By Arpit Goel:
“The end is just a new beginning.”
I believe in serendipity but never understood its power. I believe in karma but couldn’t imagine its effects. I understood the idea of the never-ending life cycle mentioned to a bunch of volunteers at the Barefoot College. I understood its definition. But the fact that it could change me wasn’t something I was counting on.
I commute regularly via public transport in Delhi. There’s nothing better than a metro and a bus to find your way around the city. Several years ago, the state of Delhi began services of AC buses within the National Capital Region (NCR) territory at nominally higher prices than those offered by regular buses. They issue daily travel passes to commuters at a fairly higher price. The DTC red bus pass is for Rs. 50 with a validity of 24 hours. I bought one such pass on a fine, sunny, June afternoon. Little did I know that my one act of altruism that was to follow would kickstart a journey I would remain oblivious of until now.
Dissatisfied with the return in investment, having travelled only in one bus, I stopped a random man walking along and asked him if he wanted a bus pass for the day and travel for free. He was happy to hear that. Unexpectedly, it turned out he commuted regularly. He thanked me and went on his way. This happened in 2013.
Early this year, I was returning late one night after finishing my hours at an internship I had recently joined. I was in one of those shared cabs that ply on the Ring Road from Safdarjung to Gurgaon, running to ferry call centre employees. A passenger entered after I did, only to get out at the next stop. Before getting out, he offered me a DTC red bus pass with a value of Rs. 50 out of nowhere for my journey ahead. I accepted it and the man was equally happy to give it away.
Life had come full circle that night. My belief in serendipity was transformed into conviction. A random act of kindness of passing the benefit of a bus pass and reaping it in the same form reaffirmed my faith in human goodness. We often ignore tiny moments for towering achievements. Some reflection can show the merit of lessons that come from obscure experiences. I saw merit in the ‘chakra of life’ professed by Mrs. Aruna Roy when I was one of the 23 volunteers of Pravah ICS during a Q & A session at the world renowned Barefoot College in Tilonia village. The lesson assigns impetus to every action I take.
It might be a minuscule event among a whole lot of events in our big wide world. But it changed the paradigm for a nonbeliever like me. I believe in the power to create change if one believes. It resonates with my belief in ‘karma’. This experience gives me reason every day to become an increasingly positive and hopeful individual.