I started for the office early morning and found that I had a flat tyre. I was not so pleased with the turn of the events. But then, what started out as a misfortune turned out to be a great learning experience for me. Not that I learnt something new, I reiterated the learnings which are engraved over time.
Meeting with a flat tyre is a situation many office goers dread of. I am certainly one of them. For me, the most frustrating thing about the whole situation is, I have to push my two wheeler all the way to the garage.
The thing that adds more to the discomfort is, most of the garages do not open early morning. And, more often than not, one has to do the bike pushing exercise for longer than expected.
After pushing bike for half a mile, I finally reached to the garage which was actually open. When I reached to the garage I was suddenly sad because the owner of the small repair garage was pulling down the shutter. It appeared that he was closing for the day. The first thought that appeared to me was, I probably should take a leave from office for the day.
As a final reaort I requested him to do the repair work.
“I am closing the garage for two hours.” The lean looking garage owner said. His eyes were swollen and red. His voice was weak. He later informed me that he was 48 years old. “I have got a fever since last 2 days. Last night I had been tossing and turning in bed whole night. The cold had entered me like a ghost. I have to go early otherwise there will be a long queue in the government hospital.”
I really felt pity for him. But I requested him nevertheless. To my surprise he pulled the shutter open. And began working.
“So kind of you to do the work in spite of ill health.” I said. What he replied had a great meaning in it.
“I am not doing this for kindness sir. I am doing this for money. I have been struggling for every single penny my whole life. It’s a very small work I am doing in illness. You might be surprised to hear this. I have dug trenches for days in such health situations. I have lifted loads; I have worked in construction sites; I have worked on rail tracks.”
For a moment I felt like I was tormenting him. I felt guilty. I did not speak much. I hate gloomy situations like this in which I seem to run out of words to speak.
When the garage owner was done with separating the tyre. His daughter returned. She wore a khaki school dress.
He was a proud father. He asked her what was taught in the tuitions that day. The little girl replied that she had some doubts.
“Sir, can you teach this small concept of my daughter.” The owner requested me very humbly. “I went to the school for only 3 days. In my childhood days, teachers punished with canes. I was so intimidated that I stopped going to school. Now I understand that it’s the reason I am in this situation.” He went on to explain how his contemporaries had been successful and happy.
I explained the concept to his daughter he spoke his heart out.
“I have done three mistakes in my life. First, I disregarded education. Now I am very particular about my daughter’s education. Second, In my youth I worked a lot and earned good money, but I did not know how to save money for future. And now, I have to work for survival even when I am ill. Last year a person from insurance company explained to me that if I had saved only 10 Rupees every day since my youth, I would have been a millionaire now. But I never paid any attention to it. But I am changing now. I have started saving for my daughter’s education and future. I deposit 1000 Rupees each month. Third, only last year I started this shop, otherwise I was working on wages my whole life. It was only after the person from insurance company opened my eyes. I know its late but I am happy that I have atleast began.”
When he concluded, there was a faint shine in his eyes.
The incident is self explanatory. Let me know your views on it.