19 March 2009

A lesson in Self Respect

On the day of Holi, I got a lesson in Self Respect.
Here in South India, Holi is not celebrated with the same gusto and vivacity as in North India. But there are revellers that you would find in the streets once in a while. As some of you must have endured, a whole lot of mischief passes off as revelry during Holi.
An old wrinkled hawker was resting under the shade in the street outside my house. His load of bananas was lying by his side as he was catching forty winks. My mother was at the gate watching the world go by in the street in front. A few good men came along the street swaggering and awash in their Holi 'spirit'. In an action that defined their spirit of Holi, they snatched at a bunch of bannanas lying at the old man's head. They made away with a few. My mother who was watching the scene with some trepidation let out a cry.
Before the old man could react, the revelers had disappeared. One could excuse the reactions of the old man, debilitated as he was from the heat and the load that he had been carrying on his head. Hearing my mother's cry I came down running. She let out the whole story between excited gasps. I felt pity on the old man and fetched out fifteen Rupees and offered the old man.
The old man looked straight in my eyes and said, "Fifteen Rupees? That would be three quarters a kilo." Pointing at the load in the wicker basket, he continued, "From which bunch would you like your bananas?"
It would be a while before I caught up this old man's self respect.


Ravi Kodukula said...


A very interesting anecdote. I think you must write more of your experiences. You have a great style of story telling!

Best Wishes.

Sanjay Agarwal said...

Hi Ashish,
The lesson, so beautifully brought out, needs to be learnt by many of us.
In J&K, I find a dependancy syndrome, dependancy on govt doles for all genuine and perceived injustices by man, beast, nature or God.. Whats worse, this mindset is being nurtured in the masses by vested interests.

I liked "A Street With a Name" too!! As ravi says, u have a gr8 style.

Keep the blog going!!

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