Friday, August 26, 2011

The Stranger

I am a big fan of Persian art and culture. Sometimes, I find it very close to the North Indian style of living. But what fascinates me the most is their literature. There are many well known names in Persian poetry and amongst poets like Hafez, Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Saadi and Rumi, I am the most impressed by the writings of Hafez. The philosophy in his poems is really impressive and at times just pierces through the heart of the reader. After reading a lot of the above writers’ translated versions, I decided one day to learn Farsi myself so that I am not lost in translation. Sometimes the gist of an idea looses its correct force and target during translation. Reading first hand gives you a better understanding and you are not left under the influence of the translator’s interpretation but rather develop your own interpretations. This helps you to better understand the author’s ideas rather than following something totally blindly.

Anyways, this post is not about Persian literature but about an incident which happened few years back. I had moved to a new apartment after I got my first job in Germany and thus had to shop for some furniture. I decided to go to IKEA on a Saturday for the same which was quite out of the city. I picked all what I needed and then asked the IKEA home delivery service to deliver it to my place. There were a few things which I needed urgently so I thought I will carry them myself and the rest could come later by the delivery service since it would take about a week for the delivery. Now, the IKEA center where I went was quite a distance from the tram station. There was a bus service which I had taken to reach from the station to IKEA. Since it was a Saturday, the frequency of the bus service was less. On my way back I found that I would have to wait for the bus for around an hour. I decided to walk to the station instead. I liked walking and was quite used to it so I did not even thought about a Taxi. I started marching towards the station on foot with some pieces of furniture in my hands.

Unfortunately, I had underestimated the distance and the weight of the stuff I was carrying. I kept juggling the weight of the furniture between both my hands while walking. After about half the way, I decided to stop, put down the weight and catch my breath. After a few minutes, I started again towards my destination. A few steps later, I was struggling to hold the packet I was carrying. It started getting tougher and tougher specially because there was no proper grip and the packet kept slipping from my hands. I thought of calling a Taxi but then felt embarrassed that I have already walked half the way and just to finish the last leg of about 700 meters it does not make sense to call a Taxi. Moreover, my ego started kicking in that a young guy like me can’t carry his stuff? What a looser I am when I am willing to give up half the way. I kept going further but now I was stopping after every few steps to keep the packet down to ease my muscles. The going was really getting tough but I was not willing to give up. Yes, I am stubborn. While stopping and taking regular rest breaks, I started noticing that a lot of people in nice cars passed by me, some even laughing at me. But no one stopped to give a helping hand. I was also not expecting that to happen in a foreign land. Why would anyone in his right senses stop in the middle of nowhere to help a guy who made the wrong decision to carry heavy packets on foot for such a long distance? I deserved it.

500 meters before my destination, I had started to give up. I could not take it any more. I stopped, I was out of breath, my hands were shaking and I was sweating profusely. I started feeling ashamed of myself. Just then when I was about to give all hopes, a small old car passing by me stopped a few steps ahead from where I stood. A middle aged guy came out of the car and asked me, Where are you going, do you need help? I told him I am trying to reach the tram station. He said he could take me there. I was a bit surprised and bit skeptical as to why would a total stranger help me? But I said yes to him and he helped me put my stuff at the back of his car and we drove off. He asked me if I was from India. I said yes and asked him where was he from. He said a small place near Tehran in Iran. I was quite overwhelmed by his modesty and helping nature. I tried to talk with him in my broken Farsi. But after seeing me struggling with Farsi he switched and then we talked in German. After a small chit chat he dropped me off at the tram station. I asked him that why did he stopped to help me. He said he noticed me walking on his way to IKEA and then on his return he saw me struggling with heavy stuff. Seeing that I was not too convinced with his reason he said, he knows how it feels to be in a foreign land. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. He said Khuda Hafiz to me and left. I was so overwhelmed by the whole situation that I did not even asked his contact details. Maybe I might never see him again in my life but whenever I remember that incident, I always pray to God that bless him with more strength to always keep helping the needy. Whenever I start giving up on humanity, something or the other happens which restores my faith back in humankind. Someone once rightly told me that this world would have been destroyed by bad men long back but just because of the integrity and strength of a few good men that this world is still holding up. I wish that their tribe increase!           

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