Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Street Experiences


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 13th June 2019, 17:47   #16
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 142
Thanked: 185 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thelonewarrior View Post
we are fortunate enough to live through one of the (relatively) peaceful and safest passages of time in recorded history.

Go out and help whenever you can, we have come this far only by looking after one another!
Agree completely. Let me share a funny incident.
Me and my mom were attending a family function and while returning one of the relatives asked us to take his friend and drop him to Bangalore since our car was free.
This guy was a genuinely nice guy and we had a good conversation. The only big fly in the ointment was that he had a really bad breath. In his eagerness to converse he used to sit in the middle of rear seat and lean forward to talk to us most of the way, . Nevertheless, it was still a positive experience since we liked the person.
gauravanekar is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2019, 19:40   #17
Senior - BHPian
 
aargee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KATSTN
Posts: 4,870
Thanked: 2,733 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Great stories. I myself ride a bit and want to go on long trips; solo or otherwise. Your anecdotes have given me a flavor for what it's like out there on the road
It's all not that crazy as what I penned in that post. There're good simple plain bland ones as well like from Mt Abu to Udaipur, the locals guided to take the highway.

Once I was nearly out of fuel with CBR (in 2011 when I was still learning about the bike) on my way to Pune & I had refuelled at Hosur & started panicking after Tumkur to find no good fuel station. Happened to ask a stranger & he said there's one after 20-30 Km (later I learned it was 5* fuel station at Davangere). At that point in time, he was like a God sent person as I couldn't find anyone on the road walking or bicycling.

During a recent trip to UK, we happened to drive from Dehradun by 4:00 Pm & reach Karnaprayag by 10:30 Pm. I wanted to push towards Almora the same night. Fortunately we stopped & asked a lady (happened to be local chairperson in municipality) & she strongly protested against us driving that night. So we stayed & next day we left from Karnaprayag by 5:40 Am & guess what, we reached Gwaldham by 11:30 Pm, such were the bad condition of the roads. Had we not asked those strangers, I don't know if I would be even posting this today.

Last but not the least, few years ago, I drove from Troy, MI to Detroit downtown (that was around 6:00 Pm & without a map ) & conveniently lost the way towards Ann Arbor. Realized the mistake, turned back & somehow got into downtown, but into some "weird" dark place towards a dead end. That's when I realized some black basket ball guys were walking towards my car. Somehow followed by intuition & quickly made a turn & zipped past those fellas. Again, had I asked for direction to those strangers, I don't know if I would be posting this today
aargee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 02:03   #18
BHPian
 
ringoism's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Himachal
Posts: 676
Thanked: 1,943 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Well, this was probably the best post on any topic I've ever read on team-bhp. It literally brought tears to my eyes, and I PM’d Mohan saying so. He in turn asked me (as a fellow "former" Yank) to share my perspective in the thread, perhaps as a counterpoint to what seemed to be the majority sentiment among responses. So here goes, my apologies to any who find it excessively lengthy or philosophical, but do bear with me if you can, I see this discussion as an extremely important one that points us to much deeper questions facing us as humans:


Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
...But this incident is almost more than 30 years old now. People those days were simpler and more trusting than today. The crime rate these days have killed that "good Samaritan" in most people. Maybe in countries where crimes are less and law and order better, people would still go out of their way to help others, but at least in India its better not to trust strangers for your own safety.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theqca View Post
I'll second that! In our country I'm not very comfortable helping people out in this manner though. Scared of getting conned / mugged etc especially in Bombay.

...and etc, etc, along those lines...



Believe me, there have been plenty of real life horror stories (besides the B-Grade horror films!) in the U.S., from the time of my childhood till now, of victimizations on either side of the equation. Nobody in my family ever hitchhiked, and I seldom recall my parents picking up riders, either, despite our living in a rural place. The crime rates over there are rather high in many/most metro areas, there are stereotypically even scarier psychopaths living out in remoter places in the countryside, pockets of rampant racism still exist, most of the same scams have been done there, and thus many people have the same fears / disinclinations to help as are being expressed here.


Still, deep down I believe Mohan's experiences point back to some kind of ideal planted long ago in that socio-cultural landscape... So please allow me to dig down a little, and bear with me:


Re: The "Good Samaritan" referred to above: A well-known character for two millennia and originating in the East (not America!), he emerged in a story told in response to a question addressed to the "Good Teacher". The inquirer was a consistently religious man trying to justify himself, having just been told that “loving your neighbor as yourself” was an absolutely crucial, transcendent aspect of true spirituality; So he’d asked, “Well, who is my neighbor?” hoping to cut himself some slack. Through the story and a subsequent question, it becomes clear that “my neighbor” can’t simply be the generally likable chap two doors down who’s always been nice to our family; It has to be broadened to include anyone we meet as we go about living on this earth, whether we know them or they seem deserving of our help or not. There are, in reality, no boundaries. And please understand - it is NOT as though the law & order situation was better back then!


Reading the account, it is striking how little consideration this do-gooder apparently had for himself. Having taken notice of the man lying there he had compassion, and was willing to assume personal, physical risks and inevitable "damage" to his purse and schedule. One must keep in mind that he was traveling a road where criminal elements had recently robbed and brutally beaten a man nearly to death - Not exactly a safe place to be walking in the first place, less so to tarry for someone else's sake and to finally slow your donkey’s onward progress with an extra burden. But he did all these, taking the victim to a hotel where he personally applied healing ointments and bandaged the man's wounds. And when pending business precluded his remaining longer, he made arrangements for the patient’s care and committed to pay for it. It is really quite amazing - I mean, who does that kind of thing, who goes to those lengths, for a total stranger???

Other passers-by - even the definitively "religious folk" of that time/place, had already proved unwilling to get involved: evidence enough that while appearing “spiritual” may be easy, actively loving random humans is generally not. The unhelpful must have internally justified their ignoring one in need; The priest, for example, would have ceremonially polluted himself if the fallen man he'd touch turned out to be dead... which means he would be unable to fulfill certain important social duties for some time... Hmmm...


So what else is driving these diverse reactions we humans exhibit, then and now?

Let me look inside myself a little critically here: I'm not a priest in danger of being polluted, so how do I justify inaction in such cases?


Firstly, none of this is helped by our having increasingly become a world of "specialists". Doctors and EMT personnel apply antibiotic cream and bandage wounds, not us. Even our aged parents are being given over to the care of “professionals”. Employees of NGO's and governments take care of the poor / disadvantaged, it doesn't involve most of us directly. People with specified degrees fill the halls of formal education, “sanitation technicians” take care of any litter that accidentally, uh, flies out the window of my BMW. There's a certain efficiency in all this of course: I don't have time to help this person laying (or standing) on the roadside, I'm running late, I'm not really "qualified" to do anything for them (and in America at least, I'm certain to be sued if I should do or say anything less than perfect); So I’ll call 911 and send a location pin, and if I remember this evening, I'll send a donation to my favorite charity when I get home.

Efficient, yes. But also sufficiently alienating/distancing from anyone needy or hurting that I have lost any ability to feel what they do. And that's a serious situation, because possibly it is this inability to empathize that's been the #1 killer of societies (i.e., relationships inside and out of them) throughout history.


The second thing is FEAR - which is what's coming through in many responses here, a truly tyrannical (de-)motivator. Okay, many of us can empathize, we've got good hearts but also some legitimate concerns about what could go wrong in such situations. We live in a messed-up world.

So... maybe it's all an act and that conman is ready to jump up and rob me / take my car and kidnap my children. Or maybe it’s a genuine case, but in my helping I might get his blood on me, and if the victim has AIDS I could contract that horrible disease. Or my car seat gets ruined and I have to have it re-upholstered (and it was all done freshly a year ago with special material brought from Delhi, how am I ever gonna match that?)!!! ...Or I end up being accused by lazy police (or irate relatives) of striking the unconscious victim with my own vehicle! Or I face being called as a court witness numerous times in some God-forsaken provincial town far from home. Or I risk getting late to office and a firing from my boss, and this being the tenth time, also of losing my job and only source of income. Damn, it's easier to just chalk the whole thing up to Fate... how is it MY problem??? But there’s an awful lot of “I”s in there… as if I’m the only thing that matters.


Someone just this morning pointed me to another ancient maxim which states that: "Perfect love casts out fear". And I had to ponder awhile what that really meant. I remembered from elsewhere: "If God is for us, who can be against us"? And again, "The wicked flee even when nobody pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion". There's a recurring theme in there and it's not too hard to connect the dots.



I realize that in today's world we have to be a bit realistic about the dangers of living just about anywhere and doing just about anything... and no, I do NOT believe that “the overwhelming majority of mankind is basically good”.



But having said that, there is a freedom that comes from living unfazed by the typical, very real, often justifiable concerns common to mankind: "He who gives to the poor loans to the Lord, and He will repay him." So I don’t have to think that being overtly generous towards others is going to somehow endanger my own estate or my kids' futures or whatever. Or even more extreme: "Don't fear men, who at worst can only kill the body, and then can do no more...". Only end my earthly life…??? Wow. I mean, if I’m okay with that, then what else is left to worry about?




So lastly we have this unwitting foreigner, supposedly a student, who says he needs a lift someplace... what do I make of it? Well, he doesn't appear a likely criminal, wearing those flip-flops and all... but then many of "them" don't! Could be a middle-eastern gun-smuggler or whatever, maybe that's what he's got in that school-bag. It's those unassuming, innocent disguises that prove the downfall of innocent, well-meaning people, right?! Nah, probably not, he looks alright, like he couldn't kill a fly - an aura of pure ahimsa! But whoever he is, it’s not like he's going to die out there if I don’t pick him up! He was clever enough to make it halfway around the world, he'll make it to class somehow if he’s got one, eh? I gotta get to work, and seriously, he’s 22 miles from school???!!! WTH??? How is this possible? Didn't he think of these things before coming over? Didn't he look at a map? "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine"! So fine, if he's not a con-man, he's just plain dumb. How does he deserve my help?”


But something can overrule all these rationalizations, fears, pride, and whatever else separates us from other humans. I'd call it "grace" - an unmerited sort of kindness and selfless favor. The motivation? If I can acknowledge that I myself am the undeserving recipient of many good things, it helps a bunch. So it really comes down to a question of perspective.


I've seldom regretted picking up a passenger, I have quite often regretted NOT doing so... mainly because I can imagine myself in their shoes... as on occasion I really have been. I remember a time or two around here, late night, hoping for a lift when nobody stopped - and I had to trek it home many kilometers in the dark. I remember feeling as if I were some kind of suspicious weirdo because (my vehicle having broke down in the American Souith) I was on foot in a place where nobody walks anywhere! On the positive side, I could tell of being stuck in a snowstorm in the hills of West Virginia when traveling home from college in an old wreck of a car... stranded in winter and half-frozen from exposure to dangerously cold temperatures, we were put up by complete strangers (nuns in fact!) in a warm house fully stocked with fresh food bought just for us. Also of of having my motorcycle falter and finally die with a failed stator up along the Blue Ridge Parkway towards evening... of getting lifts (for me AND the bike) to far-off towns and hotels, of meeting friendly owners and mechanics at workshops (or ice-cream shops!); I've more than once been greatly helped by people I didn't know and really couldn't aptly repay...

Having been so undeservedly blessed, I suppose it is right to consider it a responsibility to bless others in return.



Apparently for all those people Mohan described, perhaps including some wholly ignorant of that ancient story, there was "something" turning the wheels of their thinking, something that the cultural context had absorbed / translated for centuries into personal conviction and action. There and elsewhere in the world, some of it may have begun to fade as mass-shooters and serial-rapists and child-pornographists, gun-wielding car-jackers, bike-jackers, etc, etc, come to the gory forefront of the evening news year after year. But for many there remains a small seed of something deeper, and sufficiently influential to overrule a more natural and popular tendency to define "common sense" in terms of self-preservation at all costs.



To bring this to a fitting conclusion: Fear/pride/selfishness in various forms always leads to alienation and a kind of loss of humanity... propelling a vicious cycle that degrades into a lack of care for anyone but oneself and perhaps one's relatives.



Whereas a courageous extending of oneself to a complete stranger can be the spark that ignites "benevolent cycles" of caring and helpfulness and positive social behaviors. Maybe nobody in my own family requires a particular act of grace right in this moment, but somebody else does... how might it change that life, and multiplied by thousands / millions, an entire society, for the better (which incidentally would finally trickle down to myself and my family as well in time)? You can't really argue with the deep impressions left on the mind of someone like Mohan. Small acts of kindness can make big impacts in a person's life.



So much comes down to an ability to empathize, and to see myself as the imperfect being that I am, and to then allow compassion and courage drive me more than anything else that could get in the way. If I trust I'll be provided for / recompensed at some other level, I don't worry about giving my money. If I believe my life and circumstances are ordered by a power higher than my own, I don't fret about compromising my schedule or maybe even risking my life. If I know I'm essentially imperfect myself, I extend myself to other imperfect souls.


I should clarify that this way of thinking needn't be limited to a certain land or culture, I've seen some wonderful extensions of help and kindness in various corners of the world, including this one.



I applaud all those minor "heroes" whom Mohan has so glowingly described. I confess I often have failed to take such opportunities as his benefactors did to serve others, but God help me, may I do better, and live my life, and love, as they have.




-Eric
ringoism is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 02:43   #19
BHPian
 
Ranabegins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Patna
Posts: 32
Thanked: 26 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Stories like this motivate us to help others. I have always been shy when it comes to asking for help from strangers. Even though I don’t ask for help I am always eager to help others whenever I feel it’s safe to do so.

Reading this thread brought me a memory and in my case I was helped by a stranger and that too in Delhi. The year was 2011 and it was my first day in Delhi, I got down from my train and went straight to my PG. Upon reaching there I realized that I had left one of my bags in train itself and that bag contained all of my original documents that I was going to need on the first day of college that was just the next day itself. I completely panicked and rushed to the nearest bus stop, while I was waiting for a bus I saw people get in sharing cabs that were going near New Delhi railway station. Seeing that I also took a cab, in about 5 minutes all of the passengers got down and only I was left with the driver of the cab who asked me to come forward as he was not enjoying sitting alone and driving. He started inquiring about where I was heading to and when I told him my case he dropped me inside the railway station, gave his number so that he could help me find the bag if I couldn't find it myself and straightaway denied to take fare from me even after me insisting multiple times. Luckily I didn't need his help as one of my friends was waiting at the station and we eventually even found my bag in the train as Rajdhani (train) is normally safer than others.

My story doesn’t show the man helping me as technically I was ready to pay the fare but it shows a lot of people still have compassion for others.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 14th June 2019 at 04:39. Reason: Added spacing for improved readability.
Ranabegins is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 13:48   #20
BHPian
 
rav11stars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: RJY->PUN->DXB
Posts: 348
Thanked: 752 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Well, this was probably the best post on any topic I've ever read on team-bhp. It literally brought tears to my eyes...

I applaud all those minor "heroes" whom Mohan has so glowingly described
If I started quoting lines from Mohan's and your thoughts (i'd not prefer calling them posts), I'd get banned So many of them that made so much sense.

Mohan, Thanks a lot for highlighting this and sharing your experiences. In a world fed with only crime as the "newsworthy" material, they brought some well-needed cheer.

Life's beautiful when it's simple, but the way we're designed to crave for more, we end up complicating our lives and not realising that we're actually making it more worse. I believe beauty lies in all those small things we're tending to discard these days, maybe because they're not worth of our social posts.

Both of your thoughts brought a nice conclusion to a week of self-discovery for me.

I've had some really nice humans help me on this path. I've started reading "The monk who sold his Ferrari" only to discover that it's not just another self-help book. It helped me reiterate that I'm thinking right.

Some incidents are hard to forget, particularly when it's a fellow human going out of his way to help us. It goes something like this:

1. Sometime in 2009 I moved to Bangalore from Pune. I went to a bank for some work on my bike, parked it with the other bikes and went it. Little did I know that it's written on the pavement "No parking". I've just come out from the bank to see my ZMA being loaded onto a truck. I ran up to them and pleaded. They pointed to the 'no parking' which was as if some kid scribbled there. I ran to the police saying I've just come to the city and stuff that reasonable people listen it. They just said something to the effect of 'come to the station' and started off.

I was caught off-guard and not knowing what to do just started running behind the truck. A guy on an Activa stopped beside me and said 'sit, how far will you run. I'll take you there'. He calmed me down saying there's no need to thank and all. 'Let's go to the station and see'. After we reached he talked to the guys unloading the bikes, then went and talked to the inspector. I paid some amount and took back the bike.

As simple as it might seem, of all the people around, he took the time to stop, help me out and then went his way. Help, when offered without expecting anything in return is the real thing.

2. Pune was where I started my first job and the people and love they shower really get me. Now we all know there are all sorts of people. We'll not talk about that today.

On my way from work in Hinjewadi, I used to pickup and drop. Mostly it'd be kids from school or sometimes guys who probably want to save that auto fare(probably). Once there was this 'kaka' I picked up. I was supposed to turn left and he said it's ok to drop him off there and he'll find a tum-tum(auto). I'm in the mood to drive too, so I asked him where he's going and went ahead till the Chinchwad station to drop him off. On getting off he thanked profusely and said 'at least have some tea and go'. That warmed my heart.

The area where I lived had these small shops which the nearby villagers run. We used to have the sugarcane juice or buy vegetables from them. We've sort of bonded with them so nicely. When we're back from hometown after a long vacation and they see us the next day, they'd stop us and ask how we were, offer us a glass of sugarcane juice. It's not as if you walked into a shop, you walked into their hearts, their home. The best part: None of this is done intentionally, it just comes.

These are the sort of qualities we probably need to inculcate in us, in our kids. In short, forwarding those inspiring messages or liking and sharing them wouldn't do. We've got to do it. Do the good thing.
rav11stars is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 14:20   #21
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pune
Posts: 242
Thanked: 223 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

This takes me back to my college days. I was about to receive my first two wheeler - an M80 - and I was all excited going to the RTO for the driver's license.

The test was done and I was in line to pay the charges and take a receipt which I will have to produce at another counter for the learner's license.

Now as I got closer to the window I decided to take the application form (signed by the test inspector) and the money in hand for quicker processing. To my horror I realized that I was short on cash. The total cost was 30/- and I only had 20/- on me.

Now there was no atm card with me and getting cash meant either going to college to borrow from a friend or go home and come back with cash. Both option would have meant the counter closed before I came back. Hence I started looking around.

There was a lady standing behind me in queue. Just then my turn came and as I reached the window I turned around, mustered all courage and told my plight to the lady and asked her if I could borrow 10/-.

I told her that I will pay her back within the hour. At first she just kept staring at me but then I don't know what caused her to change her mind but she jabbed a hand in her purse and gave me a ten rupee note. I got my form processed and thanked her profusely and told her that I will immediately go to my college and get back her money. She asked me not to bother and went about her way.

And that is how I got my first driving license in one day - all thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
luvDriving is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 14:37   #22
BHPian
 
rm_arjuna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 456
Thanked: 70 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Last year we did a Konkan roadtrip from hyderabad to malvan . On the 3rd day we started from Kolhapur towards Ganpatipule , the previous day at Lakshmi temple we enquired for places to visit around and was advised to Visit Jyotiba Temple . Enroute we had breakfast at a dhaba and had just started saw couple of woman walking along the roadside and i was discussing with my wife about travel condition in rural places . Somehow i glazed in the IRVM and stopped the car instinctively , one of the lady rushed to our car and asked for ride and we asked her to tag along . While chatting with her we got to know she was a SI posted at temple and travels 30 kms everyday by bus and walks 6kms to the temple most of the days when she is not able to get a ride .

When we reached the temple , she offered us spl darsan , made us meet the main priest and we were out in 10 mins inspite of heavy rush . She gave her mobile details and informed us to call if we were stopped by any cops in Maharastra . Over the next couple of days she followed up with us till we reached home .

It was really overwhelming for us ,since we did not do anything special and yet the lady went all out for us .
rm_arjuna is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 14:54   #23
Senior - BHPian
 
blackasta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: WB 26
Posts: 3,289
Thanked: 2,479 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post

More to the point, I myself have been in those situations. Not once or twice. But, on many many occasions over a span of two years. Let me explain.
I'm frankly very surprised that in spite of knowing the distance, you walked 22 miles - that's almost the length of a marathon.

I'm more surprised that in spite of the distance, over the next 2 years, you decided not to switch apartments or get a car, and your main mode of commute was hitchhiking with strangers.

Mighty lucky, you are.
blackasta is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2019, 15:35   #24
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 273
Thanked: 707 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rav11stars View Post
If I started quoting lines from Mohan's and your thoughts (i'd not prefer calling them posts), I'd get banned So many of them that made so much sense.
Wow!! that guy helping you get your bike back was spot on. That is the sentiment that I encountered over and over again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
I'm frankly very surprised that in spite of knowing the distance, you walked 22 miles - that's almost the length of a marathon.

I'm more surprised that in spite of the distance, over the next 2 years, you decided not to switch apartments or get a car, and your main mode of commute was hitchhiking with strangers.

Mighty lucky, you are.
Two points for you.

First, I actually did run a full marathon in Tampa a couple of years later. Finished in 5.5 hrs. All that walking did help me I suppose.

Second, you have to remember that I did that long trek only on day 1. After that, I didn't have to. That's the point I was making. Plenty of people helped; both strangers and my own friends. Once I got settled in and everyone came to know of my situation, my phone would always ring if someone in our circle was planning to go downtown for something. On those days, I was spared the effort of flagging down random people. Plus, I took the bus and train when I could. Soon, two years just flew buy.

And to answer your question about moving closer; I guess I simply did not want to. I liked my apartment for a few reasons.

My flatmates were nice guys. Other apartments were crammed to the brink with students. Like 6 guys living in a 2 BHK. By contrast, we were only 3 of us; and we made a decision to not take in anymore people and make our lives miserable just to save a few $$. To meet these kind of like-minded guys is hard in a college town filled with students who are generally tight with money. So, I wanted that arrangement to work for as long as it could.

More importantly, because my apartment was near the main campus, we had access to relatively cheap housing and good facilities. The uni library and the awesome cafetrias was especially important for me. Also, the main campus is just super pretty.

By contrast, the other satellite campus was a stand-alone in downtown. If I took up lodgings there, I would have to hunt for roomies; and if I get them, they would most definitely not share my circumstances. Throw in cultural differences, and I simply was not ready for all that headache.

Finally, I always thought that I would buy a car eventually. But, as it turned out, I would have some expense or the other that would eat into my savings and the car would take a backseat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Very common experience...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Brilliant post - thanks for sharing!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSC View Post
Frankly speaking, in the present world scenario, where the world is full of conman, I have left helping strangers except when someone's life is in real threat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Cross posting from another.
Quote:
Originally Posted by superbad View Post
I think it's quite common in the Western countries to hitch hikes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by B103 View Post
So many con men esp in the Indian cities.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Three instances to quote, nothing concerning...
Quote:
Originally Posted by croupier View Post
What an amazing story!! you sir have made my day. Call me naive, but I genuinely believe that there is good in people and stories like yours reinforce that belief.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theqca View Post
I'll second that!
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
Wonderful anecdotes Mohan!..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renjith Rajan View Post
Great experience!
Quote:
Originally Posted by King_pin09 View Post
Well I do not have anything significant to share;
Quote:
Originally Posted by thelonewarrior View Post
Thanks Mohan for sharing your wonderful experiences with strangers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gauravanekar View Post
Agree completely. Let me share a funny incident.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Well, this was probably the best post on any topic I've ever read on team-bhp.

-Eric
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranabegins View Post
Stories like this motivate us to help others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvDriving View Post
This takes me back to my college days. I was about to receive my first two wheeler - an M80 - and I was all excited going to the RTO for the driver's license..
Quote:
Originally Posted by rm_arjuna View Post
Last year we did a Konkan roadtrip from hyderabad to malvan ..
Since we are are now taling about other experiences aside from just problems on the road, I want to share one other anecdote

Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?-img_1006.jpg

The Perumal Kovil @ Pittsburgh (https://www.svtemple.org). It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the US, and very meticulously maintained too. In 2015, I was visiting it for the third time in 12 years. I have been there twice more after that trip. All in all, this temple and me go back a long way. I am talking 19 years.

It was the year 2002. I had graduated and was out of a job. Nearly out of money. And pretty much out of hope………………… Then all of a sudden, my phone rang. I had a job waiting for me I was told. Provided, of course that I was willing to move some 1100 miles to an unknown town.

As an Indian expatriate in the US, acclimatizing myself to a new place was not a skill that I lacked at the time. Still, I had come to like living in Florida, and was not completely happy at the thought of leaving all the sunshine for the bitter winters in the American Midwest. So, for a brief minute, I pretended like I had a choice and thought about it. Then, precisely 20 minutes later, I had made arrangements for a rental minivan into which I loaded all of my life's possessions, including the aforementioned bicycle. The next day, I was on the road heading north.

I was moving to a place where I knew no one. No relatives. No friends to call up ahead. Not even a distant family contact on whom I could rely to help orient myself. It was all on me. This was going to be a bit hard. So, I resolved to put my best foot forward. But, just as anyone else would do at a life juncture such as this one, I hedged my bets with prayers. My father had told me about the Pittsburgh Temple after one of his visits there; and before I had started my drive north, my parents had spoken to me and asked me to stop by the temple on the way. I was a bit concerned about the slight detour that I would have to make to visit the temple. But that day, I really needed to pray. So, I decided that my parents knew best. Now that I think back about it, what I had really needed was some sort of reassurance that someone had my back as I ventured out yet again into the unknown. So, when I got to the temple, I offered my prayers and asked for safe passage through all that came afterwards – on the road and in life. I believe that the Lord heard me that day.

But, the story of how I located the temple itself makes for interesting telling.

When I got into town, it was quite late. I was trying hard to find the place and was having no luck. The temple is unobtrusively tucked away behind a hillock, and all online mapping aids had the wrong routes at the time. Incidentally, Google Maps and smartphones have saved the day for me during subsequent visits to this temple. But, in 2002? In 2002, Google was still only a website. And my Mapquest printouts were proving to be summarily useless.

Then, there was the weather. It was October and winter was setting in. It was dark and cold. Being someone who was used to hot and sunny weather, I was more than a bit disoriented. I was also running low on gas and didn’t have much money for hotel rooms. I had to find the temple fast, say my prayers, get to a gas station, get back on the road, and get to Ohio while I was still alert.

As the day grew darker, I grew more anxious because it was getting to be nearly time for the temple to close for the day. Maybe this was not such a good idea. Maybe the Lord was just too busy. Maybe He wanted me to come another time.

Just as I was going to bail on the idea, a young couple noticed me driving in circles around the neighborhood. When I caught them watching me, I remember getting very nervous. 911 was fresh on our collective memories and I didn’t know what they could have been thinking when they kept seeing a strange brown-skinned guy driving around repeatedly on their streets. Finally, the guy came running out of his house and flagged me down. I hesitated for a brief second. In my mind, the best course of action was to floor the gas pedal and get the heck out of there. But, better sense prevailed and I stopped the car to have a conversation. The guy asked me if I was looking for the temple. I breathed a sigh of relief and said yes. Then he asked me to follow his car as he and his wife led the way.

The road was winding and they drove slowly so that I could keep pace. If not for those two locals, I would not have found the temple that evening. They helped me navigate a proverbial maze. Finally, the temple rose majestically into my view as I turned a corner. I parked the car; got out and went up to the two Americans. I thanked them for helping me of course; but, I also expressed surprise that they knew the temple so well despite the fact they were of a different faith. They were like, “….sure we know this temple. Why wouldn’t we? You’re like the 4th or 5th person that we have personally brought here. Yeah, people come from all over to this temple….

That’s the day I knew that my family was watching over me from some 10000 miles away.

Looking back now, that incident is pretty much a metaphor for my life – lost and aimless until certain outsiders showed me the way to my own house.
mohansrides is offline   (14) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 15th June 2019, 22:18   #25
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 159
Thanked: 78 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Is it really that common of an experience? If so, I am glad that others too managed to finish an entire post-graduate degree by getting to classes in strangers' vehicles for a full 2 years.

That said, I do hear about having to be more cautious in India.
I'm not trying to diss the good hearts of the average American, but as already mentioned, the motive for helping out is to avoid misfortune coming down upon us clueless Asians. I walked the two miles to class the first day, but the student head was aghast. He insisted I call him whenever I set out and I did just that. Either he would give me a ride or commandeer one for me.

I walked down Main Street Pasadena at 11 am, and a shopkeeper came out and cautioned me against it!

As Cheech Marin said in "Born in East LA", You walk instead of drive in America, you'll end up like Donald Duck (flat footed, he meant, but dead as a duck could also fit in the example!).

The other factor is that the good citizens of the US of A are so blessed, have such a large cushion, it really doesn't hurt them to drive 20 to 30 miles out of the way to get you where you need to go. Compared to us scheming, penny pinching Asians, they are so innocent. No wonder mediocre personalities from this side of the pond do so well when we get of the boat, green as we are. We literally have them for breakfast.

Ah, but I miss the extremes of goodness and ba-aaadness encountered Stateside. Never ceased to surprise me.

Last edited by proton : 15th June 2019 at 22:19. Reason: Spelling
proton is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 16th June 2019, 15:20   #26
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 273
Thanked: 707 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Very common experience. Don't try this at home folks. I hear that the bikes are being ripped off their engines already at the metro stations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
I'm not trying to diss the good hearts of the average American....Never ceased to surprise me.
Please don't take this the wrong way. But, I read both your posts again and to tell you the truth I am more puzzled now than I was before about the point/s that you are trying to make.


Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
I'm not trying to diss the good hearts of the average American, but as already mentioned, the motive for helping out is to avoid misfortune coming down upon us clueless Asians.
Yeah. The other word for this is kindness; which incidentally is the word that I used in my OP. So, I was wondering what you meant with the your additional explanation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Compared to us scheming, penny pinching Asians, they are so innocent. No wonder mediocre personalities from this side of the pond do so well when we get of the boat, green as we are. We literally have them for breakfast.
This is the other part of your post that took me aback. Scheming Asians and mediocre personalities? Really? Wow!! that is quite a stretch. At this point, it would be easy for me to conclude that you are insinuating that I am both scheming and mediocre. But, I am not going to fall into the trap of deriving tone based on online communications. So, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and let this slide. But, that said, I request you to refrain from broad generalizations. They serve no purpose. FYI, for the record, I am neither scheming nor mediocre. I certainly was not trying to con people. I simply asked people for help. Some said no. But, many took time out of their busy lives to help me for which I feel grateful to this day. And it looks like you had similar experiences. Now, we really should take our experiences at face value and not read too much into them. What we should definitely not do is draw sweeping generalizations about Asians and Americans.

I say this because clearly by now we have established that it is not just Americans who are blessed with the time and ability to be helpful. The posts in this thread point to people receiving help from all manners of strangers. In fact, I think most of the responses are India centric. Even drilling down into my own experiences, I got help from a very diverse demographic. Indeed, I suspect that a few people who helped me were not even Americans legally speaking. Also, as I have mentioned before, lot of Indians helped me too. When they could, other Indian students would rearrange their schedules to coincide with my class trips. Case in point was a couple who lived close by with their two year old. She had a full-time job downtown. He was doing his PhD on the main campus (and was my flatmate's classmate) with a varying class schedule. The kid went to day care / play school near the campus. The family had only one car. The wife could not take that car to work because he would need the vehicle to pick up the kid from daycare and for other errands locally. So, on a daily basis, he would wake up early and ferry the wife to work. Come evening, he would drive again and pick her up. This guy would check with me almost daily to see he could drop me to class the next day. A few times, I have gratefully accepted his offer. But, most times, I needed to be at my department much earlier and therefore could not ride with him.

So, lots of people helped and all kinds of people helped. At this point, we have no basis to attribute the actions of everyone who helped to some circumstance (or personality trait) that they all shared because we really do not know all of their realities.


Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
..The other factor is that the good citizens of the US of A are so blessed, have such a large cushion, it really doesn't hurt them to drive 20 to 30 miles out of the way to get you where you need to go.
This is a topic for a completely different conversation which I don't think should be part of this thread. But, I will say this. Lots of people, including me, will disagree with you about Americans having "cushion" as you say they do. In fact, life in the US is incredibly hectic and time is a sparse commodity because everyone there is mostly on their own.

Aside from working to pay bills, you have to cook your own food, do laundry, press your clothes, shop for groceries, etc. There is absolutely no help at all. The repetitive activities necessary for daily living eat into one's time there. During my time in the US, between laundry, grocery shopping and cooking, I would find that the weekend was essentially useless.

By contrast, everyone in the middle class in India can afford at least one domestic maid for their house (typically for cleaning). Lots of folks also have maids for cooking and watching their kids. Besides this, there are all kinds of other services available here. Most people get their clothes pressed from a guy who comes and collects them from the house. Groceries and medicines from the neighborhood stores get delivered for free at home based on just one phone call. All these services are affordable and cost effective here. Now that I think of it, I think that there was some research report that showed that the average Indian family outsourced some 8 or 9 key household functions that were both repetitive and non-value adding. (In fact, services are so affordable here that we know a family in the building whose maid has a maid herself!! This family requires their maid to stay all day to help with various activities. So, the maid has engaged a maid of her own to do her domestic work at her home to help her kids get to college and her husband to get to work.)

On top of the availability of household help, we enjoy additional benefits here. If one lives with or close to their parents and siblings, there is more help available with other aspects of life. Food cooked in one house is parceled off to the other houses in the family. The load of running errands such as bank runs and school pick ups are also easily shared. All of us know plenty of people whose active parents and uncles help with these activities. Eg: My colleague's FIL was wholly responsible for getting both his kids' Aadhar cards. Also, I see grandparents dropping off and picking up kids at our building school bus stop.

Bottom line, if one looks at it holistically, it is undoubtedly in India that we have more time. I know that in my house our domestic maid helps us to save at least 3 hours from our day. That is HUGE. That is time that I never had in the US. This is also one of the main reasons why I came back home to India and have since resisted all kinds of professional pressure to move back to the US. My old life in the US was simply mechanical; especially without access to my family.

So, for anyone to say that Americans have a ton of cushion and can easily afford to take time off would be way off the mark. It is also incorrect and inconsiderate to attribute acts of kindness to affordability and ability. Not everyone who has the time helps. And not everyone who helps has the time. In fact, there is a management saying that "if you want to get something done, you should always seek out the busy people. The other kind just doesn't have time."


Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
I walked the two miles to class the first day, but the student head was aghast. He insisted I call him whenever I set out and I did just that. Either he would give me a ride or commandeer one for me...I walked down Main Street Pasadena at 11 am, and a shopkeeper came out and cautioned me against it!...
You are certainly more fortunate thane me. Notwithstanding the rides I got, I walked or bicycled on an average of 3 miles every day. I asked people for help only when the distances were much larger than 3 miles. FYI, when I came back to school for a second masters degree, my department was on main campus as opposed to 22 miles away. This time, my classes and on-campus jobs generated average trip distances of 1.5 miles one way, totaling about 6 miles every day. I was able to easily manage my daily commutes by either walking or bicycling.

Last edited by mohansrides : 16th June 2019 at 15:41.
mohansrides is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 16th June 2019, 17:36   #27
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 159
Thanked: 78 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Please don't take this the wrong way. But, I read both your posts again and to tell you the truth I am more puzzled now than I was before about the point/s that you are trying to make.
Try to imagine how things would turn out, if you were dependent on the kindness of strangers, to get you to and from classes everyday, if things were the other way 'round. IOW, a foreigner in India.

My point about average Asians doing much better than one would expect is based on anecdotal evidence. Friends of mine who were basically failures here, went there, and were huge successes. One actually was responsible for the one day cricket match franchise the world over...

Last edited by proton : 16th June 2019 at 17:39. Reason: addl material
proton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th June 2019, 11:13   #28
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 273
Thanked: 707 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Try to imagine how things would turn out, if you were dependent on the kindness of strangers, to get you to and from classes everyday, if things were the other way 'round. IOW, a foreigner in India.
Point taken. Other members like ringoism may be in a better position to comment on this hypothetical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
My point about average Asians doing much better than one would expect is based on anecdotal evidence. Friends of mine who were basically failures here, went there, and were huge successes. One actually was responsible for the one day cricket match franchise the world over...
This is again a topic that we could talk about all day and all week quoting plenty of examples to suit any position that either of us takes. Truth of the matter is that almost everyone considers themselves more talented and more hard working than others. This truth comes into sharp focus especially during appraisal season. Rarely anyone comes to the table with a balanced viewpoint of themselves

But, with experience I now know one thing for sure. People succeed or fail for lots of different reasons. Talent and ability are but two factors at play in any situation in life. To be more specific, here is a handy list:
  • I have seen talented hard workers succeed - Plenty of examples available all around us.
  • I have seen talented hard workers fail - Again, plenty of examples available to reinforce this notion.
  • I have seen people with very little talent, zero hard work and a demonstrated streak of thoughtless behaviour that is harmful to others. I have seen such people not only succeed, but actually prosper in unimaginable ways. - Chances are that examples for this category would only be visible after at least 10 years of work experience.
  • I have also seen talentless people who refuse to work hard fail. - The examples for this are less common. Because once people figure out that they are losing out, they typically make the course corrections required to get their life in order. But, if you look closely, you can see the notion play out, even if only briefly in most people's lives.
The above list shows that almost every permutation / combination of talent and hard work can either succeed or fail. So, despite whatever it is that we were taught at school as the right mix of ingredients to succeed, we now know that we really don't know anything about why some people succeed, while others fail. Incidentally, to counter your claims of mediocrity succeeding in the US, I am sure that members on this forum know of people who could not succeed abroad, but who came back home and are doing well for themselves. I myself know half a dozen of such people.

My suggestion to you is to not focus on whether someone else is mediocre or undeserving or whatever. Everything is circumstantial, and typically one gets what one deserves eventually.

Cheers
mohansrides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th June 2019, 13:29   #29
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 159
Thanked: 78 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Point taken. Other members like ringoism may be in a better position to comment on this hypothetical.



.....


My suggestion to you is to not focus on whether someone else is mediocre or undeserving or whatever. Everything is circumstantial, and typically one gets what one deserves eventually.

Cheers
I suppose i should clarify what impression I got from reading of the positive experiences of the OP, since it could be either an impression:

1. that we should not be discouraged by the bad experiences with strangers recorded in the other thread and therefore should not avoid interacting with strangers

or

2. that all your interactions had been very positive, so readers should be willing to take a risk in order not to miss out on possible good outcomes


Since I got the impression of the first type, I thought it worthwhile to impress on readers not to depend on it in India, since the burden to be placed on the person you approach is relatively too great, because of the lesser resources available to us

I agree with your second point that it is a generalisation that people with low abilities can always succeed in the US, but your argument is with them, not me. According to them, nothing can stand between anyone wanting to become anything, even President. They even have a description for that claim. It's called the American dream.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/american-dream.asp

Quote
What Is the American Dream?
The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.

Last edited by proton : 19th June 2019 at 13:30. Reason: Speling
proton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2019, 01:32   #30
BHPian
 
Jaguar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 689
Thanked: 276 Times
Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Lots of people, including me, will disagree with you about Americans having "cushion" as you say they do. In fact, life in the US is incredibly hectic and time is a sparse commodity because everyone there is mostly on their own.

Aside from working to pay bills, you have to cook your own food, do laundry, press your clothes, shop for groceries, etc. There is absolutely no help at all. The repetitive activities necessary for daily living eat into one's time there. During my time in the US, between laundry, grocery shopping and cooking, I would find that the weekend was essentially useless.

Bottom line, if one looks at it holistically, it is undoubtedly in India that we have more time.
This is going completely OT but I just couldn't resist.

Let me start with some examples.
1. A typical mid-senior level IT EMPLOYEE here spends around 9 hours in the office and then attends night calls from home. Compared to this, our US counterparts come to work by 8 am and leave by 4 pm, and hardly ever work outside of their office hours. Effectively, they get 3-4 hours extra for their personal stuff, which we don't.
2. When in the US, my manager used to renew his license on his way to office in under 30 mins. Back here, the same guy had to run around for three months for the same task.
3. I have a HAM radio license. First I had to write an exam conducted by the ministry of Telecom. Then, I had to submit copies of 10th and degree certificate and address proof in triplicate along with attested copy of the exam results (which was issued by them itself) to the same ministry. The total process took close to 6 months. The same license in the US can be procured in a day by attending a 3 hour class followed by a small test.

Please don't post a picture that life in the US is tougher than in India. Yes, it might be difficult initially for a new immigrant with limited resources and no family support, but for the average American or someone who has settled to the american way, day-to-day life is much smoother. Had it not been the case, we wouldn't have so many people queueing up for H1b's.

Last edited by Jaguar : 22nd June 2019 at 01:34. Reason: Fix quote
Jaguar is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Getting 2006 white Cedia Sports : asking 5.99L gaurav_chopra04 Sedans 20 30th December 2008 11:15
India comes home in a Maruti: Giving lifts to strangers on the highway hrag Shifting gears 50 27th June 2008 15:03
Ford Dealer asking for renewal of warranty. snaronikar Indian Car Dealerships 8 29th November 2007 11:32
Asking price for a 2005 Getz GLS? etchemkay Hatchbacks 15 25th February 2007 11:56
Maruti Asking for Computer engineers DCEite Gadgets, Computers & Software 5 27th August 2005 20:37


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 15:23.

Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks