The Memory Remains
July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
This case has me puzzled, but is a memorable experience of my life in Calcutta. I have traveled in all big cities (and few smaller ones) of India and have had many bad, and a few good experiences while dealing with auto-rickshaws and taxi-drivers. In general, these are the people who literally remain on the road all day long, all days of the week, and depending of the city, they can be normal (like in Mumbai), irritating (like in Chennai) or downright demonic (yes, its Bangalore). In Calcutta, they mostly fall into the normal category. But this guy definitely stood out…
“Aaj main aapse paise nahi lunga”
said the auto-rickshaw driver.
Why? Now everyone out in the street fights for every rupee he thinks he deserves. So, in this crowded and dusty lane, this driver says he will not have it.
It went back to many days ago.
I had had a slight altercation at work that evening and was in a very, very bad mood. I took this share-auto while returning home and sat in the front seat. Now, the space in the front is really cramped and I already had my bag with the heavy laptop in it. I did not want anyone else to sit near me.
While the auto guy insisted that I make space for a new passenger, I told him I would pay for both the seats, I just wanted to sit slightly more comfortably.
The case made business sense for him and he agreed.
But what did not make sense that I paid him even more than that needed for 2 seats, when I got down. I was just hell angry and wanted him to give him more money to mean that he could just go to hell with some more money. I remember him shouting after me to take the rest of it back but I would have none of it, as I turned my back on him and stormed off.
He remembered my face.
So, back to the day when he refused to take money which I would have anyways have given him, he remembers this frustrated customer, remembers that he got paid more than what was right, and comes forward to make sure the equation is balanced.
I did not remember his face. Still don’t. But that day, as he had asked, I did not pay. He retained his honor, and I had an amazing experience.