Friday, April 19, 2013

More Real Life Stories on Human Values

A very strange incident happened to me on 13th of April’13 which could best be described as partly of human values like honesty, sincerity and work ethics and partly a miracle. I post the incident in Facebook on 13th itself. My friend Indra also circulated my real life story through e-mail to some of my friends. Since then some of my friends have also written to me describing similar incidents as happened to their own life. I thought it prudent to reproduce them in my Blog for my other friends as well. Meanwhile my daughter Sudeshna Sengupta (Rini) who stays in USA has also post an article on human values in Facebook which of course, is in a different platform altogether.

From Sudeshna “Rini” Sengupta:

 Miracles do happen every now and then – One Father Sebastian – a 41 year old Catholic Priest from Kottayam donated one kidney to one Rasad Mahammed – a 30 years old Muslim from Alappuzha! Except human bondage their only other connection was sitting next to each other in a Kerala State Transport Corporation’s bus on their way to Kochi!  ( )

From Subhas C Majumder:

One circa, 1970 I went to Baltimore, a pretty rough place, was much rougher in those years.  I took a taxi to go to a house sometime after dusk.  I was still quite new and especially much less exposed to many humongous looking black folks south of our border. The driver was, as expected a huge black guy, heavy baritone voice. I was quite scared, to tell the truth, and was sitting pretty quiet.
As soon as we reached the destination, I quickly paid my bill, and just about jumped out of cab in utter relief. As I was nearly running away, I hear this baritone voice calling me back, 'sir, you left your camera here'.   It was an expensive camera, considering my resources then, for sure. 
In a moment my expression for blacks took a 180 degree turn. 

One circa 1977, I went to pay my phone bill to the phone office.  I took out my wallet, pulled out a single blank check, wrote the payment, submitted at the wicket, and left, not realizing I left the wallet on the table I used. 

Half an hour later, when I reached home, there was already a phone message for me, explaining that my wallet has been deposited by a stranger in that office, now to be picked up by me.  Later I got my wallet back, not a thing missing.

From Tapan Kumar Ray:

I remember a similar incident at Puri station years back in 1981. Tickets during those days were small little hard stuff. Names etc. of the passengers were written on the reverse side of the tickets. While getting out of the station after arrival at Puri I handed the return tickets to the staff at the gate and realised my mistake while checking the tickets in the morning on our day of return. I then rushed to the station and approached the station master who happened to be a Tamil gentleman. He kept me waiting for a couple of hours and kept himself busy with other works. I thought he was expecting 'lubricant for his palm'. 
To my utter surprise I found a lower grade employee handing over all the tickets in tact to the station master. Before the tickets were handed over to me the Station Master asked me to prove my identity. Alas! voter cards were not in existence those days. I had some visiting cards of my company. As an acknowledgement of his services I offered him a hundred rupee note. 
The gentleman was still polite and explained to me the process of recovering such tickets with punching machines. He asked someone to buy sweets from a road side shop and handed over the entire quantity to me along with our return tickets.
I still remember that station master of Puri Station. 

From Indrajit Bhowmick:

I had a similar experience here in Kuwait (around 1988) when I got cash from a customer for the sale of a PC (quite expensive then) and put it in the pocket of my jacket.
When I remembered about the money a few weeks later, the suit was given to the laundry just the day before. We rushed to the laundry, and there was a young fellow there who smiled and said he had found the money and secretly kept the money with him without telling any of his colleagues lest they forced him to usurp it. 
We felt extremely grateful. The guy would not accept any reward or gift from us. We eventually presented him with a small tape recorder/radio set, as far as I can remember, as a token of our gratitude.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Strange things do happen even these days ……even in Kolkata!

When there is nothing to write home about in India and about Kolkata in particular, a strange incident just happened to me on 13th of April 2013 which I will remember fondly till my dying day!
I use public transport quite often in Kolkata and enjoy my status of a “Senior Citizen” quite freely …rather to my advantage according to my daughter “Rini”. While travelling I always carry a “Shantiniketan” style shoulder” fabric bag which normally contains essential items like a small folding umbrella, a Cap, my house key, my second mobile phone   and of course my wallet containing some credit and debit cards besides money.
On 13th April in the morning I entered   “Rabindra Sadan” metro station in Kolkata to catch a train to “Sahid Khudiram” station which is nearest to my residence at the southern fringes of the city of Kolkata. While taking the stairs down to platform I found the time to be 10:56 and next train to my destination will be at 10:55 which normally means that the train has just left the platform and the system is getting adjusted for the next train. Considering that I have about ten minutes for the next train I was taking it easy while climbing down. But when I was near the last few steps, I saw the train still on the platform and gate of the first coach was hardly 15ft away! I ran for it (which theoretically I shouldn’t have done) and the passengers standing near the gate were also trying to hold the gate so that it would take a little more time to close. With these combined effort I could enter the compartment but my shoulder bag just slipped away and fell in between the gap of the compartment and the edge of the platform! Finding some resistance while closing, the door opened automatically and I also got down so as to collect my bag from the track once the train has gone. But to my utter horror I found that my newly acquired bag was travelling with the train. A ticketless traveller hanging on to some projection on the boggy-assembly!
By that time a sizable crowed  gathered around me and free advices like what I should have done and what I should do ( to complete the decent burial) were just pouring in! Then a middle aged man (whom I was later introduced to as Mr Barick, Dy. Supdt. Rabindra Sadan Station) approached me and on hearing the details sent down a railway staff on the track and inside the tunnel for some length to locate my bag but without any successes.
I then decided to meet the stationmaster to make a formal complaint since my wallet was containing some credit cards and debit cards and my formal complaint will be required for making FIR to police.
As I entered stationmaster’s office at the other end of the station, I found Mr Barick frantically talking to stationmaster of the next station (Jatin das Park) about the incident and was informed that the train just left the station and nothing has been deposited there. I then narrated the incident to the Stationmaster (of Rabindra Sadan Station, Mr Mondal) and he informed the control room immediately. By then I was more or less resigned with the reality and took a seat next to Mr Barick. Immediately one of the phones started ringing and it was picked up by Mr Barick. I found Mr Barick to be quite excited and uttering “Yes, he is by my side…..Kalighat Station……stationmaster……we are sending him right now”. Mr Barick then put down the phone and told me with a smiling face “The Motor man of the A.C Coach which left Rabindra Sadan station at 10:56 has deposited your bag to the stationmaster of Kalighat Station. Please go to Kalighat station and collect it. Best of luck”.
I thanked both Mr Barick and Mr Mondal for their efficient handling of the case and took a train to Kalighat Station still little anxious about the condition of my bag……probably it is utterly mutilated and everything inside damaged or lost!
When I met the stationmaster of Kalighat station (Mr Kamath) he was busy counting collection but on my introduction showed me my bag lying on a nearby table. I just grabbed my long lost companion and was surprised to find it in perfect condition without a scratch or a stain and everything inside in perfect condition….without any loss or damage!
In these days of utter callousness, negligence and dishonesty I really do not know how to thank enough the entire staff members of Kolkata Metro, particularly Mr Barick and Mr Mondal for their efficiency, work ethics and culture and that unknown motor man (of the A. C Coach, leaving Rabindra Sadan Station at 10:56 on 13th April 2013) as well as Mr Kamath and all his staffs for their honesty and work ethics! They really make us all proud in this world of disunity & dishonesty! Their efficiency could be more appreciated if we understand that the entire operation was executed within the running time of the train between three stations which cannot be more than seven minutes! The whole incident was just bordering “Miracle”!
I feel we are all having our share of good and bad incidences but unfortunately we normally do not remember those good incidences which manifest human values or give us a fresh lease of life. I was pondering about some of those happy  incidences that have happened to me…..when as a small child I was hit by a swing and a complete stranger carried me running to the nearest hospital to save me, even though he got drenched in blood on the way ……just a couple of minutes before IIT interview when I was in tears due to a small bone stuck in my throat during lunch, my school friend “Gora” offered me a ripe banana to swallow and solved my problem…..a friendly pat on the shoulder from the doctor during IIT entrance medical examination to help the needle move away from underweight to right weight.....Ticket checker in Germany helping me to cross the railway lines and climb over the station wall to catch the last rail-bus in an unknown city….Receptionist in a hotel in London letting me sleep in the TV room when the hotel was full and taking  me to his home in the morning for breakfast…..staff members in CMDA (now KMDA) congratulating us when we got our plot of land in a most ethical transaction… various happy interactions with police forces both in Kolkata and Germany….the list is unending.
These are my “…brown paper packages tied up with strings...”….“My favourite things” and “…when I’m feeling sad….. I just simply remember my favourite things and I don’t feel so sad…”  
When I was thanking my late parents for their blessings for such a wonderful experience, I then realised that the day was my father’s birth day and probably it was a little gift from him!