I was due to leave Thailand in a couple of days. Wondering how to get my bicycle packed in a case, I looked around for a bike shop that could help me.
Fortunately, I found a bike shop, ‘Bok Bok Bike’ run by a kind gentleman named Ma.
I went in to be greeted by his warm, welcoming smile. I felt as if I had arrived at the right place.
I asked him if he could help me get a cardboard casing for packing my bike for the flight back home.
He readily agreed and said I could come on the day I had my flight and pack it up the way I wished.
I felt relieved on hearing his offer.
I asked him for the best way to get the bicycle and my luggage to the airport. He got wondering. He seemed to be thinking of ways I could transport my bike. He suggested that I could book a big cab to the airport.
The following day I reached his shop at 2pm. The box was already waiting for me inside. He helped me pack up my bicycle in the best manner possible.
I asked him what I owed him for his help. He smiled, just the way he did the first time we met.
‘It is free for you. Enjoy your ride back home!’
And I knew I could never make an even offer with money.
‘Ma, can you help me book a cab?’ I asked.
‘Oh, one of my friends stays close to the airport. He will be visiting me in the evening.
You can go with him to the airport in his pickup truck. Just pay for the toll.
You’ll save time and money.’
At that moment I felt grateful and helpless at the same time. Grateful for him abundant kindness and helpless for I could think of no way to make up for his help on an immediate basis.
I rushed to my bag and took out my Polaroid camera.
‘Ma, I have a little project I wish to share with you. I click pictures for all the kind and helpful people I meet on my journey.
Can I click a picture for you?’
He readily agreed and I clicked a candid picture for him in his shop.
I hugged him goodbye with sincere hope of meeting him in India when he bicycles here on a tour.
Today, I reached Kolkata, India.
Here, I am staying with my childhood friend’s family.
I had issues with my SIM card not being active when I came back to India. My friend’s father sent me with his driver to the mobile store to get my sim reactivated. The driver, Ratanjeet, a chatty Bengali folk made good conversation all throughout our ride to the store.
He helped me communicate with the mobile store staff in Bengali.
We were told that the SIM will be activated only 48 hours later.
As we were leaving the shop Ratanjeet asked me,
‘Sir, it would be so much trouble to not have a phone for two days.
We can get a new SIM for you in my name. You can use it for two days and then give it to me when you leave.
I’ll use it later as needed.’
I was pleasantly surprised by his eagerness to find a solution.
‘Thank you so much Ratanjeet, but I think it will be okay for me to not have a number for a couple of days. ‘
In the evening, I sat back and wondered about these two incidents that happened with a span of 24 hours in two different countries.
Two complete strangers went out of their way to help me in the best manner possible. In fact, it wasn’t even about me. I am sure they would have gone out of their way to help someone they thought they could help.
Then I realised,
These kind humans,
are not going out of their way at all.
Helping people in need, is the only right way in their eyes.
We often hear elders tell us to choose the correct path in our life. After meeting these two gentlemen, I am convinced that the correct way,
The noble path,
Is one where there are avenues to help others.
Grateful for the profound lessons my friends Ma and Ratanjeet introduced me to,
I too am enthusiastic to join their tribe,
Of kind strangers,
On the noble path,
Of helping people with an open heart.