• RAJGOPAL KRISHNAMURTHI

When good deeds shook hands

On a hot and humid day, a lady in her mid-sixties strolled past the buzzing crowd into her

favourite restaurant. She had started early from home; a cup of porridge was all she had

consumed before stepping out. Her usual breakfast would be far more satisfying, unlike the

one this time around, as she was keen on reaching the bank to sort out discrepancies

related to her signature.


She has been operating with this bank for nearly three decades, and there were many

occasions when she had to pay a visit for issues that could have been dealt with without her

presence. They had their rules, and they were hell-bent on sticking to them irrespective of

having a clear picture of the customer.


A few days back, someone very familiar had called her from the bank, and she was

prompt enough to agree to the specified schedule. She was there at the bank well on time,

yet she had to wait for the concerned to call her for a discussion. She wasn’t complaining, as

she was pretty sure that the act wasn’t going to reap dividends; it can only worsen things.


Speaking for your rights is more often a joke when you are neither influential nor acquainted

with people who could influence proceedings. The sorry state of affairs is bound to continue,

cross milestones with ease unless He comes down and takes charge.


After an hour at the bank, she was left drained. She had travelled by bus and then had

walked quite a distance. The cup of porridge she had, as early as eight in the morning, was

busy shelling out energy, and by the time she had left the bank, her energy resource had put

its hands up in submission.


Seated happily in the restaurant, located a few metres from the bank, she ordered a plate

of Rava Upma, her favourite for years together. Along with a cup of sambar and two different

chutneys, it is a meal she would relish anytime in the day. She had earlier visited the

restaurant a few months ago, and she wasn’t aware of the fact that her favourite dish was

being served in two different quantities referred to as “small” and “large.” When the server

presented the choice, she was a bit confused. Not able to decide, she opted for the “large”

version. She had also asked the server about the availability of the regular quantity that she

was so used to before settling to what she thought would suffice.


The sight of a big bowl of Rava Upma in front took her by surprise instantly. She was

confident that half the quantity along with a cup of coffee would be enough to keep her from hunger pangs for at least another four hours. She gazed at the people dining in the

restaurant before slowly pulling out her lunch box from the bag she usually carried while

travelling. She placed the box on the table and gazed around again. She wasn’t feeling

comfortable.


The server who was watching her all the while from a distance understood her situation.

He walked to her and told her to eat whatever she could, promising to pack the remaining

quantities in boxes meant for takeaways. He also served the main course along with the

accompaniments so that the balance quantities would meet all the hygiene requirements that one may look for. The lady smiled at the server and thanked him for his gesture. After

finishing off her coffee, she slid her hand into her bag, looking for her purse. To her dismay,

she wasn’t able to locate it in any portion of her bag. She knew that the last time she had

taken it out was to drop her pen inside when she walked out of the bank. Probably, she

should have dropped it on the floor while trying to put it back in her bag. She had a five hundred rupee note in her purse along with the pen.


She wasn’t worried about the money she had to pay for the food; reserves in another

pouch meant to hold her bank documents would be enough to settle her bill at the

restaurant. She was rather disappointed with her carelessness. Hiding her anxiety, she got

up from the chair after offering a tip to the server. With too many thoughts occupying her

mind, she forgot to pick up the food that was packed and placed on the table.


She had walked a few metres when she realised that the food cover was missing. Before

she could turn back, the server was right in front of her, holding the pack in hand. She

responded with a smile and thanked him again for his services.


It was 11 am. By the time she reached home, it would be noon, and the food in her hand

would be enough for lunch at around half-past two. She could then rest for a while and sign

off the day with a simple meal for dinner. As she stepped out of the restaurant, she saw a

young woman with a baby in her hand. Both looked pale. She understood that they were

hungry, and without any hesitation, handed over the food packet to the young lady. She

didn’t stop with that. She pulled out a hundred-rupee note from her pouch and placed it in

the hands of the baby. In turn, to her surprise, the young lady handed over her lost purse.

Seeing the purse slip out of the bag, she picked it up and waited for more than thirty minutes outside the restaurant to return it.


Both the acts weren’t planned. They just happened to reiterate that the intent to remain

good despite difficulties trying hard to unsettle your belief will influence your well-being in a

way you would want to.


Both the ladies smiled at each other, and good deeds shook hands.

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