Well Done Stranger!

It was a time when a girl, or anyone else for that matter, could be alone at home and still feel safe, without locking up all the doors. Her father left to work handing her some money, for the dress which she wanted to buy. Her thoughts were interrupted by the greetings of a woman. There, standing by the door was someone quite familiar in the neighborhood. A single mother who had shouldered the burden of raising five little children. A well known maid among the well off. The woman started to tell her story, how she became sick and could not earn her usual wage, and that her children were under fed. Desperation made the woman to pour her heart out to a girl who was barely fourteen. The girl stopped the woman from continuing. The only reason being not to hurt a mother’s pride. That instant, she knew the money in her hand was a necessity for the woman in front of her. The woman thanked the girl with tear filled eyes which said…well done stranger.

It was another time, with little less of the present hustle and bustle. Walking was the norm back then, and riding a bicycle was considered a luxury. As usual, this man was going home on his bicycle, with all the goods he had bought for his beloved family. He had a satisfied smile on his face, indicating that he was providing a comfortable life for his family. Before he knew what had happened, he was flat on the ground. Goods scattered everywhere. The bags he was carrying torn badly. The culprit was nowhere to be seen. Then came a gentle tap on his shoulder. An old woman was offering him some plastic bags to gather his belongings. There were others on the road, but she was the only one kneeling to help. He thanked her. His appreciative nod said…well done stranger.

Now comes a much recent time, on a weekend filled with all kinds of noises at the crowded Villingili Ferry Terminal. Mothers were trying to soothe their young ones. Fathers looking very important as they tried to teach their sons a bit about life. Couples chatting away happily. The long awaited ferry slowly lodged at the jetty. The on-board passengers started to disembark hastily. As the chaos slowly dissipated, a shaggy and heavily wrinkled man emerged at the ferry exit. He made an attempt to get off. He could not. He seemed too weak to make it on his own. He extended an arm, silently shouting out for assistance, but none came. Even the terminal guard gave a blind eye. Out of the blue, a stranger came for his aid. The stranger took hold of his arm and helped him to the platform. At that moment, the old man patted on his shoulder which said it all…well done stranger.

In this world, people pass by our lives so swiftly that sometimes we do not notice them- strangers. We, ourselves, are strangers amongst us. Let us all take a moment to understand, that we can become the stranger who did well.


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