Yes, I am writing after a long time (on this blog), to be specific, almost 4yrs. Yes, I’ve not been productive lately. I hope, its not late for the sun will shine again tomorrow & we’ll all run through the day to survive/thrive/strive whatever as per our own individual attitudes. Lets be more existentialist each day and be one, atleast little bit more everyday.
Okay, Lets talk about today. Pardon me, I am going to write about yesterday.
I came out of Cafe Coffee Day, Lodhi Road after a coffee with a literature buff, felt like she had lived through Shakespeare’s love stories & tragedies. Wait, the write-up is not about her. I currently am in between changing jobs & rather cities too so I have some time at hand for random stuff.
I met this old fellow named Mr Benjamin Francis just before putting ignition ON for my Apache. This weak fellow had papers in his hands which made me curious. So I asked whats up, what are you looking for?
Discourse went almost like this:
Me: What are you looking for?
Me: I’ll help you today, what about tomorrow?
Francis: Not sure.. (coughing..) I have breathing problems.
Me: Okay, breathe.. lets sit down and talk.
We sat down on the bench by the road side.
Me: What are these papers in your hand for?
Francis: I am suffering from incurable disease. Doctors at Safdarjung hospital said, you should go home, there is no cure.
Me: Okay.. Home, where is home?
Francis: West Bengal, my wife is angry at me for being here, I wasted lot of money coming here. My father in law is a cheat. I just want to go home.
(Yes, he was speaking English)
Me: Oh, How long have you been in here?
Me: Oh, and you are not able to go home but are surviving, seems incredibly tough but wow, its inspiring.
Francis: (Went emotional) How would I explain, I have to beg for food, I never had to do this.
I was a security personal. I have served Arun Jately and the likes 20yrs ago.
Me: Sir, You can be an inspiration to me, why go emotional and cry for when you have nothing to lose. Why do I have to try to inspire you here..
Francis: Oh you are such an educated person. You are so humble.
Me: But why are you smelling like you are drunk.
Francis: I am drunk, it helps me control my breathing problems.
Me: Anyway, so the bigger problem is NOT food but home. Seems odd you couldn’t save anything since “6 months” to go home but lets try to send you home. I believe, I can help by getting some donations. But wait, There are two ways to go home. With ticket & without ticket. Why not just get on the train without a ticket, you’ve got nothing, you can always take another general train if you were forced to get down?
Francis: No, they’ll put me in jail, they’ve done that with me before for traveling without one even in DTC.
I thought of making a video & posting on twitter to gather some funds but it could have taken much longer. Needed a shortcut.
Me: Lets go to the CCD & collect some donations, people only need to pay 50bucks each which is almost the tax they give away everyday.
Francis: No, I feel sad for you, I feel shame. I can not do this.
Me: Shame..? (I was confused) You already beg everyday for food anyway but okay no, you don’t need to beg & I will do the needful.
Francis: okay okay.
Me: Went to the Manager, asked for help he said no, we can’t make an announcement, it’d go be felt as official. Said hello to another 2 random guys and described the scenario. They said, we’ve helped him (Francis) already before, for food. I requested, this time is not for food, lets try to solve the bigger problem. They said no.
I went ahead & announced in the middle of the coffee house, described things about Mr Francis. Francis in between the announcement also described bits about himself & also said, he knows French.
People found the story worth while and started taking money out of their pockets.
A group of three gave INR 400, I tried to refuse to a big amount but they insisted. Since it was 400 & they were keenly listening, I could precisely remember their faces too.
I collected INR 880, the ticket was only for 600 so I thought the rest could be used for food for his journey. I added some from pockets and started planing the next steps.
He said, he has his baggage at Safdurjung hospital, I only had a 2 wheeler with only one helmet. Its not fine as per Delhi Traffic rules but I had to do this.
I took him on my back seat and asked where to now.
He started giving directions for some particular place for food.
I had to say no to that, and requested him the directions for Safdurjung hospital, we could always eat anything on the way to Hospital.
Again on our way, he came up with some particular shop name to be reached out to for biryani.
(Quite a food uncle he is).
Anyway, we reached Safdurjung after biryani, he found his baggage.
HERE COMES THE TWIST.
I asked, whats the plan now?
Francis: He said, I want to see doctor again & then decide to go home.
Me: Okay but you were saying, you were trying to go home since 6 months & doctors already have said no.
But anyway, let me come back with tickets tomorrow or day after when ever you need?
Francis: No, give me some money and you keep some and take rest.
Me: Dude, I am not here for money. Agenda was to get you home. I can only get you ticket if you wish.
Francis: Almost started shouting, ran to the cleaner staff complaining about the money I had collected as a donation for him.
I couldn’t have given that money which was collected in the name of tickets for him journey to him home. No, it would go into liquor only.
Sadly, I had to run from the moment fearing to be getting beaten by the public.
Went straight to the CCD I had collected donations from, found the generous people who donated 400. Happy that I could return that 400 & but couldn’t find/Identify other faces.
Feel sorry for those who donated believing in my words.
But I still don’t understand, what was my mistake.
May be he was a fraud.
May be I didn’t spend MORE TIME to solve his actual problem.
So, anyone who has some more time, good luck to you.
It wasn’t about helping the hungry with food. It was about solving the bigger problem. I have trust in humanity. Can we survive as humans without trust in one another ?
Or the worst in history is yet to come?