February 11, 2010

The Sikh

Maybe it was my comment about hating geting ripped off all he time in India that the Sikh man spontaneously paid for all of our taxi cab on our way to Howrah train station. At such an early hour we didn't have the option of a bus, so were unpleasantly forced to splurge on a cab. But instead of having to pay the 50 Rs (as opposed to 6) this complete stranger who happened to be sharing the cab, also shared and in fact completely paid for our fare. It was an act of kindness that was no only unexpected but almost absurdly generous since he paid double what he would have had to pay for himself. Though we insisted against his offer, he insisted in return, feeling bad that we as foreigners had always been cheated here in India. He didn't want us to have that impression of his country. He proceeded to show us how to buy our tickets, get reserved seats, and find our plaform entirely out of good-heartedness, and in the end even handed us his card and requested we get in touch to go visit him in Jashedpur. Though I still canno tell he difference between rue Indian altruism and the type of niceness that expects eiher money, business, or sex in return, I had an instinct that this man was honestly of the former category. It is a bit insane how everyone I meet appears to be either entirely evil or absolutely good. I suppose it is appropriate as I come to understand India's identity as a country of extremes.

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