Life is full of surprises, there are some that touch you and a few that might even move you. They fill you with hope and even if you have encountered bad incidents in the past, such incidents boost positivity not only in the present but also for the future. I came across one such person when I was in Noida. I lived in sector 55 and every Sunday there is a farmer’s market, locally known as mandi. Me and my wife both went to do our weekly groceries there. It’s like a little fair on the road every Sunday evening where one can find all types of hawkers and vendors. Though it is a vegetable market but you will find all elements of a typical fair covering every nook and corner. What irritated me that time was the presence of beggars and some vendors who sold bad or overcharged products to innocent customers. I often ended up cursing the lack of honesty in our country.
One Sunday I went alone and I took rickshaw to come back home. There are many rickshaw-pullers lined on the end of the vegetable stalls but they have some association and overcharge customers. So, I walked a bit and found one rickshaw-puller standing alone at a distance. I had poly bags in both my hands and they were very heavy. That day I forgot to bring the grocery bag and it was becoming rather difficult to manage so many poly bags. I waved him and he came to me. I told him my address and asked him the fare. He quoted the regular fare and I sat on the rickshaw.
When he started, I observed something strange. I looked closely and he had some sort of a wooden stick on left leg and he was maneuvering it to move the rickshaw. It took me a while to figure out that he didn’t have half of the left leg. I was taken aback. I asked him how he was doing it. He narrated me the whole story – he was 27 year old who had two sisters back home and he came to NCR to earn money so he could save enough to marry them off. He did many jobs before starting as a rickshaw-puller but nothing turned out to be lucrative enough to save enough money to take care of his responsibilities. So, he saved some money and invested in a rickshaw and modified it to suit his special needs. It was not easy, he said. He practiced a lot before starting to operate on the road. There was pride in his voice. He told me that there are many who avoid him but there are a larger group of customers who encourage him. When I reached home I gave him the fare and a hundred rupees extra, but he refused to take anything above the normal fare. He said many offer him monetary help but he didn’t want help, he wanted to earn every single penny. I chatted with him for sometime and I convinced him to take hundred rupees and think of it as shagun for his sister’s wedding. He took it after a lot of convincing. I told him that he inspired me and he is a source of inspiration for many out there.
That evening brought so many emotions – I was inspired, moved, but most importantly, I was filled with hope that there is a better future for our country. Men like him bring happy and constructive changes to the society. I salute him, and may such people fly high and chase their dreams.