!

Thanks Choco. And Archana. :)

You're right Vyazz. That was exactly what I was irritated about. Instead of being nosy and a pain, how about directing all the energy into something worthwhile! People could and need to do that.

Pushkar said...

Well done Kadambari, good deeds count. Self satisfaction & the peace of mind they provide is priceless. This is probably one thing that makes my profession stand out. I can recount of many instances during my internship when i helped needy people get through the cumbersome & useless government procedures to get faster & better access to the health care & those moments are indeed my premier achievements in life.

tikulicious said...

very well written Kads ..I do come and read your articles but this time I felt like leaving a comment. you have just voiced my feelings here so beautifully. keep it up girl and hey vote for me i am in final ten :)
http://indusladies.com/partners/poll1.php

Kadambari said...

That's true, Pushkar. The peace of mind makes all the difference!

Thanks Tiku. And I voted for your blog. :)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Wonderful post - well written and so moving.
Corinne

Hemal said...

I keep doing this when ever i come across similar situation. Yes, you get a special feeling when you help a blind. But at times, you need to be careful. Not that am cynical about it, but recently i came across a man who was not blind. But was instead looking for an address i didnt recollected being there. Then he started telling me about where he came from and said that he is a pandit from varanasi and told me that i will pray for you, can you give me five rupees. I wondered and offered him the money and he denied. Told me that i should buy one instead. Then another guy appeared out of no where. And started asking me what was that abt. I smelled a rat. He told me that we should buy him what he asked. He might be a maha purursh. I did not buy it and left that spot.

Kadambari said...

Corinne. :)

That's right Hemal. It's pretty much possible getting duped. I am quite cautious that way. Good you let me know. :)

mixedblessings89 said...

Haha the first para sounds like my inner monologue, or the outer one when I'm complaining to my best friend :P

The rest of it is like wonderful sprinkled on mint and chocochip ice cream.

I'm not just a follower- I'm a fan!

et said...

Whoa you're such a nice cuute fella! :) good of u! god bless..

Aww and kaddu(i mean, the other one!).. i was actually gonna ask u why u having such different profiles.. hilarious!

Simply Ridiculous said...

Well done. You earned something that you will never forget in your life..

Jarlin said...

Good job, Kadambari. This is very touchy and you articulated very well on the capitalist World where the humanity is getting ignored consciously.

Keep writing...looking forward more posts.

Vishal said...

simply great.....
if some one was there on your place may be he/she easily overlooked that person.....
working from 7 to 5 & still have time to think for others.......
isn't it great.....
keep up the great work....

Kadambari said...

Bingo, Mixedblessings! :)

ET, Simply Ridiculous, Jarlin, Vishal. :)

Vishal said...

ohhh..wat u said....
well dear I wanted to say tht some one should do these kind of work so others wil follow them...
After reading this article if someone even think abt what u did and follow u then wat....
of course it is good for humanity.
don't be sure that all people are going to think like u.....
I appreciated wat u did...& lov to follow u....
thnx
Vishal

Shreyans Mehta said...

Very well written... Everyday, lot many people turn a blind eye toward the blind. Makes me wonder who is the blind one...

And needless to say, you did a good thing :)

ssindhuja said...

Beautifully written!

I came here from my sister's blog (Archana). You have a nice place here. I'll be back to read more later. :)

- Sindhu
http://ssindhuja.wordpress.com

Roni said...

This one was great, it touched my heart. I wonder how dignified man he was (Yes he was), In Chennai you people can find a very well physically fit human begging (It’s so sad).
Now i feel that there are people in this world who still have self respect.
Great Job (for helping him, not every one will help others even if they are jobless)

Kadambari said...

That sounds great, Vishal.

Good one, Shreyans. We have correct eyesight but no vision.

Thanks, Sindhuja!

That's true Roni. Perfectly healthy and normal people begging is such common sight all over the country. Self respect is enough to turn them around.

Jairam said...

Am sure someone up there is taking notes of all these kind deeds of yours. Am truly impressed.

Cheers........Jai

Anonymous said...

"...........Thamasoma, Jyothir Gamaya....
........."

Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi

Kiran

Gymnast said...

Reminds of the time i once saw an extremely ragged and very untidy looking old lady on the road who was trying 2 cross the road. She asked me for help , but her raggedness and dirty clothes, sweaty dust laden body was too repulsive for me. I ignored her and walked on , battling with guilt. Two steps and i turned back, held her dirty hands and helped her cross. Her smile was genuine. The incident lead to a lot of introspection and helped me break a few prejudices

Kadambari said...

That's sweet, Jai. I hope 'the one' also helps those who are truly in need.

That's what decided the title of my post, Kiran.

True, Gymanst. All of us do hesitate and shy away. But if that guilt makes us better then, it's all for good!

Carl said...

Hmmm.. i can jus picture Asin n U fighting over the blind man... Very Ghajini-ish :p And yes, very nicely written, a very homely feeling lingers on, something which is kinda rare....

DPhat said...

A modern take on the 'Good Samaritan'

Kudos! \m/ on your good deed and good read :)

Me bloghopped from CurdRice's blog! So hi!!!

Keep the posts coming!
Feel free to drop by mine.

Kadambari said...

Lol! Ghajini had enough fights, Carl! :)

Oh yea! I've seen you around. And I vaguely remember visiting your blog too.. Anyway, shall drop by for a more elaborate visit! :)

sawan said...

u like coldplay?? wow :)

quite a touching post. love ya for wut u are. thts all wut i cud say. u take care dear.

Kadambari said...

I absolutely love Coldplay! And thanks Sawan.

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