Monday, October 12, 2009

I, Dehati

Is it that one can take the woman out of sawantwadi, but not sawantwadi out of the woman? Or is it, as i like to think, that I wear a gaia-like, Mother nature-ish aura? whatever the reason, there is something about me that makes Delhi-ites think 'village'.

And I dont mean this in a bad way. On the contrary, these interactions have left me with a warm and fuzzy glow of content.

The last time I visited Delhi, I was wandering through various government offices trying to get them to cough up data (hah!). At the Krishi Bhavan, the chaps behind the desk suggested that I visit PUSA. Well, I would be glad to, but where is it?
"Ah, you are not from here?"
"No, I have come here from Dehradun."
"are you alone? have you come with someone?"
"Yes. No."
"hmmm"
After this, they proceeded to give me detailed instructions of how to get there. And what I loved is that the instructions included tips on using the Metro.
"The station is underground, but you will see stairs and a sign. The metro is like a train and you need to buy tickets for that. Don't be scared, it is well signposted, and if you get lost, ask someone. People will be happy to help."

I did not disillusion the man, and thanked him for his help. And I was grateful- for the spirit behind the instructions, rather than the actual help they were.

This time around too, I had a similar country-bumpkin experience. I received help, was grateful for the help, the spirit that moved it, and the utter grace with which it was given.

I took the bus to Defence colony and needed to cross the Ring road to get where I wanted. And that seemed close to impossible. While I was standing by the side, being buffeted by the slip streams of the vehicles, I was joined by two construction workers, probably Bihari from the accent. Is there a pedestrian crossing, I asked them. "Nahin, behenji."

I resigned  myself to standing there for all eternity when the man I spoke with moved around me so that he was now on the traffic side. While his friend zipped across, he waited till there was an appreciable gap and then crossed. I of course, crossed with him. On the divider, he moved around so that he was again on the traffic side and waited till I could safely cross. Once we were on the other side, he smiled shyly at my 'dhanyawaad' and went his own way. I thanked him, of course, but I couldn't thank him enough.

Like the autowallah I had mentioned earlier, the utter elegance with which help was given is something worth learning, is it not?

1 comment:

meg said...

yes elegance - all kindness should be felt at that level - or in that way