By Neha Gupta Lehl
I was late by 15 minutes for the all-important appointment, and the auto rickshaw dropped me at a spot farther from my intended destination.
Worrying about getting late for my appointment, I was trying to pay the exact fare to the auto rickshaw driver, and getting very frazzled. Rummaging through my purse, the contents of which resembled a full cupboard, I came up with the amount minus ten rupees. Apart from that I had only Rs 2,000 note, for which the auto driver did not have any change. Hassle, hassle. I was beginning to get more flustered. Suddenly, I felt a presence and looked up. An old gentleman clad in simple cotton pant and shirt, wearing thick glasses, and walking with a stick, was coming towards the auto. He stood there and waited patiently. Then he moved a few steps away in indecision and stopped again. I realised, he wanted to hire the auto rickshaw. I handed a crumpled mess of Rs 10 notes, and a few coins to the auto driver, and hurriedly got off to make way for the old man. The fare was still short by ten rupees. I was still raking my purse, hoping for a miracle appearance of another ten rupees note.
Suddenly I heard a warm, practical and understanding voice, “Let me pay that ten rupees, I have change.”
The old man had seated himself in the rickshaw by now and was pulling out the needed note.
I said, “Wait, wait, I may just have it!”
Very naturally, he said, “I’ll get these ten rupees back, don’t worry. You go on.”
And then… I accepted.
Graciously, I said, “Thank you so much,” and went for my appointment.
There was so much ease in this entire transaction, so much respect and equality in the whole process, that it left quite an impact on me.
If you think about it, there isn’t much to it, but if you delve deeper, you will find meaning. Every human transaction is an exchange of sorts, a give and take. Not always monetary/tangible but a give and take nonetheless. Sometimes of emotions and sometimes of time. In my work with various types of people, I have observed a common human tendency, which is that it is often easier for us to give than to receive. Let me illustrate it with a few questions. How do you feel receiving hospitality over and over again by a friend, and not being able to invite back?
Receiving gifts or compliments?
How do you feel when you re
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