I was dancing around the trees and sprinkling water from the river on to the goats and cows grazing in the nearby fields. How beautifully I was singing Chinna Chinna Aasai Siragadikkum Aasai! (Click on the song to view and listen to it. One of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard and equally beautifully picturised.)
Cock A Doodle Doo, Cock A Doodle Doo…
I rubbed my eyes because I had not seen any rooster around and was wondering where the sound came from. Right then it went again…
Cock A Doodle Doo, Cock A Doodle Doo…
And now I got startled and got up from the bed only to realize that I was singing and dancing in my dreams and the rooster was crowing from no other place than the alarm clock sitting and staring at me on the side table.
Dreams and movies can be so misleading. I’m not even a bathroom singer and there I was competing to be Chitra in my dreams.
10 ‘o’ clock!!! I’m late.
I rushed and got ready in a fast-track mode and rushed out of my house. The hot Idlis and Sambhar that Amma had left on the dining table had their jaws dropped as I ignored them and got out of the house.
It was Sunday morning and my parents as usual were on their pilgrimage visit around the city to the South-Indian temples. Hard core Iyer couple they are. The cooperative bank in our locality was open only for half a day. I rushed as it remains closed on Monday. I had woken up just in time to reach the bank before it shuts in another hour for public transactions.
I had cleared the entrance and the group discussion to one of the premier technological universities of the country and now it was time to submit the fees. Monday was the last date. It indeed sounded funny that the A category technological university of the country required us to submit our fees in the form of a demand draft along with a hard-copy form. Isn’t that putting technology to shame? A university which offers advanced courses in technology for which students throng from all corners of the world was sticking to the age old tradition of fully filled and attested form and a DD.
I was climbing up the stairs to the bank thinking of this and smiling to myself. As I entered the bank I saw an old lady walking from one person to another with a slip. Just like human tendency nothing of this sort can have my attention for long. So there I was filling up the Demand Draft form and I hear this.
“Kahaan kahaan se uth ke aa jaate hain? Likhna padna nahi aata to kisne bola that ki sarkari bank mein khaata khulvao? Subah subah time kharaab kar rahi hai budiya. Chalo hatto yahaan se…“
“Don’t know from where all these people come? If you don’t know how to read and write, who asked you to open an account in a nationalized bank? Wasting my time early in the morning this old lady. Move from here now…“
Now that was nothing short of a saas-bahu serial that keeps Amma hooked on to the television almost on all evenings. I looked toward that direction and saw a very well-dressed young chap was speaking so rudely to this visibly 70+ lady dressed up in a saree torn at various places. The old lady moved away from there without a single word. I saw the embarassment on her face which was getting all red and I could feel them getting warmer and how hard she was trying to hide it. For a few seconds I chewed on my lips and tried to control myself. But I lost it. The young blood in me started boiling and I headed towards this chap.
ME: “You look like a well-educated man. Are you?”
CHAP : “Yes. Of course! But why does that bother you?”
ME: “Which school did you graduate from? Do you have anyone back home to call as yourself or are you an orphan? I mean any buddha-budiya who has brought you up?”
CHAP: “What the hell? Who are you to ask me such questions? Mind your own business.”
ME: “I was minding my own business. But your behavior towards this old lady is what has brought me here. If you have any sense of what you’ve done, say sorry to her.”
Stubborn and arrogant that he was, he simply stared at me as if he was going to gobble me up. He stamped his foot a few times and walked out as the entire crowd around looked on. I went up to the lady and understood that she had come to withdraw Rs.1500 and was asking for help in filling up the pay-in slip as she did not know how to read and write. But apparently in that crowded bank with at least 80-90 people, there was no one who could help her fill the form. On a Sunday morning people were so busy that they didn’t have 2-3 minutes to spare for that shabbily dressed woman. And this ‘gentleman’ had all the time and the manners to disregard her and shout at her for no fault. When I offered help and started filling up the form, she informed me that the money was her husband’s pension with which she survives. After handing over the filled up form to her, I got busy with the DD form submission and then I was sitting on one of the chairs waiting to receive the DD. This is when I saw the lady coming up to me smiling all the way. She touched my forehead and with her toothless smile she said, “Sukhi raho beta! Jeete raho!”
The twinkle in her eyes were much more worthier than the 2-3 minutes.
The idlis and sambhar though not hot at all tasted exceptionally tastier that day. And now I understand why Amma says, “A good deed is never lost.“
“Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.”
~ Jesse Jackson
This is a fictional piece based on a true incident.
This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Cringe-worthy: Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone else being embarrassed? What’s most likely to make you squirm?“