It was a rainy day of 2007. As usual Sachin and I got down from our 7th floor rented apartment to have a ” morning cutting chai”. Cutting Chai in India is a 1/2 cup tea generally preferred over large quantity. Irony is – people drink as much as 8-10 cuttings a day not realizing it. I was to go to office after that small tea time and Sachin, back to get ready for office. Evident, I was in formals with my laptop bag. We were talking and enjoying that our tea with some drizzle. The perfect thing – tea during the rain!
This morning too, without any exception the day for all those small temporary shop owner was starting. The temporary shops are established in the morning and wrapped-up – literally – in evening (many times without a trace). Generally, you may find an ecosystem of shops in India (specially in Mumbai). A chai-wala (tea stall) next to a idly-dosa or Sandwich (breakfast) stall. These things become complementary and good business ecosystem as well as service ecosystem for people.
We were enjoying tea and Sunil – a paratha wala (temporary shop – sample image) came. He had his paraphernalia in a hand driven cart (Thela gadi – sample image). He asked for help to chai-wala (being neighbor and knowing each other). Reason was – his thela gadi was not balanced and he had to take down stuff, in fact go back and bring something more too. Chai-wala refused – “its raining and blah blah..”. I found it strange, told “him tomorrow you may need his help”. He laughed. I felt bad at the plight of the paratha wala, kept my bag aside went out of shade helped him take stuff down. As it was raining, I was wet and had some blots on shirt because of his few dirty things. I felt happy helping Sunil in need, though I got wet and my shirt was dirty. But the help was selfless act. The whole day my morale was high and I felt very happy.
Recently when I started reading Sikh literature I see emphasis on selfless act (seva). Seva is preached by the Art of Living foundation as well. Really if you help someone or do something without expecting any returns you feel very good. Just start doing it… ok try it. I bet if you would not enjoy doing it.
Remember – no expectation and complete selfless act.