By Ganesh R
The innocent and sinless intelligence of a child is much more enlightening than all our words of wisdom and adult intelligence.
Last evening I had engaged a taxi from the radio taxi company to go to Malad from Dahisar in North West Mumbai. As we drove, I struck a conversation with the taxi driver, Mr.Vinod Sharma, about the virtues of hiring a taxi from a company as against taking a normal black and yellow cabs from the road.
With radio cabs, not only you get the right fare, you also get a receipt. Besides, there is minimal risk of being made to travel unwanted distance as the normal taxis would do most of the time. What really tips the scale in favour of the radio taxis is the security they give you. The passenger and the luggage are both totally safe as the taxi can always be traced from the company records.
As we kept conversing, Vinod was encouraged to narrate the experience he had just the earlier day. He had driven a young man, one Mr.Chidambaram who had engaged him from the road to drive from Bandra station to Vashi. Chidambaram had only a backpack from which he had hung another loose pack. He had got off at Vashi after paying the fare of Rs.350 as per the meter. Thereafter, Vinod took a break but let the meter run so that he could have an undisturbed lunch session. Therefore, when he reset the meter, it showed Rs.385.
Then, he was engaged by another passenger who, immediately as he got in, pointed out to Vinod that a lunch pack was lying inside the taxi. The appearance of the pack was uninteresting and Vinod continued with his trip without bothering to open the pack. Thus, he totally forgot about it until he reached home late in the evening.
He took the pack home and opened it in the presence of his wife and eight year old daughter, Pinky. The pack carried no identification tags or labels through which the owner could be identified and to his extreme surprise, the pack contained an apparently expensive handy cam!
Vinod was consumed by several rushing thoughts. How would he identify the owner? Besides, how would he explain the delay in reporting the abandoned property? Was it not easy to keep quiet and not get into the hassle? Was the headache really worth the effort? He was tempted for a moment not to report and keep the camera for himself!
And then he heard his young daughter Pinky say “Papa aap isko vapas kar do. Jiska camera yeh hai, unko bahut pareshani hoti hogi na? Who shayad iske bina rote honge na?
The simplicity of Pinky’s thoughts struck home and Vinod realized she was right. He was shuddered by what he was about to do! Yes, indeed the owner would be highly distressed by the loss and he needed to do his duty. How could he challenge the compelling truth of what Pinky said?
Immediately, he called his company and reported the find. He also explained the delay in reporting. In the meantime, the company had received several calls from our friend Chidambaram who had no details of the taxi as the engagement was not through the call center. Besides, he also had no recall of the taxi number. The only clue he had was the journey points and that he had paid Rs.350. However, since Vinod had reported the journey after lunch, the company had recorded Rs.385 and had no trace for the taxi which had collected Rs.350.
The missing property thus been found, Chidambaram and his father met Vinod and profusely thanked him for reporting the property. They rewarded him with Rs.1000 and were grateful that the camera which contained very crucial pictures required by Chidambaram was found! For them, the loss would have been very damaging as the loss of the pictures could have destroyed the career prospects of Chidambaram.
As Vinod Sharma narrated the story, I was touched by what Pinky was able to achieve. The simplicity of her thoughts and the depth of her value system were astonishing particularly considering that she was only eight!
I was also struck by the realization that we adults are under a constant observation by the children who take their lessons in values from what we do and what we do not do. After all, we are the role models for our children just the same way as we looked upto our parents for inspiration!
As I got off from the taxi, I handed over an additional Rs.50 to Vinod for chocolates to be given to Pinky. I could only add Jai Ho Pinky Sharma! She had taught me a lesson indeed!
The guest author is a Mumbai based corporate manager for over 35 years and human beings interest him the most.