Saturday, October 11, 2008

ANGEL IN THE BASEMENT

I am the optimistic sort, the type of person you can easily call foolish, because I believe that most people are either openly good or have a hidden store of goodness locked inside them. It may take a smile, or a listening ear, or sympathy, or praise, to unlock that store.

But I digress. Today I was lucky to encounter a really good person.

For a long time, I had been searching for a navy blue chiffon dupatta (stole worn over a salwar-kameez). Having done the rounds of all the shops and big departmental stores that I know of, I had encountered dozens of shades of blue (royal, ink, sky, powder, and that rather virulent shade called firoza). When I did meet navy blue, it was either in cotton or georgette (which get crushed too easily) or too expensive (BIBA had a gold-dotted navy chiffon at Rs 600 – which would have been way too heavy a burden for my shoulders).

I had gone down to the crowded basement of Gokul Market opposite the cacophonous Borivili Station to buy something else altogether, when a spirit in my feet led me (as the azure-blue loving poet, Shelley, would have put it) to a small hole-in-the-corner shop which sold only dupattas.

I saw navy-blue in cotton. I asked for it in chiffon. The man in the shop showed a brighter blue chiffon dupatta. I asked if a darker one was possibly there. The man said he’d try from some other shop of his, went up the winding, narrow stairs, and came down soon with the exact navy blue chiffon dupatta that my heart had desired for so long so longingly.

Absolutely delighted, I handed over the VERY reasonable sum of Rs 110 (did not even think of bargaining it down to, say, Rs 100). With a heart as light as the chiffon, I floated up to ground and went in search of the tailor the man had told me about to get the edges of the dupatta stitched (“beaded”, as we call it).

As I was waiting in the tailor’s shop, the dupatta-seller came hurrying. “Sister, here is your ten-rupee note. It was lying on the floor of my shop. It must have fallen out of your bag. I guessed you would have come here to stitch the dupatta, so I came hurrying to return the money.”

I was amazed and humbled. This man had come all the way from his shop (quite a long way, actually), jostling past festival-shopping-mad crowds, on the slim chance that I would be still there in the tailor’s shop, just to return a small amount of money! My smile got wider, my steps got lighter and the sun got brighter, all because of this one unselfish act of honesty.

Angels don’t always descend from the heavens, they also emerge from basements. This unlikely angel just made my day.

13 comments:

June Saville said...

A lovely story Sucharita.
In my experience such wonderful people often come from among those who really understand such matters because they have had intimate personal experience of loss.
Hopefully those behind the Wall Street crash may have cause to think again and one day change THEIR ways.
June in Oz

ugich konitari said...

Sucharita,

I absolutely agree. There is so much integrity, in simple folks at times. Its always a pleasure to shop at such places.... and I have often found that they go out of their way to sell their stuff, so as to give you what you are actually searching for....

Mystic Margarita said...

Moments like these make life worth living :) Shubho Bijoya to you and your family :)

The Scatterbrain said...

I know the feeling... Our A/C service person came back to return the change he forgot to give us after having gone halfway across the city!

What do you do in such cases? I wanted to tell him to keep the change, but then giving a man of integrity such a lowly "tip" would be shameful...giving him a reward would be patronising! what to do???

The Scatterbrain said...

oh!!!...scatterbrian me, finally collected her thoughts!!! here's what I could do... I could refer the kindhearted angel to my frinds!!!! and, always call him for all my service needs!

Anil P said...

Reading about the man left a warm feeling in me.

SwAtI said...

Hello my superwoman,

Sorry sorry for dat long break frm ur blog.. i really did miss ur blog.. honest!!

I so love the word 'Angel'.. yeah thank God for all the beautiful Angels in the world.. they make this world a better place to live in... :)

Hope u & ur cute lil daughters r doing well.
Love
Swati

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi june, uk, scatterbrain, anil and swati,

encountering such angels really restores our faith in humanity, especially in these trying times.

Jaquanda Rae said...

Inspiring stuff. Glad I read this pot.

arpita said...

Sucharita, then I must tell you my experience of having met an angel auto driver( some 6yrs back). I was returning from office and took the auto from Gariahat and counted myself lucky to get a corner seat.... took out a tenner from my purse and instead of returning the purse to my handbag put it on my lap.... as is usual for people like me who dream with open eyes.., On reaching my stop (I was the last person to alight), I got down, paid the auto and slinging my bag on my shoulder reached home. The next morning (as was usual) dad dropped me to office. The attendant at my office told me that a man had called up twice since 9 oclock in the morning (it was 9.30 then )asking for me.... I was surprised , the name didnt ring a bell! The call came again... " Madam, I am the driver of the auto you boarded yesterday evening, I found a purse yesterday night, I found your visiting card inside it and hence giving you this call can u pls come and collect it at Gariahat Auto stand, Pls ask for DINU..." Imagine my shock...my mind racing with what all my purse contained..700/- in cash, my PAN card, my savings bank ATM cards with the PINs , my credit cards...????. I dashed to the stand in my R.M's car and found the angel" DINU" standing with the purse in his hand and a wide smile on his face. Everything was untouched, "Madam, dont mind- I had to open the purse to seek some identity...",. I was speechless.Around 10 autodrivers had now formed a circle as appreciative spectators. I thanked him profusely,I hope he read the respect in my eyes...I checked my cards at the ATM (though I knew I didnt need to) and everything was just fine... And since I was (still am) a staunch supporter of the inherent goodness of man(much to the consternation of my Maa!)I stood "divinely" vindicated !!.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi jaquanda,

I know, such people just touch our souls and lift them up.

Hi Arpita,

What a wonderful experience! Such encounters are always so happy-making and hope-inspiring, aren't they?

Mahi S said...

you write really well....lovely blog sucharita..

Mahi S said...

lovely blog sucharita