It was a summer vacation when I was around nine years old. I was visiting my uncle, who lived in a small village; in an old, tile-roofed house.
One afternoon I was just dawdling around the house like I did every noon back then and at a corner near the back door I saw something wriggling on the earth. It was something small, reddish brown, and I just had to see what it was, naturally… When I got near enough to examine it I saw something bald, with a tail and four tiny legs.
It was a newborn mouse and even its eyes weren’t open yet. It must have fallen from the rafters above. It was small, helpless, and cute; I had no choice but to take it under my protection; and I did just that.
I picked it up gently and put it in a small cardboard box. I tried to feed it with cotton dipped in milk. After some time my aunt found out what I was up to and advised me, very patiently, that it was no good and I should abandon my efforts.
Finally I agreed that the baby mouse should be left on the rafters, so its mother could find it, and handed it to my uncle. That was my smallest pet and for the shortest period.
Last year my mother’s uncle had a heart surgery and I had to visit him at a rural hospital in ‘Wardha’, near Nagpur. The hospital was big, clean and well equipped but the surrounding area was unkempt and crowded with people from villages all around.
We talked for a while; me and my great uncle; about his health, then about family, then his village and finally about weather and then I asked him if he needed anything; for as soon as I had stepped in his room his grandson who was attending to him had excused himself and hadn’t returned. My great uncle said he’d like some orange juice so I went to get it at a juice center outside the hospital grounds. On my way back an old man who was sitting at the main gate beckoned me and very politely said, “It’s really embarrassing, but my daughter didn’t bring my lunch yet and I’m getting really hungry.” He seemed from a good family. Well clothed, combed and clean. I felt bad for him and gave him a 100 Rupees note. He turned the note a few times in his hands in disbelief and I couldn’t stand there and watch.
After giving my great uncle his juice I peaked from the window. The old man was still sitting there near the distant gates and explaining something to a man in blue suit. The man rummaged in his pockets and gave the old man some money. Again the old man turned the note in his hands and the man in blue suit left, wearing sympathy and satisfaction on his face.
I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe people could deceive you in such ways. I was shocked that I had been made fool so easily.
But then, you can’t stop helping others just because of this kind of…. People.