Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Auto or Gift??

God sends gifts in various forms....
Hey wait... This is not a spiritual post, but one that tells you how my faith in God worked for me, as it always has :)

The 5th of December was a very important day for me, because I had a paper presentation in a writer's meet.
The presentation was important for a lot of reasons:
One, I have not taken the stage for about 10 plus years now.
Two, I cannot keep it short when I talk ( or write, to be honest) and I had just eight minutes to say all I wanted to say on the topic.
Three, I am talking about a subject that everyone knows, so I cannot afford to make mistakes.
Four, my stage fear is very popular with me and my circle of friends.
Five, the audience will have a lot of new comers to the field and I have the responsibility of setting a good example.

The presentation was scheduled at 8:30 A.M and I set out promptly at 7:20A.M. I had estimated about 10 minutes to hire an auto to the venue and about forty minutes of travel. Even if the traffic is heavy( which is very rare on a Saturday morning in Bangalore), I can still be there on time, was my thought.

I took an auto and after clarifying the directions for him, I sat back relaxed, only to find at the next traffic signal, that the auto driver had got confused. After a minor attempt to clarify, I stepped out of the auto ( The auto driver was nice enough to let me know he was completely lost) and waited for the next. The next auto driver was headed to a place called Majestic and he was happy to take me there..[ This happens only with Bangalore autos.. but, it is not a bad idea.. I guess in future, we will have autos in Bangalore that ply between two places and we would have to wait at the appropriate stop to hail autos to specific destinations..].. Though I liked the idea that I have to be going to where the auto was headed and thought that it was brilliant enough for a future implementation, I was not going to Majestic, so had to let the auto go. Then, there were others who had a problem with the road, with the metro constructions, with the route and with the traffic.

When I looked at the watch, it was 7:50A.M. If I get the auto right then, I have a fair chance to reach the venue at 8:30A.M and then to walk inside the campus is going to take me another 5 minutes, which means I will be able to start my presentation 5 minutes late.... Not at all what I expected., But then, the norm says 'Expect the Unexpected'....and clearly I had NOT expected that hailing an auto can be as difficult as it seemed that morning.

I said a quiet prayer stating that I cannot go late and God has to do something about an auto immediately. I took a random turn on one of the cross roads and found two autos there. It surely was not an auto stand. I saw one of the drivers reading the morning's news paper. Of course, worldwide everyone reads news, except me and brushing aside the thought of disturbing his peaceful morning, I approached the driver. He said, he is waiting for the clock to strike 8:00 when he has a school trip, and so would not be able to come. He directed me towards another auto.

On an approximate count, I can say, it was the tenth auto for that morning. It was almost 7:55A.M. This auto driver was an old man, a very old man. I hesitantly asked him if he can take me to race course road. He immediately said, "yes". I was super-thrilled. I hopped on to the auto, and directed him to another stop where a friend of mine joined me. It was 8:05A.M. We had about 20 minutes left to reach the venue. The auto was going at snail's pace. It seemed that the auto driver had decided that one inch a minute is the rate at which he would cover the entire 10 km distance. I prayed once again ( that is all you can do, of course apart from the high temper that you can express at such a slow pace).I told the driver how much this ride meant to us. I told him about the presentation and how we had to be there on time and how much of a trouble it was to find him and how happy we were to have finally taken his auto and that we were very thankful. It was a very natural appreciation and release of tension according to me and somewhere I felt, this man is a good contributor to the success of my presentation although there is no technical connection between me hailing an auto and making the presentation. If not for him, I would still be waiting there or thinking of alternatives ( rare on Saturday mornings in Bangalore) but would not have started off at all.

The auto driver rushed ( according to him) in the normal speed and stopped at the venue in exactly 15 min time. We reached at 8:20 A.M, well in time for the presentation. When we paid the auto fare, he said " I understand that there is something important happening at 8:30 in this place and it means a lot for you to be here on time.. My speed today was according to me, 'Over speed'. I am old and I would have never managed to reach here in 20 minutes from where we started, at my usual pace. I am a very slow driver;I better be, because I am old. But good, you could get here on time."

The previous day, the same drive had taken us forty minutes. On this day, it had taken us 20-25 minutes in all. We thanked this driver and I made it a point to tell him that reaching the venue on time would not have been possible without his help and that we were very grateful.
I would surely say, that this auto driver was a major contributor to my talk that started exactly ten minutes later at 8:35A.M. The delay was due to other reasons, but not me, the speaker.

If I had reached late, I would have faced one of these :
- questioning looks from the audience
- hurried start of the presentation
- slight disorientation that usually results from the hasty start
- incoherent flow of ideas
- less-composed self

All of which, I realized are quite possible for no fault of yours, except not expecting that things can go really really tangentially different from what you expect. That's what makes me think that God sends gifts in various forms and the auto, the auto driver were both God-sent gifts to me - Gifts that let me keep my principle of being on time. I also realized that we dont realize that such timely help gifts that are sent to us time and again, in our every day lives, unless we see them gift-wrapped in a colorful paper with soft pastel colored satin ribbons. But why?


Videhi Visali said...

Well...good things ought to happen for positive thinkers..
Also, let me appreciate the exhastive narration! I have thorougly enjoyed every expression and was almost there with you in that Auto :). After this blog, I'd like to see some plays coming from you :)

Musing Gal said...

Good Narration.. Such anectodes reiterate the fact that the divine power acts in mysterious ways :) The auto guy seems to be a very nice person.
Hope the presentation went on well.

SK said...

Nice one. Good that everything went well..

Waiting for your wonderful 100th post for this year :-)

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