Forgiveness3 mins 121 3 mins 121
It was one of those scorching dry summer afternoons when tempers boil at the drop of a hat and tongues and limbs are let loose at slightest provocation. My husband had just left my five year old son and me in a market place to shop and headed to the office. The sight of freshly peeled green cucumber complimented with salt and pepper sold on a trolley across the road tempted me. I bought one of those and both of us began to devour it. My son wanted the added luxury of sitting and there being no options available he perched his little body on a stray motorcycle parked nearby. I casually asked him to get off from a stranger’s bike and he took my advice just as casually. Just a few moments had passed when a fearful expression shadowed the boy’s face and I noticed that the motorcycle was unsteady. Just in the nick of time I pulled him towards myself and the motorcycle fell in the opposite direction. There was a thud, a bang and a clang. Something had broken. Loudly. I looked at my son. The expression on his face lingered between post traumatic and pre catastrophic (in anticipation of my reaction).
Someone rushed and put the motorcycle back on the stand. I had only begun to examine what had broken that its owner appeared from nowhere. He must have been in late teens or early twenties. Looked little educated, financially weak and crossed. He had every right to be crossed. He pointed to the head light. The frame holding the head light had taken the full impact of the fall and had dislocated from the center. He touched the headlight. Its grip had loosen or broken and it was nodding as if in affirmation. There were some more dents and scratches and one of the rear indicators were gone. For someone like him in a developing country like ours a motorcycle is not only worth a lot but is also very useful. I did not know my stand. What was I to do or say? My child had not committed a crime by sitting on the bike. And yet this young man had suffered loss because of us. I waited for him to say something. Given his young age and the temper that accompanies these years he could have strike my boy. I would have retaliated but it would have left indelible impact on the child’s psyche. Given his little education he could have hurled a few abuses at us. At best he could have asked me for a hefty compensation way beyond the actual damage and I would not have been able to bargain because I have no knowledge of these things and could not estimate the repair expenses. In those moments destiny had given an upper hand to this poor uneducated young man over me- a well off, well-educated, more mature woman.
I waited for him to speak. He went on examining the bike.
“What do we do?” I asked at last
“You go. I will take care of it myself.”
For once I thought of giving him at least some money for the broken indicator, dents and scratches but that would have belittled his noble act of forgiving us. It was so gallant a gesture, so pure a moment of humanity that anything I had said or done would have spoiled it. We left without a word.
That day by the dusty roadside a poor, uneducated boy gave my son perhaps one of the best gifts of his life—a lesson in forgiveness.