The cars were honking on the road one morning as I made my way to the park, drivers in trucks had their heads out yelling, and motorcyclists worried expressions behind their visors as they looked ahead to see a jam.
I walked on ahead and soon found the culprit; a little auto-rickshaw that had got stuck in the middle of the road. There were beads of perspiration on the driver’s face as he pulled the starter handle up, again and again and again; nothing happened, “No petrol,” I thought to myself, then found myself getting furious, “Why doesn’t he move his rickshaw to the side!” I thought, so did all the others who honked and yelled and cursed.
He got up wearily, and the passenger in the rickshaw got out; a young man, white shirt, tie and button-down collar, who was on his mobile as he stood by the stalled vehicle and watched the driver try to push it uphill and to the side. “Lazy guy!” I said aloud.
“Who?” asked the man next to me.
“That youngster with the phone, can’t he lend a helping hand?”
“And spoil his shirt?”
“Yeah!” I said, “They don’t know to help, only to make money!”
We watched as the poor driver heaved and pushed his stalled vehicle to the side, we watched as cars, buses and trucks went past cursing the poor man and as the passenger on the phone took another rickshaw and was off.
“Couldn’t even help the poor driver!” I muttered as the rickshaw he had got into passed me.
“Spoilt young brat!” said the man next to me.
“Yeah!” I said shaking a fist at the passing young man.
The rickshaw driver was trying to remove the spark plug, “Stupid passenger!” I said to him, “He couldn’t help you!”
The rickshaw driver slowly got up from his crouched position next to his broken-down rickshaw, “Sir,” he asked, “Did you?”
I looked at him guiltily, looked away and walked away fast, angrily and then slowed down as I entered the park, “Did I?”
What had I been doing as the traffic jam took place? How had I helped ease the problem? Did I help the poor man push his rickshaw?
Oh yes, I’d done my bit, with my mouth hadn’t I? Called him stupid, called his passenger a spoilt brat, even shook my fist at him!
But narry a muscle had I moved to solve the problem.
I think of that rickshaw driver often and think of the many times I criticize country, church, friends or family, but do I ever lend a hand to help?
And I shudder with guilt as I hear him asking, “Sir, Did you?”
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