“Excuse me Ma’m” said he
“Yes?” I asked, a little angrily.
”Can I talk to you for a couple of minutes, please?” He asked
“Sure!” said I in an indifferent tone.
“Can you lend me two dollars please? My wallet got stolen, and I’ve no money to get home. If you manage to lend me two dollars or even one, it would help me buy my ticket to get home” said he in a pleading voice.
“I’m sorry” I replied. “I only have a twenty dollar bill”.
“Thats okay Ma’m!” said he with a smile . “Have a nice evening!!”
As I headed home that evening, I kept wondering if I should’ve helped him out. My heart kept telling me that I should have. He was a genuine man. My brain kept denying this. It kept admonishing the heart for having faith in the words of an absolute stranger whom I knew nothing of. The battle between heart and brain went on all night.
As is customary, I forgot what happened over the next few days. Life moved on at quite a fast pace.
Then one morning , about a month later, Karma struck. I was running late. While checking out from the BART station, I realized that I was one and a half dollars short, and I had to recharge. I hurried over to the automatic ticket machine, and fumbled around in the compartment of my handbag where I kept my wallet. No wallet was there. Looking back, I saw two angry looking, impatient people waiting in line. I stepped aside and continued to search. I looked through all compartments of the bag . Then, I realized that I had forgotten to carry my wallet.
Chiding myself, I decided to call my roommate, who was at work by then. I now started searching for my phone. I checked all of my jacket pockets in vain. Then started fumbling around again nervously in my bag. I had forgotten to carry my phone as well. I didn’t remember any of my colleagues’ numbers. There was no way I could reach out to anyone at work for help.
Quickly, I started thinking of ways to get out of the mess I had landed myself into. I could sing by the platform to attract attention. No, that would surely make people run after me with shoes in their hands. Not a good option. Maybe I should just pretend to faint so that someone would carry me out. But what would I tell people when I opened my eyes? That was not a good option either.
I saw no other option. I had to start approaching passers by and asking them for money. I was lost for a while. That moment, I remembered the stranger whom I had given the cold shoulder to the other day. I couldn’t help wondering if he reached his home safe. For one moment, I felt like a beggar, and started pitying myself. I felt like all this was happening just because I said “No” to someone in need.
One look at the time told me I was running more late than ever for a meeting I had to attend at work. If I didn’t get myself out of this situation NOW, I would have to face the wrath of an angry boss that day (Since it was a Monday morning, that sure wasn’t something I really wanted to risk !! 🙂 ) .
As I mustered the courage to start asking (or rather, begging) for money, A lady walked up to me and asked “How much money do you need to recharge ?” “One and a half dollars!” Said I. She brought out all the change she had, and I was out in less than five minutes. She was like a angel to me . I took out a piece of paper, and asked her for her phone number , so that I could return her money the next day. In reply to my request, she said – “No, don’t do that. If you’re really thankful to me for having helped you out, please do me a favour. If you ever see anyone in a similar situation, please help them out like I did today . ”
Words failed me then . I promised her of my best services to anyone I come across in a similar situation, and we parted ways with a smile.
Today, I often laugh at the absent mindedness that got me into such a mess on that fateful morning in the year of 2009. After that day, I’ve always tried my best to think from the shoes of the people in front of me, especially when they’re reaching out for help. I do what little I can to help them, or at least hear them out before stopping them mid way. It has become quite common in Bangalore to run into someone who says that theyr’e from the North of India, they’ve lost all their money and need to buy tickets to get home. Whether they do it for money, or their stories are genuine, I don’t know. I have no way of finding out either. But I do what little I can to help. I don’t want to risk being “Karma struck” again !! 🙂
It’s probably true that Karma has her own ways of “getting back at you” . ( I think ‘She’ goes better with the word Karma than ‘He’ or ‘It’). If she throws a situation at you, its upto you to rise up to it, face the situation, learn your lessons and move on !! Like some one said – “The show must go on !” Think about it, It really doesn’t make sense to keep wondering , lamenting and crying about why you landed into a mess instead of thinking of ways to come out of it . You’re probably blessed that Karma chose you instead of choosing someone else from amongst the millions of people occupying the planet to throw this situation at !! 😉