Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Candy smelling Bappa

SreeNair | 5:55 AM | |

“Our soul longs to be of service in some way. It's why we are here. If you weren't meant to touch the world in some way, you wouldn't be here. What act of service calls to you? Even the smallest thing has an effect in eternity.”
― Eileen Anglin

re you marooned at City Bu Stand in Kasaragod? Do you find no transport to your remote village in the night? Sathar could be somewhere near to take you home.

His father would not come back. He knows it too well but hops on hope:”Some day, he would be spotted in town at a wee hour. I need to take him home.”

In June it does not rain but pours in these part of the country .Sathar summons back the vivid memory of an early June day in 1979, when as a kid clinging to his Bappa’s fingers was on their way to the Subah at Talangara mosque. After the Subah Namaskar he followed his father to the railway station waving him off to Bombay. Hassainar,his bappa(father) was a sailor with MV Kairali ,a merchant vessel owned by Kerala Shipping corporation. It was enroute for Rostock in Germany crewed by a team of 51 aboard. The ship was lost at mid sea moving at a good clip to Jibutha in Africa for fuelling. There were no news of shipwreck that left the family with faint promise of return. Rumours had it that the ship was sunk either in a PLI operation or hijacked by sea-pirates.

Hassainar was dear to the villagers and the family alike. It was his second marriage to Sathar’s mother Rukhiya. They were Darby and Jhon. When he was home, it was gaiety and merrymaking like a wedding day. The separation was a rude shock to his mother and after two years she died nursing the agony. Sathar stopped school going. He helped his uncle in laterite-wall-constructions. He forgot his father. Life was a treadmill.

Sathar once stumbled upon a man in the bus stand at midnight with his six year old boy –a cancer patient. With them on the pillion he rode 70 Km in that night through the rugged terrain to the remote destination, telling them that he is also on to the same place. His method is to accost the estranged passenger, ask where he wanted to go and reassure the poor mortal that he is also going to the same place and will only be pleased if he would not mind sharing the pillion. The heartfelt words like:”let God grace you” are the fuel for his two wheeler .He has a method in his madness. Safe home, he would say the truth that the journey was actually meant as a help. It was a make-belief, a clever ruse else they would fight shy off and resign. The child’s father was so happy that he embraced him, tears of gratitude run down his cheeks.

Another night a man spotted running on the road in panic was rushed to the Railway station on his scooter. The man’s wife was to undergo a surgery next day at Chennai. He was to deposit a tidy sum of money before the surgery and was in the town to scrape together enough cash .When they reached the station the west Coast was ready to leave.

Sathar was there to help many –whose name was even not known to him. He did not wish anything as return favour.

In yet another night a Muslim scholar on his way to Sa-Adiya,Deli Arabic college was left high and dry in the city stand. Sathar took him to the college. The Ustad was persistently looking for a quid pro quo. Sathar after much coaxing accepted 1Re coin as a token-the token of love. The routine for years gets intercepted scarcely, only when he is confined to home due to fever or is away on inescapable preoccupations. On Hartal days he would roam in the town looking for the marooned.

Sathar is known to all the beat-police in town. They used to warn him over the risks in driving in the night for long and remote hamlets .Sathar leaves his life in the hands of God. There are three in his vehicle –The pillion passenger, himself and the God.

Not just well-wish and prayer alone, but he had to fair share of bitter experiences galore. Once a youth half way to the Railway station got off and happily walked away .When he searched his pocket for the 500 Rs fresh note he kept ,he found that he was pick pocketed. Sathar did not nurse any grudge. His penury, his incomplete house on two cents or the liabilities did not deter him from the noble cause.

Once he took a man in the lurch at KSRTC bus stand who wanted to reach a remote place called Buttikadavu ,a good 35 Km away from the stand. On reaching the destination, as being wont to him, he disclosed that he has biked these distances only to help him. He was invited to stay in his house for the night which he promptly declined .They exchanged their mobile numbers. On the way back he was intercepted by a gang of thugs who wanted to know his mission there. As he could not recollect the name of the place where he left the stranger-friend they took their dagger out. He revved the engine up, sped past through the narrow alleys- clutching his life in his hands, the gang being close behind. Somehow he took asylum in a house beside the road. The Battikadavu passenger was rung up and the man came with his associates for his safety. Sathar remembers of similar incidents in the course of his adventures.

There will usually be ten to fifteen people in a day left helpless, as without transport. There will be someone who is disabled or a man who is desperate to reach to his place, whether it be a short hop or long rides. For these men he waits in the night.

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Courtesy to an article written by Rubin Joseph in Mathrubhumi Malayalam daily on 8th April 2018


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