Test By Fire

Sometimes your faith in this world is validated for absolutely all possible heights. I found both the abyss and the summit all in an hour and a half.

My bike has a nasty habit of getting flat tyres at the worst moments and nothing is worse than getting it on the ride to the office. I normally travel late to office and then stay late ‘coz I can’t wake up early. It just simply isn’t my cup of tea.

This time though, on a bright and really hot sunny day, my bike had a huge surprise in store for me. I was riding comfortably when suddenly, it chuckled and came to a stop. My fuel meter had malfunctioned since a few days but I knew I had a measure of the fuel I had in my bike. I dragged the bike to the side of the road, shook it up and tried to start it again but it just won’t start. So now I wanted a mechanic who could look into my bike. My bike had broken down for the fourth time that month and I was scared of the disappointed voice from my boss when I would tell him about this one. Honestly I think my boss doesn’t think very good things about me but that for later. I called him, told him the circumstances and the area I was stranded in but instead of sounding disappointed, he helped me by telling me that I was wrong in thinking that there are no markets in the area. First help that day. Was the world really alive to my plight?

After asking for some directions, I found that I could either go ahead another 1.5 kms where help wasn’t so sure or go back around 3 kms to a confirmed mechanic at a showroom. The typical Indian that I am, I decided to save the 1.5 kms of my journey to get to the market to seek the unconfirmed ‘help’.

I started dragging my bike looking for that market and asking people for directions. The damn way even had a bridge after an incline and right before the incline, I asked another old man if he knew that there was any mechanic shop open nearby and there came a pat reply – “Abey khud dhoond le na, mar nahi jaayega! (Find it by yourself, you hag! You won’t die if you look for it yourself!)”. He had looked grumpy but I had no clue he actually will be. This was the abyss I was talking about. I was so tired, I could only show him the finger in disgust which I knew he would know nothing about.

Carrying on, within a few hundred meters, I reached the shop right when it was about to open. I reached the mechanic and asked if could help and he said – “Sure”. I breathed a sigh of relief while I was recovering with deep breaths, he checked my bike and told me that I had run out of fuel. “What the hell!!!” I knew I should have had a lot of fuel in the bike but it probably had been stolen in the theater parking the night before. He also told me that I couldn’t have known about this as my reserve knob was broken too. “So someone did break into my bike… DAMN!!”. I asked him if he could arrange for fuel and he said he has asked for help from a nearby shop already. But neither could he arrange for the fuel nor a new reserve knob. Had he repaired my bike I’d have taken him to a nearby working ATM to pay him, but I had Rs. 10 in my wallet with none of the ATMs working around with the bike still not working. Somehow I convinced the guy that I will pay him later for his work which I promptly did.

So the issue now was to go back another 3 kms for a petrol pump. But with no other way available, I started dragging my bike again down the same way I’d taken to get to the mechanic. I saw the grumpy old man again and there was my finger out again and again he didn’t know what I was doing. I smirked and kept walking. I crossed the highway and somehow safely reached the other side of one of the busiest roads in New Delhi and kept moving towards the pump.

And then a miracle happened. From all the rough I have received from this world, what happened next was so soothing to my heart, it did mend a few of my wounds. An autorickshaw driver came from behind me and honked. He asked me – “Kya hua bhai saab (what happened brother?)?”. I replied that I’m out of fuel and am going towards the pump. He never asked to help me. He just asked me to get on my bike. He started his auto, plonked a foot out to the left of his auto and started pushing my bike with that foot.

I must tell you – THEY WERE THE MOST SILENT AND BLISSFUL MINUTES OF MY LIFE! My rapidly beating heart was so filled with his generosity, I just didn’t cry of happiness. This was the absolute pinnacle of human generosity. I got to believe that things like these really do exist in the real world and not just in movies or books.

And if all of this wasn’t enough for my day, after I got to the pump and got the tank filled to my satisfaction, I had gone another 9 kms to my office when not just rain but a hail storm struck!!! WTF!!! Not only was I soaked in my sweat from my ordeal that had ended 15 minutes ago but now I’m being washed off by rain and hail storm with no f***ing shelter in sight. This day really was the “TEST BY FIRE” of my patience. I called my boss again and this time, he surely sounded disappointed as it was 11:45 am already. I knew this was coming. But everything was fine when I reached office half an hour later when they too had seen the hail storm for themselves from their windows and I could tell my story with gusto!

This was truly a FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED post!

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