This was an incident that happened many years ago. I am a South Indian who was residing in Agra as my husband was posted there for his job. One fateful afternoon, I received a telegram informing me that my Father-in-Law had passed away. I promptly passed on the message to my husband, who was on a visit to another city on some work.
My husband decided to fly down to his home town (since he had to reach at his earliest), and our two little children and I followed him by train. Back then, I was a home maker with very limited worldly knowledge and so, I was anxious about my journey. Also, this was the first time I was travelling without my husband / brothers accompanying me.
I managed to reach the railway station and board the train. As the train started, I felt relieved. There was also a sense of accomplishment on getting my children and myself on board the train without any problems. Like in all other trains, the Ticket Collector (TC) came to us asking for our ticket. I could not believe my ears when the TC told me that I had boarded the wrong train, although this train was also headed towards my town. He asked me to get off the train at the next station. It was around 8:30 pm by then, it was pitch dark outside and there was no way that I could get off with two little children in an unknown city. I told the TC that I wouldn’t get off, come what may.
I got off from my seat and with my children, sat on the floor near one of the doors. My children were terrified, did not understand what was happening. I had to stay strong for them and pacified them that everything was alright – but in real, I was just as scared as they were. The next afternoon, the train reached my town and we got off the train. The station was far away from my father-in-law’s house (since I was in the wrong train, I had to get off at a different station). I tried stopping rickshaws (cycle rickshaws) to drop me to the house, but none of them were willing to take us because if they did, they would have to pedal a long way.
As we stood there, dishevelled and clueless about what to do next, an elderly man stopped his rickshaw to ask where we were headed to. Half-heartedly, I told him where we had to go. I had no hopes that he would agree to take us and was pleasantly surprised when he agreed. Grateful to him, we hoped on to his rickshaw. I could see the elderly gentleman puffing and panting as he pedalled all the way, but not once did he complain. When he dropped me off at my in-laws’ place, I thanked him profusely and offered him a glass of tea (being a funeral house that was all I could do for him) which he very kindly accepted.
Since that day, I have always thought of that kind gentleman. If not for him, I don’t know what we would have done that day or how would we get to my in-laws’ place. In those days, there were no phones to communicate with my husband or any other family member and so, we probably would have had to walk all those kilometres to get home! I do not know where he is today, but through this post, I would like to say Thank You to him for his generosity. He was an angel in disguise for me and my children and I pray that we have more such kind hearted people in the world.