of the week!!
It was almost 10 in the night and I had to wait for a client to pick up his order. We finalized that we will be meeting in Borivali West (Mumbai). As a founder sometimes you have to become the delivery boy, peon and even a driver. I left my office quite late in the evening, handed over the orders for the day to the courier guys and left from the office.
It was almost 10 and the client told me that he will be an hour late. Realizing that it will get quite late when I reach home for dinner, I started looking for a Restaurant. The worst thing about living in Bombay is that there are no Dhabas unlike in Delhi where every next Nukkad had an amazing Punjaabi Dhabha. But then we have small roadside stall of food which are a little unhygienic during Monsoons but otherwise quite good.
I saw a small stall of Dosa and Idli while I was searching for a small Restaurant. My friends in Bombay generally taunt me of playing too safe when it comes to experimenting with Roadside food, so I thought it might be a good option to try the dosas here. The place was not crowded so I went ahead and ordered one.
This small stall was run by a wife and husband who are originally from Tamil Nadu. A bulb lighting on the top which was taking its power supply from a small Chemical Battery. There were just two small Tawas, few plates and couple of containers to store Idli, Masala for Dosa, Chatni and the Dosa-Ghol. A very small stall from the normal standards of Mumbai. I was a little sceptical if the food with be good or not.
While I was served the hot Dosa, a Broom Seller who was carrying all the brooms on his cycle was passing by with his small daughter who was sitting on the cycle while he was walking with it. The Dosa guy asked the ‘Jhaduwale Bhaiya’ – Idli khayega? The guy stopped and said yes. The wife took almost 6-10 idlis from the container and started frying it with Masala and asked the ‘Jhaduwale Bhaiya’ to give her a carry bag or some container in which he can carry the food to home. The broom seller unfortunately didn’t have any. I opened up my bag, took a carry bag out and handed over to the women making the Dosa.
After the broom seller left with his dinner, I asked the man who was making Dosa for his wife – Why didn’t you ask for at least half the money? The guy replied, “Sir, If he would have something to give back he would have given it to me himself”. When I asked that if he give food for free on daily basis he replied, “Din mein ek toh acha kaam karun. Waise bhi aaj ka idli kal thodi naa use karunga”. I was surprised to see that how a small guy who runs a small stall of Dosa in this Big City of Dreams take care of the small goodness he can infuse in this mad world where we all are running behind money and nothing else.
I ordered one more Dosa after the incident I witnessed and thought I would chat a little more.
But a lady came with her daughter to have Dosa. The lady was quite overweight and was afraid to sit on the small wooden board the Dosa guy had kept near his stall. The wooden board was kept on two big concrete block and the lady was afraid that it might get damaged with her weight. Scared she sat and fortunately it didn’t broke.
The wife of the Dosa guy was having her dinner sitting on the same plank – Few idlis and a Dosa.
The lady asked, “Do you guys eat Dosa and Idli on daily basis?” Obviously the answer was yes.
While the guy was making the dosa for the lady and her daughter, she asked, “Do you want 2 heavy wooden benches for your shop? There are kept in my house and are of little use to me. If you want them come and pick it up tomorrow morning for free.” And she gave the address and phone number to the wife who was having dinner sitting near her.
This all happened in 20 minutes. I was certainly not shocked but really happy to see that this world still has wonderful people who believe in the random act of goodness. I have practiced it many times in my daily life after listening to Nipun Mehta talk about ‘Designing for Generosity’ and practice it often in 21fools too. The results are amazing. But for the first time I saw how Karma works and that too within 20 minutes.
A man who must not be earning too much to save for his family on daily basis is taking care of him and his family by doing one act of goodness a day. What can be more wonderful than feeding a hungry soul with Fried Masala Idli before he calls it a day? What can be more wonderful than giving away something for free to people who need it more than you?
Let’s keep the goodness alive!