Sometimes in our daily lives, complete strangers cross our paths and leave lasting impressions with their noble and magnanimous acts. I have such instances to share.
A heavy downpour had flooded Kolkata's roads. Trams had stopped plying as the tracks were deep under water. Potholes filled with water posed a fatal danger to those wading through the inundated roads. Thundering buses churned by, cascading enormous volumes of slimy water on both sides, drenching the scurrying pedestrians.
I was about to cross the road when a car cut in towards me with frightening speed. As it came closer, I resigned myself to a muddy shower. But the driver suddenly slowed down and watched me reach the other side undefiled. He smiled and waved before accelerating and disappearing in the traffic. What a fine person! I honour him yet for his consideration.
Another time, coming out of the Telco factory in Jamshedpur, I could not get any transport to my hotel. Menacing clouds started gathering and it seemed about to rain any moment. I walked past the elegant houses on the broad road, impatiently looking for an empty cab. Suddenly a gleaming limousine pulled up beside me in front of an imposing bungalow. At the wheel sat an immaculately dressed Sikh gentleman. I briefly explained my predicament and requested a lift if he was going towards Hotel Nataraj. He raised his eyebrows and seemed to reflect for a moment, with the flicker of a smile. Then, as if on an impulse, he asked me to get in.
The hotel turned out to be much farther than I imagined. But he drove me right up to the gate and I shook his proffered hand. I expected him to keep going but he made a quick U-turn and vanished. Consider my surprise and my gratitude when it became clear that he had actually picked me up right in front of his house where, in fact, he had slowed down to enter. To this day I rue that I could not adequately thank this unknown benefactor.