Friday, April 30, 2010

At The Traffic Signal

This other day, I was at the University signal returning home. It was around 6.20 in the evening. As I waited in the car for the signal to turn green, I observed a salesman making the rounds of the vehicles at the signal. I have seen him there many times. He sells cloths, those yellow and brown ones that you use to clean your car or bike.

I was waiting very close to a truck. The space between the truck and my right hand mirror was not enough for a person to pass. And as the salesman approached, I saw him trying to squeeze himself through the small space. And just while doing that, he inadvertently brushed against my mirror and moved it. However, my instant reaction was that he should not get hurt as he squeezed through. I hoped that he had not hurt his back against the truck.

I slid down my window to ask him that. But the first thing he said was, "I am sorry Madam. Galti se ho gaya!" I was left speechless for a minute. Then I asked him, "Aapko laga nahi na?" He was taken aback that I had not scolded him, smiled, and answered that he was not. He apologized once again and went away.

I kept on thinking...how meanly do we deal with these salesmen. My car's mirror might have moved even if a vehicle had dashed against it. Although I didn't get angry with him, he had expected me to take him to task. His supplicant reaction made me think if we behave too harshly with them.

We ought not to forget that these salesmen are at the traffic signal the whole day, in the harsh sun, in the soaking wet rains, and cold winters, tiring away to earn a few rupees a day.

I know that we can't always entertain them. But we might just try and be a bit patient, understanding, and graceful. It might just make our lives easier and this world a better place to live.

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