May 7, 2012
Yes, without an iota of doubt, an ounce of luck can work wonders and far outweighs tons of effort; as it happened in my case. Way back in 1974, just as I took a lift from an obscure taxi driver from the then Santa Cruz Airport to Kalina where my sister lived, this strange event took place.
I was alone, returning from Muscat on leave. I got into the waiting taxi that was at the helm of a huge serpentine cue, to pick a fare. He was a Sardar, and no sooner did I get into the taxi than I began to settle the luggage. Then I told him to proceed to Kalina.
Trouble began to brew at once. The Sardar started to demand that having waited in the cue for long, I must pay the fare that amounts to the equivalent of the distance to Taj Hotel. But I would have nothing of it and would part with only what his meter asked. The Sardar, would also not budge. Either pay the full fare to the Taj Hotel or face the consequences. I preferred the latter. I felt I was right and the Sardar thought that he was, for he had waited for so long to pick his fare only to end up with picking a fare that would amount to a measly sum of even less than Rs 10!!.
He dropped me at my sister’s place and I looked into the meter and paid him what the meter directed. On offering the fare, the Sardar would have nothing of it, he threatened, “Either pay the fare that amounts to the distance to the Taj or he would barge into my sister’s house and get ‘his due’!.
Now I found myself in a piquant situation. Seeing me in my own territory, I began to display some false pretence of machismo. I raised myself to the higher pedestal of an NRI and let my brother in law do the talking. And mind you, all this bravado is only over a measly sum of less than Rs 10!! My brother in law threatened the Sardar to go by the meter or get off.
I paid him his fare, nothing more, though, heart of heart I felt, he deserved a little consideration but my brother in law prevailed upon me over any act of consideration. The Sardar took the fare, gave me a nasty look, hurled at me those choice Bombay brewed mouthing and zipped off.
Next morning to my horror of horrors, I found I had everything in place except for the handbag that contained my passport, return air ticket, and some other documents. It so happened that the previous night in the melee of fare fixing, I forgot to pick my handbag that I laid by my side in the seat in the taxi.
I could visualize the delight in my inner eye the Sardar was in for. Anyway, as I revealed this fiasco to my brother in law the first question that was put to me was if I had any money in the bag and I said “none”, only the passport, air ticket and some documents. “Go to Kennedybridge and ask for taxi union office”, said my brother in law and I did likewise.
As I was entering the Taxi Union Office at Kennedybridge, the petite receptionist gave me a glance and then crooned over to me the most delightful query that was much more than music to my ear that could have even overshadowed ‘Kolavari Di’. She said, “Are you Mr. Noronha?”
I was in the seventh heaven, no doubt about that. How unlucky I was I thought that if only she were my wife or even a girl friend I would have carried her on my shoulders miles and miles on with joy???
“Yes, I am Noronha.” said I and she crooned again that a Sardar (or was he an angel?) had just come from Ville Parle that early morning and directed that the passport with all the contents intact should be handed over to me after I paid his taxi fare, amounting only to Rs 17 which I paid most willingly and as a matter of fact I would have paid many times over. The very man whom I termed a devil the day before when he demanded fare to the Taj, is now an angel to me. What an irony, what a surprise!!!
“This is the heavenly angel.” I thought and was full of remorse for being what I was to him the previous night. I had fought with him on a silly matter, he could have taken revenge for that, but no, he drove all the way early morning from home the next day, and took only what is most reasonable, no reward, no demand, nothing. If this is not luck what else is?? I yearned to meet him, but I had no way to find him for he left neither address nor telephone number, and those were the days when mobile was still in the limbo.
Now, isn’t it that by sheer luck that I landed none but only this angel of a man of all the other drivers? Could it be that most of the other drivers have done what this good man of God had done after facing such a face-off? Hasn’t he spared me tons and more tons of labor, ordeal and what’s more, anguish? For all that; he perhaps had even saved me of my job in the Gulf.?
Yes, it is “luck”, and not “effort” that is worth hundred-fold over.
On another occasion, when I returned to India in 1987 for good, I had still miles to go before I settled my family, with my eldest son being hardly 14 years old and then other two younger children with years off their teens. It was the peak of my family expenses and here I was with little or no income. I had only enough money for a moderate house with no job. I was bent upon giving the best education to my children and simultaneously determined to have a roof of my own over my head. I was all out to have that proverbial desire, “have the cake and eat it as well” but how?
Anyway my wife got a good job in a convent school and I had all these ambitions but had no job. I went on scanning through all the English dailies and I discovered that one particular advertisement was repeatedly lurking every Sunday, that suited me the best.
However, the employer was very clever to shield his identity and I wondered if I was going on a wild goose chase by applying and approaching for the job. Anyway, I reached the place, and to my dismay I discovered that it was a government office and at the age of 45, a government job, that too in a judiciary, was wide off any short cuts.
I was crestfallen to see the job that suited me the most to slip off my hand. I began to make my way out of the main gate. As I was retreating from the place, the Security Officer asked me why I was returning. I had to tell him that I am 45 and it is not possible to
get into government department.
Capt Chander Singh, the Security Officer who later I came to know rarely ever stands at the main gate but was there that day by a sheer quirk of destiny. What he said then, keeps ringing in my ears even to this day. He is no longer alive but he changed my life for the better, forever: the late Capt. Chander Singh. You know what he told me, “Now that you have come all the way to this place, why don’t you meet the Director and then go!.” Who would ever have said that? I did exactly what the Capt. Chander Singh said, and met the Director, the Retd. Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, and he told me after a brief talk, that I should see him on the 3rd of August,- just three days later - as it is an auspicious day according to him.
I did exactly as he directed and there were over 40 candidates for the post when I appeared on the appointed day, but as luck would have it, I was among the three selected for the post and that helped me to realize all my dreams of life.
Yes, it was luck that turned the table for the better for me. It was my luck that of all the days that Capt Chander Singh happened to stand at the gate on that delightful day. But let me add if luck is combined with effort one is sure to counter any hurdles in life and lead a life that might as well be the envy of many.
However in this connection, I must add, that if one loves one’s neighbor as one loves oneself, and keeps ones head down and work hard to achieve one’s goal, nothing can deter one. We may say it is luck, but I strongly believe, when we say luck, it is nothing but the invisible hand of God that plays the vital role in our lives. Please permit me to record a brief example in this instance that I read recently?
“There was a flood in a small town and everyone was running for safety. A holy man, however, stayed behind saying, “Lord is my shepherd. He will save me.” As the water level rose, a jeep came to rescue him. The man refused repeating, “God will save me.” When the water kept rising the man climbed up to the terrace. A helicopter came to rescue him but he said, “God will save me.” Suddenly lightning struck the man; and he dropped dead. When he reached his Lord in heaven, he said, “My God, I had trust in you. Why didn’t you save me?
The Lord replied, “Didn’t save you! Who do you think sent you the jeep, the boat, and the helicopter?” Yes, faith is the key to counter all overpowering hurdles in life. God guides us in various ways and faith in Him is the ultimate solution. And excuse me if I say, that this Sardar, and Capt. Chander Singh are nothing but only the representatives of God above who played a vital role in my life – the invisible hands.
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