Vijay was ocuppied with lot of thoughts when he was driving his bike home after a long days work. The clock had already crossed 10:30 p.m. The bright coloured t-shirt and slightly faded jeans with woodlands shoe were enough to prove that it was end of that work week. Like most of the young men with slightly better academic performance above average, Vijay also entered the software world just two years ago. His new position as the unofficial team lead of the team with which he had been since he joined the company as a fresher made it clear why he was occupied with lot of thoughts.
He was not a guy who worshiped the dumbbells and religiously followed the gym master’s instructions. But he managed to keep his body fit with a flat belly, in spite of the hectic work environment like most software guys of his age. Even though he got much time to check the outlook for funny forwards and play the tiny flash games some how he managed to put in his computer, despite the strict security policies their companies followed, he always got assignments which were always underestimated and end up working under pressure from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The helmet which he wore promptly tried to hide the silky long hair he was maintaining for the last 6 months, but it showed up poking out in the back edge of his helmet. He had a thick eye brows and very dark brown eyes. Though he was a little dull at the moment, he was a charismatic personality among his friends and colleagues.
By the time you’ve taken to read so far, Vijay was speeding up in the straight stretch of the road after crossing the toll gate in the Sholinganallur to Medavakkam highway. As you’ve guessed already he worked in one of the software companies swarming the Sholinganallur area. It would take another 30 minutes to reach his home. By the time he reached his home, he would have thought through 10s of 100s of things in his mind in that relatively mild traffic at the time of the day.
After 2 minutes of speeding and stabilizing in 60 kmph, Vijay noticed a thin bodied man wearing white shirt and black pants through his hand out to ask for a lift to the bikes crossing, mostly with a single person who drove it. The two bikes which went in front of Vijay’s bike crossed the poor man as if a super fast express train would pass by a small village station. In the few fractions of a second he had to notice the face of the man illuminated faintly by the vehicles passing by and the bright sodium street lamp which stood far away from him, Vijay sensed that the man’s hope to get a lift faded away fast.
‘Should I give this man a lift? But that would take few seconds to slow down; a half a minute to ask where he is going; another half a minute for the man to climb on the bike; few seconds to speed up; few minutes to drop him at his destination; Oh my god I will loose at least 3 to 4 minutes to give him a lift. But this man looks very desperate to get a lift. What if he was in an emergency? What if he was waiting for more than 15 minutes without a bus or shared auto? May be I should help this poor man’. Talking out these thoughts would have taken more time, reading slightly more than that and writing even much more, but Vijay’s preoccupied mind cleared few fractions of a second to think through all these things before directing the right leg and hand to the brakes. Mostly abiding with the traffic rules, his mind issued a command to through the turning signal also to inform the vehicles coming behind him that he was going to slow down and turn to the left. With the speed he had just come Vijay’s bike stopped a few feats away from that man.
The man’s face became brighter than the illumination in his face due to the red color light from Vijay’s bike as he still kept the pressure upon the brake liver to keep the bike from moving. Vijay saw the man hurrying to his bike in the rear view mirror. The man climbed on the back seat even before Vijay could start any conversation to ask where he was going and all. He asked anyway.
“Where do you need to go?”
“I’ll get down just around the corner of the road. I’m coming from the hospital. I need to go to the shop”
The word ‘hospital’ in the man’s speech triggered few neurons in Vijay’s brain to simulate a feeling of accomplishment which he usually would get from debugging a malfunctioning software code and finding out the cause of the problem. This happened because his mind already thought through this situation of emergency. But before all that feeling end up igniting a simple grin in his thin lips under trimmed mustache, the man started speaking stuff which a man in emergency would never would.
“All the software people are bad people sir. They don’t even give a lift at this late hour. They don’t have any helping mind sir”.
The frequent use of the word ‘sir’ created mixed feeling in Vijay’s mind: ‘wow somebody calling me also sir. I’ve started to look more matured and people not any more think I look like a college boy; oh my god I started to look older and people not any more think I look like a college boy’. Yah! you’ve got the point.
“See sir all this traffic is because of software people. In the morning the software company buses start coming and all the traffic becomes worse”.
Vijay just noticed that he was not wearing his company id card. Time to time he had different opinion about wearing the id card outside office. This time he should have felt embarrassing to wear it for no one to see it at all at that late hour.
Thinking about the bad impression about software guys, though he didn’t have an MBA, Vijay thought about all the bus drivers getting job; all the share autos coming into business; workers employed to improve the road systems. But before his mind could think about a strategy to start a talk which would make all his thoughts look meaningful to the man, the man started to speak something else.
“I work in Global Hospital sir. I missed the 10:30 bus. The next bus will come at 10:45 only. Fortunately you came sir”.
Vijay’s mind is getting more and more upset. ‘oh my god we definitely are not helping a man in emergency’. But with the training he had in software company to blame others and put the ball in other people’s coats, his mind started to come up with justifications to help this man who definitely didn’t need any emergency help at all. ‘but what if he really was in an emergency? what if we didn’t help? there is no loss in stopping for few seconds. after all the load is reduced in the public transportation system and people could travel with more space in the next bus which the man would have gotten up, if he didn’t stop to help.’
“Sir where are you working sir?”
“I work in a software company”
Vijay said it very proudly as if to make the man realise that software people were actually nice. The man didn’t show any feeling of embarrassment or shock and said,
“Sir my cousin brother finished B.E. last year sir. Is there any vacancy in your company sir. If so please help sir.”
After a second of astonishment, Vijay tried very hard to keep it cool and said,
“Now they take only experienced people. If they take freshers I’ll inform you”
“Thank you sir”
No conversation for a few seconds. Vijay slowed down a little as he entered a little populated area. And he could see the turning the man mentioned where he needed to get down. They neared the turning.
“Here only sir. Please stop sir.”
One more time in otherwise uninterrupted journey to his home, Vijay stopped his bike. The man got down a little hurriedly.
“Thank you very much sir”
Vijay slowly moved into the traffic without monitoring the man in his rear view mirror and immediately forgot the man and immersed in his own thoughts. Though his mind gave justification to board a man without real emergency a while back, he was determined not to stop for anyone, at least in that trip that day.
Yes. I know what you are about to ask me about not mentioning the part where both shared their mobile numbers for Vijay to contact the man if an opening comes in his company.
Well done! you didn’t sleep while reading the story. But nothing like that happened anyway.