Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lesson learnt from a ….

It was a regular summer morning in Bengaluru! The kids have been chased to the play ground by their neighbors, the street vendors have finished the early morning sale, the working class has reached their offices and housewives are busy in household tasks.

The heat was unbearable for a typical Bengaluru hudugaru, so most of them like me would have decided to stay indoors , watch the last day test match and then meet their friends in adda after a good afternoon siesta.

The TV was showing the cricket match and I was deeply engrossed into it.
Amma was working in the kitchen and she was shouting for help so that she can finish her tasks and get some sleep. As you know, boys find it harder to lift a 14kg cylinder in kitchen but can carry a 40kg beautiful girl all around the house ;)
So, I was acting deaf to her requests for cutting vegetables or any small task. The cricket match was progressing well and it was getting interesting by every hour. Therefore, the volume of the TV set was on highest level since its always good to see a match with crowd voice and good English commentary! (the present day Hindi commentary in IPL is bad and irritating) and also avoid shouting from the kitchen.

As the match kept progressing, amma almost shouted on her top of the voice. She asked me to check the front yard of our house since she saw some suspicious movement happening.

My house was having 2 vacant plots in our backyard and ragpickers or curious thief looking for stealing petrol from bikes, clothes from ropes etc. were a common sight. So, I headed out from the hall and started looking for suspicious activity in front of my house and in the backyard.
Seeing no person, I came back and started watching the TV again. After few minutes, again my mother started scolding me for sitting in front of TV while some boy is staring at our home.

This time, I was little angry and left the hall unwillingly.  As I reached the compound, I saw a ragpicker sitting in the moori (storm sewer drain). His head was bent down and he a relatively empty rag bag on his shoulders.
Rag pickers roaming around during the morning and late evening are common sight, since the traffic density or people movement are low at that time. It was easier for them to run away from police, if they sight one at times! Nowdays, we don’t see Indian rag pickers; the illegal immigrants have taken over this trade too ;-)

Also, I had seen most of them consuming drugs like the one shown on TV or seen in railway station, bus stops. These kids or teens would take a piece of cotton waste, soak them in kerosene, paint, whitener or any other alcoholic substance and then keep sniffing at that piece for hours. (

This scene was in the backdrop of my mind and I thought that this bugger sitting in the moori next to my house is another drug addict.
As I saw him bending his head down, thoughts ran into my mind.

What if he is consuming drugs here since the regular adda has been busted.

Is he planning to start a new adda near my house?

I shouted to him and asked “Hey, yeno madtha idhya. Hogu illinda”. I didn’t any response and he was in his business as usual. I shouted again and no response.

I imagined how my mother would have felt when I give a blind ear when she is shouting for attention from my end. Keeping that thought aside, I started wondering; what is this guy upto?
I went little closer and shouted again increasing the pitch of my voice.

Again no response, he is carrying on his business!

I thought he might be on a high and therefore not in senses! The next thought came to my mind was, what if he is on high; having some weapons with him and start attacking me if I disturb him!
I wanted to call my mother for help, but my mind said “hey! I am a grown up individual now”.  Let me handle this. Machoism strikes at any time but not at right time :-P
I called out at him again and shouted in even more stronger voice.

Again no response

I decided that it’s time to get physical and let me ask this bugger in the way he understands. In this frame of mind, I gave a hard tap on his head and asked “hey, yeno madtha idya?”
Suddenly, the boy turned his head towards me and had a very surprised look. He looked at me into my eyes and sounded confused. I was also confused for a second.

I shouted again “yeno madtha idya? hogu ! “ I bent down to check, what was he holding in his hands.
Looking at his reaction, I realized that he was deaf and dumb boy
He had never heard to my voice and a sudden hard tap on his head left him surprised and shocked.

All my hormones pumping macho into my muscles stopped working and I was standing there like an idiot; wondering about various thoughts in my mind sometime ago and how I had jumped to conclusions based on visual environment around me.

The boy was having a meal from a packet, probably brought from nearby hotel
He asked in sign language, if he can eat the meal there. Looking at his eyes, hands and face; I found it hard to swallow my own saliva since I felt choked. I just nodded my head. Immediately, he smiled back and gestured for some water.
I returned back to the kitchen, told my mother that there is nothing to worry about and brought a glass of water.

I poured the water into the boys hand and he left the place! I came back to my hall and lost interest in watching the rest of the cricket match.

I gave a hard tap on his head, he gave me a smile back!

Was he rich enough to answer my rudeness with a smile or am I starved of ability to see some things and starts jumping into conclusion.

This world which appears like a reality due to the visual communications received to our brain is actually a perception of our experiences. We tend to jump into conclusions, start feeling insecure, frightened even before it happens!

I don’t know If we need to open our eyes and see this world or open our MIND to see this world !

I don’t call that person who opened the mind as ragpicker, beggar or so on.. 

Therefore, the title goes as “Lesson learnt from a …. “


Pradeep MG said...

A touching anecdote Harsha. Nicely narrated. Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

it was a nice article.. indeed, we are losing our humanity. we tend to see everyone with a suspicious eye..
its a reminder for us to treat people with the respect they deserve..