As I came back home at 2100 after attending an 8 hour long educational seminar, I went to a Dhaba to have dinner. While the food was being prepared I stood there watching here and there observing the whole scene. There was darkness everywhere, all the shops were closed and it seemed as if it is a no man’s land. And then I saw a man treading his way towards the Dhaba. He was carrying a huge white colored bag. His forward-bent walk confirmed that he has something heavy in that huge bag.
He put down the bag on the footpath and started to take some diffident steps towards Dhaba. His body language, the walking speed, his hand-to-mouth gestures all supported my earlier perception of him having a low self-esteem. As he came into light, I saw his hands colored white as if he has been picking up some dirt and has not washed his hands. His torn jacket showed dirt marks which corroborated the fact that he has no other pair of dress. His torn shoes highlighted that they have really worked hard to carry the man’s as well as the huge bag’s (with whatever is in it) weight all day long.
The owner of the Dhaba was standing just at the entrance instructing his men to close the business day.The man demanded for food from the owner. The owner interrogated, “Tu ki karda hain?” (Translation: What do you do for living?). The man replied, “Mai kuda chakda haan” (Translation: I am a salvager). The owner asked, “Kine kamma lena hain?” (Translation: How much money do you make?). The man replied, “Das rupayeee” (Translation: Ten rupees). The owner suggested, “Das rupayee di ki cheej andi hai aaj kal!” (Translation: Ten rupees have no value in today’s world).
At this point, I thought that the owner is quite arrogant. But I forgot that the most valuable lessons of life are learnt from the bitterest experiences, and that is what the man was learning right now. As the conversation went further I realized that the owner actually is very wise. He said, “Apne aap nu dekh. Ena hatta kata hain. Kal naah toh ke mere kol aa javin, tenu kam de dunga.” (Translation: Look at yourself, you are so strong. Take bath and come tomorrow, I’ll give you work) and after a pause he added, “Jo mai kar sakda haan, tu v kar sakda hain.” (Translation: What I can do, you can do it too)
After this conversation the owner told one of his workman to give him food. By the time, my order was ready. I collected the packaged food, paid the money and drove back home thinking about this till I fell asleep.