I was dropping my mom to the Pune Lohegaon airport one night with my friend, Zia. On the way back, we stopped at a paan-shop opposite Symbiosis College, Lohegaon and Zia being a Banarasi, couldn’t resist a pan.
The guy making the pan was around 21 years of age. I was speaking in English with Zia discussing the medical problem of osteo-arthritis as I was a little sentimental on seeing off Maa and didn’t want the pan-wala to understand and judge me.
He was doing his job, making his paan and secretly listening to our talks. In the end, he softly replied,
“Don’t worry my brother, she will be fine by the grace of Allah. I will pray for her. Also, ask her to rub aloe-vera stems over her paining joints as I read they work wonders.”
And he said these exact words! In English! I was perplexed! What he told me next was startling.
He was a graduate in B.Com from his hometown, had to start a paan shop here to earn money and was presently doing distant correspondence for MBA (Post-graduation) from Symbiosis!
He said he studies in the night, is a news-paper vendor in the morning and runs thepaan-shop during the day till 11 PM night!
I believe when people like him could care for education to this extent, work towards developing their future to the next unimaginable level and work towards it with total dedication, miracles are bound to happen.
A very small example but yes, he showed me that my India and my Indians are changing, for the best. :’)