Pursuit of 'Alive'ness

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | |

Date- 25th Jan 2009
Day - Sunday
Time- Around 4.30 in the evening
Place- Bus Station,Koyambedu,Chennai

I was on my lonely excursion to Central-Northern Tamil Nadu which included former French colony Pondicherry. This trip was good as It went as per my planned schedule. Exciting thing happened in trip was I picked up every possible transport in India to travel. Now the final destination is back home (Bangalore).I decided to take city bus to Chennai via ECR (East Coast Road) and then Volvo to Bangalore.

As usual, I was pretty early to reach the place. I hardly know anybody in Chennai and almost 4 hours left to start the journey. So, I started reading then newly bought book, Mr.Tarun Tejpal's ' The Story of my Assassins’. I had read his ‘The Alchemy of Desire’ which I thought a really a nice book. I had just finished 6 pages, by then an elderly,well dressed gentleman who was in his late 60s came and sat next to me. I do have a habit of dragging strangers to conversation whenever I meet them while travelling. But, this time I was so engrossed with the book that for few minutes I didn’t realize who is sitting next to me in that iron bench. While turning pages, I just looked at the person sitting next to me and just smiled. Later I was back into reading. Few minutes Later… [Conversation was in English]

He: What book is this, [a quick question from that person with a smile on his face]
I said, it’s a novel

He: Oh ok. Novel? Very good. So you read novels haan?
I said, Yeah, I do

He: By the way, I'm MR...[I think the name is not important here] A retired teacher
Myself: Hello, I'm Manoj, I work for software company in Bangalore

He: Oh! Thats very nice. Who is this author?
Myself: Tarun Tejpal

He: Famous writer?
Myself: Yeah! he is the editor of Weekly magazine Tahelka .You must've heard about him.

He: Oh! No..I dont
Myself: Ok [I smiled; I was desperate to read the book, I was not really interested in conversation]

He: So, You are software engineer haan? You must be earning a lot then. Right Mr.manoj?

[Now that’s embarrassing. I always hated when people asked how much you earn or anything related to it. I always thought, its not how much you earn, its at the end of the day how much you save..anyways]

I just smiled and said nothing much! But its ok..,I can live

He: I know you must be earning a lot.
[I didn’t answer]

He picked some other general things and obligated me to talk. At one point of time..

He: I'm going to 'this’'[let me not mention it here] particular hospital to see my daughter. She is sick and in very serious condition. Few lacs spent on her treatment. I’m totally broke now. There is not much facility for poor people from govt.

I just looked at him. I didn’t know what to say.

He: Now I'm going to 'this' particular place and I'm short of money. Could you please give me some money Mr.Manoj?

I realized that 40 mins longer conversation has come to its end.

I told him, Sir, You said you are retired teacher, I respect you But, this is neither expected nor excusable. There must be some other way to earn money or arrange it.

It was clearly visible that he was hurt. He tried to convince me but I was unaffected for a long time. It was not that I never wanted to help him. But, the situation where you are pushed at that time is what hurts you. Later I did give him some money and he left the place. Myself or most of us never asked where the money goes when we donate a part of our earnings towards any NGOs.It may be there source of living. But, we still believe that it reaches to the concerned people.

We live in a country which has rich powerful barons, lower middle cast colonial which is further divided into communities. We have been dealing with the statuses,prestiges etc.Its not that we are facing financial crisis, Its about transparency. ‘Aam aadmi' hardly understand the 'percentage' growth which are spoken by Finance minister or any Economical Analyst. He is just bothered about his daily bread. Its not that we don’t have opportunity, it’s about how well we use it. We have more resources than any other country in the world. But, how well we are using it? At individual level, Its not about how we live here, It’s about how honest we are.

The person I met might be saying the truth, but, how can I trust him? I agree when a person keeps his self-respect on stake, you got to believe. I did. I may acted stupid, but there is no justification for everything you do. I always believed that life is a journey, its a search and we all search for happiness. Some times, its just a pursuit of 'alive'ness!


Venkatesh said...

It's a nice blog........

Its a very odd situation. Now a days people try all easy steps to get money, gone are the days where people used to feel ashamed in begging(that's what i call when a stranger demands for money).

Ajan said...

Many of us come across situations like this.

Mani Kumar Adari said...

Yes Manoj, i truly agree with you. I faced lot of situations and helped lot of people like this. When i see the money is used for drinking once, i bursted in tears. What else i can do. I hate drinking which spoiled lot of good families in my village.

Manoj said...


I agree with you.. thanks for the comment :)

@Ajan. Yes bro!


Of course!We really cant help some times!

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