I have felt many times that I am able to judge situations and people , though it did work in many instances, sometimes , I have been proven wrong. There have been many incidents that may appear to be small or insignificant, but they do make an impact and we are forced to change our opinion about people , forcing us to do some self analysis .
I quote a few incidents from my life and how each one of those were a learning process for me in different ways..
This incident took place a couple of years ago. I used to travel frequently to Bangalore whenever I got a long weekend to spend time with my friends and family , while i lived in Mangalore which was about 350 kms away from Bangalore. I would normally take a night bus from Mangalore which reached Bangalore early the next morning…
It was one such weekend when I boarded a private bus heading for Bangalore….within about 3-4 kms of driving we the passengers realised that the driver was completely drunk, he was swerving and barely missed hitting a two wheeler and finally did scrape a truck and the two drivers got into a war of words at which our fellow got the better of the other in verbal abuse and the truck driver realised that he was beaten , so left , after which a few of us passengers got together and took the Bus driver to task. He was made to drink 1 bottle of water as advised by an elderly gentleman ‘ to dilute his system’, and all the time the Driver kept talking non stop in ‘tulu’ the local language bragging about his various adventures as to how he had driven all over the state while he had had even more liquor in his system.
Finally he agreed that he was may be a little high ,but once he had a proper meal everything would be fine.
He stopped at a small roadside cafe that he frequented and had a meal , as we all waited.Just then one of the passengers looked out and saw him making way to a small country liquor shop next to the cafe…..some of the men ran to the shop and found the fellow buying 2 packets of country liquor, which, when asked, according to him was for future use while at Bangalore, since that particular brand was not available in Bangalore !
He drove alright after that but none of the passengers slept , because there was no way we could trust him with that liquor outside and inside him, thankfully he managed to reach Bangalore safely. All in all it was quite an experience.
But as he spoke all through the journey we could only pity him. He had been driving non stop for nearly 20 hours without peoper food and sleep.The only pleasure he was able to get out of his hard working day was by downing a couple of drinks. He did not make enough money to buy any branded stuff, so he was buying locally made cheap country liquor.It made me realise that it is better not to make harsh judgement of people without knowing all the circumstances..
Now for the Second incident :-
While I was studying at Udipi , the introductory speech was full of do’s and don’ts by the various professors and the Dean regarding the institution rules and behavior on campus. Hostelites had more of this set of do’s and dont’s by the teaching staff and the hostel warden, with all of them asking us to be careful while we go to the Beach, since Malpe Beach at Udipi was a kind of a social hotspot for all the students from various institutes at Manipal and other surrounding areas. And on top of the list of this Dont’s was to keep away from all the fisherfolks who lived close to beach in small hutments. According to the staff and others too, they drank, womanised, got into brawls ,looted, you name it….so we genearally kept away from them, as we did get to see them trying to order us around ( as we thought) asking us to go back to the hostel at night and generally breathing down our neck and being a nuisance while we were enjoying ourselves on the beach.
A few months down the line 4 of our college mates , coming from the interior parts of North India, without realising that it was high tide with strong currants , went too far into the sea and were taken away by the waves even, as we were all watching. Everybody was too stunned ,shocked not knowing what to do? suddenly we saw this group of fishermen who were getting ready with their boats to go for the night fishing, abandon their routine and go out to sea and search and finally manage to bring in 2 of the boys who were all but dead. They between themselves managed to organise a car and took the boys to the hospital ,because of which effort the boys survived. Later alll of us waited on the beach as they carried on with the search for the other 2 missing boys . We returned to the hostel and informed the warden and the management about the tragedy and what had happened.
Early next morning many of us students, staff and management went to the beach where we found that the fishermen had carried on with their search all through the night and had found the body of one of the boys . We could see that they were feeling very miserable about it. They continued the search all through the day, without going for fishing, which was the only source of income they had, with all their families staying on the beach trying to pacify all of us and bringing in tender coconut water and food for their tired men folk.
We were all eternally thankful to them for all that they had done. When all of us staff and students collected some money and tried to give them they flatly refused to accept it. According to them Sea was their life and livelihood .They revered it and felt it their duty to protect , educate people who do not know how to treat their mother (Sea). That’s why they kept warning us as there can be sudden tidal waves when the tide turns which they are well aware of ! …..as one of them later put it, we need to know her moods and act accordingly…how mistaken we were about judging and categorising them. They proved that they were made of stronger stuff and could be depended on at anytime !