Extra Ordinary Gentleman
Extra Ordinary Gentleman
“Extraordinary isn’t the antonym of ‘Extra Ordinary’;
Extraordinary is something remarkable, whereas ‘extraordinary’ simply means very ordinary or more ordinary”
We don’t need extraordinary human beings in our lives, we need extraordinary.
Summer, (A city in India), 12 Noon, Month of April
My two-wheeler’s engine died after sputtering for a while. I ran out of fuel. Where did my calculations go wrong? Usually, I fill it up with Rs.30 or Rs.40 worth of petrol and I make sure it runs for 25 Kms. My speedometer doesn’t work, so I calculate the distance in my mind whenever I take out my motor-bike for a spin. The fuel station closer to me is about a mile away. How am I supposed to walk along dragging this dead weight automobile for one and a half kilometer?
The scorching heat is burning as if I got stuck on a volcanic crater. My interview is scheduled at 12:30. If I do not make it on time, I’ll miss the opportunity. This is my 88th job interview. Yes, you’ve heard it right, my 88th!
I was a university topper, got a job in one of the finest companies, got married to the most beautiful and respectable girl in my community. Then, I got possessed with the “start-up” demon and went bonkers in doing business on my own. I quit my high-flying job. I took a loan from my retired parents, in-laws, banks, and relatives. For operational expenses, I sold my car and my wife’s jewels to sustain my entrepreneurial dream.
A couple of years went by and I knew the wheel wasn’t moving ahead any further. All my financial numbers bleed red. There wasn’t any profit and I decided to shut it down once it for all. For the past four months, I’ve been attending a series of interviews to prove my mettle as a marketing genius and business consultant manager – but the corporates only think I’m just another useless maniac.
I remove my helmet and suspended it on my side mirror for support and I dragged my motorbike to the petrol pump. Sweat rolled down from my forehead, cheeks, chin, and finally landing on the hot, black tar road. In a distance, I saw a mirage and a few heavy vehicles passing on the opposite side of the road.
It is a period for summer vacation, wherein the schools and colleges are closed. It must be 45 deg Celsius and thus there is very minimalistic traffic on the road. I can’t ask anyone for help, rather I need to push myself harder to reach my destination.
Even in my life, the scenario remains the same - when I failed, there wasn’t anybody to help me. No friends, relatives, kit, and kin to show me a path. All I wanted was to get into a job. One of the bits of advice they gave and till now I maintain is I never disclose to the interviewers that I was a failed entrepreneur. I told the interviewers, I took a break for medical treatment. A fake medical certificate is still in my file.
I didn’t have the courage to express or explain my failures to the person who is ready to trust me with a job.
This interview is very important to me. If I miss this, I don’t have any other interviews scheduled for the next three months. The economy is pretty bad and already lay-offs are the hottest topic trending in the corporate sector.
After dragging the two-wheeler for five minutes, I pause for a moment to take a few breaths before I continue my journey. My phone buzzed in vibration as I get an SMS from my wife,
‘My dad slapped my face…
We had a heated discussion in the morning about returning the money they’ve invested in our business…
I’m just so pissed off with my parents…
Message me once your interview gets over….’
My wife’s an angel. She gave me her parent’s retirement fund, her jewels, and her little savings too for my venture. And now I’m unable to even buy her new clothes or take her out to dinner. She still believes in me that I might achieve something.
She asks me to pray every day and also gave me a ring to wear. Being an atheist myself, I believe in science and facts. The ring is still with me in my trouser pocket, the ash she kept on my forehead is getting wiped off by the perspiration. I start dragging my motorbike once again, this time my heartbeat speeded-up as if I’m running a marathon.
I’m drained physically and mentally.
I cannot haul my bike; I cannot haul my life any further.
My wife’s voice keeps ringing in my ear, “have faith and hope, something will take you where you wish to be”
I spoke to myself then, don’t know if this is called prayer, but I just told myself ‘Please someone help me, someone, to save me from this mess… I shall be grateful…. Please’
Out of the bloom, there was a two-wheeler rider who zoomed past me. He stopped his motorbike and waited for me to join him. The distance between us could have been about 20 feet. The quickest I hauled my motorbike was in these twenty feet.
He was a middle-aged man, his head was confined inside his helmet, he was wearing a riding glass, I could not see his face. Only his voice I could hear,
“I’m guessing you ran out of petrol. How will you manage until the next fuel station?”
I simply nodded my head. I don’t know, and he did understand.
“I’ll do one thing. Just hop onto your bike, I’ll toe it till the petrol bunk” he said.
I don’t know how this will work. I’ve seen many people toeing two-wheeler and autorickshaws with the help of another two-wheeler, but never have experienced it so far in my life.
I obeyed, just as my good Samaritan told.
I sat on my lifeless motorcycle, holding firmly onto my bike’s handlebar, I waited for the experience. Magic happened. My motorcycle was in motion. I looked behind to see the right leg of the motorist pushing the number-plate mudguard of my bike and he was carefully focusing on his driving so as to not lose the balance. One small mistake, and both of us will fall together.
But he managed like a pro. Looks like he has given such helping hand, sorry helping leg to many such stranded souls. Stranded in the road, stranded in life.
In less than five minutes we reached the petrol station and he slowly released his leg so that my bike automatically makes its way to the fuel filling pavilion.
“Thanks a lot, bro…” I shouted.
He didn’t respond. He didn’t have the time to stop his motorcycle either. He just lifted his right arm and signaled a thumbs-up before he twirled the accelerator of his motorcycle. Within a few seconds, in the puff cloud of smoke, he vanished in the speeding highway.
“Good Evening Sir. You’re right in time for the interview. Let me ask the HR personnel to take you through the process”
The lady at the reception desk of the company I came for interview greeted me.
I took out the ring which my wife gave me and wore it confidently on my right-hand index finger.
The HR personnel went through my resume and cleared some background verification. Two rounds of technical test and one psychometric test was conducted online and I cleared it all. The final round was a one-to-one discussion with the managing director and founder of the company.
The interview went on very well. The discussion alone lasted for more than 90 minutes and from the body-language of the MD, I could feel that he was thoroughly impressed. And I did something which I haven’t done so far in my past 87 interviews.
I took out my fake medical report and tore it right in front of his eyes. I confessed that I’ve been lying so far in all my interviews that my 30 months gap in my resume is because of some medical treatment.
“It’s not true sir. I wanted to become somebody like you. I started my own firm and it collapsed. I didn’t have the courage to tell the other recruiters. I was feeling ashamed. I was feeling reckless that during my times of distress, no one gave their helping hand. My entire society and community looked down upon me… But from now on I am not going to lie…”
“What made you confess now?” the MD asked
“Today when I was stuck in the middle of the road, one guy helped me. He made me realize there are people who’re still out there with little humanity left who selflessly help others to come up in life. All I needed was a little push after all, and I got it. Why be ashamed of being me? Why feel embarrassed about being honest to face the real consequences of life? Even if you reject me, its fine Sir. I’ll keep looking for a job, but this time I have confidence that if I’m stuck someone out there will help me get through”
15 Days Later
My wife hugged and cried as I received the offer letter from that same company.
2 Years Later
She delivered a cute little baby boy.
Till this date, I haven’t seen the motorist’s face, nor I noticed his vehicle number plate so that I could trace him, I do not know any whereabouts. He was just an ordinary gentleman who did something extra which made my life extraordinary.
Do not lose hope on humanity, still, there are selfless individuals out there who toe the extra mile to help you. And there are many others wanting your help too.
Whenever I see someone stranded on the road, I help them – as a gratitude for my good Samaritan.
I owe this story to him.