Day before yesterday, as a routine, i took an autorickshaw (3 wheeler public transport that is found in India). Before boarding the rick, the rick-driver demanded Rs. 40 for a distance of less than 4KMS (usually as per the meter charges it is only Rs. 25).
But then i settled in with him for Rs. 30. And the conversation i had with him in the next 15 mins has been on my mind – i am not able to forget it at all.
The conversation goes something like this:
Me: how come you do not have the meter box in your auto? isnt it against the law to drive a rick without the meter box?
He: no madam, i have to give this to the RTO for registration, i got it repaired and all.
Me: oh ok.
He: so, for 2 days i will not have amdani and no money.
Me: oh ok, so you only drive this rick as a part of your living?
He: no madam, i am a driver for a school bus. i dont prefer to loiter around and waste my time, thats why i keep myself busy. when i am not driving the school bus i drive this rick. also the money i get with both is sufficient for me.
Me: (taken aback. hell shocked) aapka soch acha hai bhaiya. sab log aise hi sochte tho kitna improvement hota. – your thinking is good, if everyone had the same thinking as yours, there would have been so much improvement everywhere.
He: woh to hai madam. – That is there, madam.
Me: aap musalmaan ho? Are you a muslim
(i regretted asking this question, i cursed myself for asking such stupid irrevelant questions. I think sometimes i do not think what i ask and i was worried when i asked this question to that guy. my thoughts had gone to such an extent that he would stop his rick and turn back and start swearing at me. i was hell scared how would his reaction would be).
Then i waited paitently for 30 seconds, and apologised for asking his mazab (religion), but then i was totally shocked with his response and this response suprised.
He: haan madam, main musalmaan hoon. nahi madam, aapne galat nahi kiya mere mazab puchkar. is mazab mein kya hai. mazab to khana peena behn ki shaadi ke liye rupai tho nahi dega na. (yes madam i am a muslim. no you dint do anything wrong for asking my religion. what is left out in religion, will it give food and everything and will it help me in getting money for my sister’s marriage?)
He: hum sab ache hi rahte hai, mazab ke naam se pata nahi rajneta log itna danga fasad karte hai. yeh acha nahi hai hamare desh mein. (we all live in harmony, these politicians create all the clashes between religions. if that wasnt there, our country would have been such a nice place to live in, na??)
I was totally shocked and taken aback. I did not know what to tell to this fellow.
Me: aapka soch acha hai bhaiya. kaash sab log aise hi sochen (your thinking is good. wish everyone here has this thinking)
And i thanked myself for asking such a stupid question without which i wouldnt have found out that good people with good thoughts still exist in India.
By this time, i had to get down and I had to my destination and i paid him the money and i got back home with these thoughts in mind…