The day I crossed river Beas on, a very simple and rustic, boat, I learnt so many lessons of my life. I learnt that it is ingenuity and honesty that drives certain people wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing. And I got an answer to a query that often had raised its ugly head during the entire 2010 that who are the people that run our country if the corruption level has increased so much. Well, God wanted me to meet one of them and that too in a very remote areas of Mandi, at Sanda Pattan near Sandhole.
He told me that his name was Pinku and he worked for a contractor. His job is to carry people from one shore to the other of river Beas.As there was only one boat in sight and I was confused as how to cross the river if he was not there. He smiled at me and told that he lived nearby and is available most of the time. Local people even call him on mobile at odd hours if they need his services. Whether this was a service without any “overtime” allownace or perhaps he must be charging exorbitantly for untimely calls, I thought. What if he asks for some amount of money as fare from me as well, as I was a stranger and a novice, I thought.
As it was my first visit and I was ignorant of the charges for crossing the river. When I reached safely the other bank of the river, I asked him how much money I had to pay. “Five Rupees” he said softly. I was taken aback. It was too meager a sum for his services and especially when there were only three passengers on his boat. I gave him Ten rupee note and asked him to keep that. Can you believe what did he say? He refused to take ten rupees from me when the fare was only five rupees! I was dumbstruck! I wanted to take a picture of his boat. He stood on his boat looking at my camera. “Can I get a picture?” he asked me. “Sure, I’ll send you some,” I said. “I need the ones that are used on forms” he explained. He wanted to have passport sized pictures. I explained to him that I would be able to send him ordinary pictures but not the ones that he needed. He quietly listened to me. When I started the ascent through the rocky path, he waived his hand and shouted, ” send me copies of these pictures”. I watched from some height and saw his boat move to another side of the river. His contentment, attitude and service taught me a great lesson.
I got an answer to the query that if India has so many of corrupt persons than how come we still are not only surviving but flourishing as well. It is because there are persons like Pinku who abound every walk of life in India who still believe and practice honest.