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Old 8th June 2019, 21:37   #1
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Default Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...bangalore.html (Beware: New type of Scam/Con in Bangalore)

The thread above made me think. Setting aside the con aspect, I was struck by the possibility of real problems on the part of the person asking for help. 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.

It was in another life. But, one fine day I showed up in the US for a master’s degree. First things being first, housing was a top priority. So, I got together with some people and immediately signed a lease on an apartment. It's only after that that I learnt of my department being 22 miles away in the Uni's second campus in another city. That was far away, and the university didn't have shuttle services between campuses. Still, I shrugged away the problem. How hard could it be? I had just travelled 8000 miles away from family on a whim. I certainly wasn't going to let 22 miles disturb my thinking. I decided that when semester began, I would man up and find a way. Turns out that I did find a way. Many ways in fact. But, at the time, I had no way of knowing that it was going to be way harder than what I had imagined or that a big part of my education was going to be about finding solutions to real and immediate problems that I faced.

So, when the day came, I ate a big lunch and started out along the busy state road lined with car dealerships and strip malls. I walked and walked and walked. Gradually my excitement diluted itself to mere enthusiasm. A little while later, that enthusiasm too gave way to a neutral 'lets-get-this-done' mindset. Another 20 to 30 minutes later, I was starting to think that maybe I should just turn back. But, somehow that didn't seem like a good choice at the time. What would be the point of turning back after having walked this far? So, plod on I did. My Bata sandals weren't built for this sort of stress and my feet were hurting. I was hungry and thirsty and would have traded my right arm for good plate of idly and filter coffee, or at least a vada pao and chai. But, that was all wishful thinking. The sourness and frustration set in ever so slowly. By the time, I reached my university building, I was well and truly livid with my life choices.

Little did I realise at the time that a lot of how I felt was caused by real mismatches in terms of reference. Americans have a way of referring to a 6-lane road as a "street". Now, any image of a street in my mind was nothing more than 20 feet wide and encroached upon by a zillion vendors. So, it was hard for me to swallow that something that was almost 200 feet wide, without counting the sidewalks, was also a street.

People kept telling me that my destination would show up if I just kept "going down the street". Their assumption was that I had gotten out of a car and walked into their store to ask for directions. They had no idea that I had just come in off "the street". I kept thinking that these Americans were nuts!! But, I was too polite on my first day to ask further questions. So, I kept walking. And walking. And walking. It took me a full 7 hours on day 1 of class to get to class. My classes began at 7 PM. I walked in at almost 8:45.

But, once I got into class, all my bitterness faded away. My classmates' reactions ran the gamut; from downright amazement at my determination to incredulous laughter at my fresh-off-the-boat vibe. I was the point of discussion for the rest of the evening. I made friends immediately. It was not going to be so bad after all!!

Now for the next days.

Once I had found out where my classes were going to be, I thought about moving closer. But, I quickly put that out of my mind. For one thing, I was locked into a lease. Second, I didn't much want to move either. The town with the main campus near which I lived was pretty. I certainly didn't want to swap those lodgings for seedier options downtown closer to my actual classes. Also, I rather liked my flat mates and didn't feel like rolling the dice with new people at another apartment. So, I decided to stay put.

The question then became how I was going to solve the transportation problem. I could of course buy a car. But, I was loath to buy anything through a debt instrument; certainly not on my stipend. Incidentally, this is a sensibility that I carry to this day. I also didn't have a lumpsum amount with me to put towards a dependable used car. To be clear, I could not have done with a $500 car. I needed transportation that would reliably take me 50 miles every day just for my classes. Grocery runs and other small trips would have added to that mileage requirement. Any car that would give me that kind of service would have cost me $4000 to $5000 at least. Money that I didn't have and didn't want to borrow. End result = I was left with a truly vexing chicken-egg situation. I needed a car to go to class --> money to buy a car --> a job to earn the money --> a degree to get a job!! Total existential gridlock.

After dwelling on the problem for a long time, I decided to solve it incrementally. I broke down the problem into manageable parts and attacked each part with a multi-pronged approach.

The return leg from class was solved easily. All my classmates were working professionals and some of them had to pass my town on their way home from class. So, when they could, they gladly dropped me home. I actually had multiple return rides lined up for each day. Indeed, I had back-ups to the back-up to the main ride. Sorted.

The real problem then was getting to class. So, what were my solutions?
  1. One option was to go the bike/bus route. I got myself a bicycle. I would ride it to the bus stop (2 miles away) and then prop it in the front while I rode the bus. But, the bus took forever and was filled with shady folk. The bus was also insanely cold with the air conditioning cranked up to maximum. On more than one occasion, I thought that my bladder was going to explode; what with the bus crawling along and me freezing inside after a full lunch!! This feeling was compounded when it rained as it so often did. The pitter patter of the water on the roof of the bus made me miserable. I so wanted to get off and run into the nearest gas station. Only, if I did that, I would have to wait 60 to 90 minutes for the next bus. Man, that was painful.

    The other problem was that if I chose this option, I was locked into it on the return too. Meaning, even if I had people who could take me home after class, I couldn't take them up on the offer. For one thing, I could not abandon the bike overnight downtown near class. It would most likely have been stolen. And two, I certainly could not impose on the person taking me home to also squeeze my bicycle into the trunk of their car. The trunk of their car probably already had some stuff and the part of my bike that stuck out would undoubtedly scratch the paint of their car. So, the bike/bus option was always chosen when all other solutions had failed.

  2. There was also three carriage train that allowed me to accommodate my bike. Frankly, I rather enjoyed the train. There is absolutely nothing like train travel to put one in a contemplative mood. But, the problem here was that the stations were far away at either end of the journey. So, I had to plan well ahead and make doubly sure that I didn't miss the train; and if I biked to the train station, I had the third wheel problem on the return. Still, when I could, I took the train just for fun.

  3. In search of more substantive solutions, I walked into the other academic departments that were housed in my class building and scoured their student lists for people travelling to class either from the main campus or from close to it. I found a few. But, their times of travel didn't match mine. Finally, I found one guy from Ecuador who had class at about the same time as me. I tracked him down and offered to split his fuel costs if he would take me with him. He agreed happily. This arrangement worked for a full two semesters. But, only for one day of the week. The other days were still a question mark.

  4. That brings me to the point of this write-up. Ironically, one of my most dependable solutions was to ask people for rides. I asked close friends when I could. But most often, I hit up random strangers. Believe it or not, almost no one turned me down. Two years and countless classes, and I don't remember one shoo away. Office goers, construction workers, nurses, Hispanic immigrants, landscapers, doctors; you can name the vocation and chances are that I can dig out a person from my memory of someone having given me a ride to class. People simply astonished me with their kindness. Maybe it was my bag full of books; or maybe it was just that I sounded sincere. But, I hit the bulls’ eye 9 times out of 10.

    The way it played out was that I would start walking from my apartment building and immediately flag own any vehicle that I saw. This was before even I had left my giant housing complex. Many times, I would simply ask them to drop me to the bus stop which by itself was aways away. Some people would do that. But others would often inquire where I was going. This would typically happen once I got into the car. I would tell them my story and watch stupefied when they offered to take me all the way to class some 23 miles away!! I mean, I could sort of understand their actions if they were headed in my direction. But, many times they were going out of their way to help me. It was easily a 35-minute drive one way with traffic. So, we are taking about absolute strangers taking more than an hour of their time to make sure I got to class!! I was amazed and frankly confused at my own success in this department.

    A few incidents stand out.

    • Once I was watching a bunch of construction guys laying the roof on a building near campus. I saw their work truck and just walked up to the guy studying blueprints on the hood of the car. I asked him if he was headed south and told him my problem. I don't remember his exact words. All I remember are his nicotine stained fingers, steely grey eyes and a raspy voice. He mumbled something in response; something to the effect of his work requiring another 30 minutes of time. Maybe I could stick around? Sure, I said and proceeded to watch their work with great interest. Sure enough, 30 minutes later, he asked me to climb into the cab of his truck and him and his buddy ferried me to class. They asked me tonnes of questions about what I was studying, where I was from and how I chosen this university. I answered as best as I could. Then they bought me coffee to help me stay away until class ended at 10 PM.

    • Another time, I flagged down a car. The owner politely turned me down saying that he was headed in the opposite direction. I thanked him and kept walking. About 10 minutes later, the car pulled up next to me and the driver waved me in. He said that he had read my lips in the rear-view mirror as he drove away; and that I had said "God****it". He requested that I not take the Lord's name in vain as there really is nothing to be angry or frustrated about. Wait!! Let me get this right. This guy had gone out of his way and spent valuable time and money helping me because he didn't want me committing blasphemy under my breath?!! Wow!! I promised him that I would watch my language. Cut to present day, and it gets away from me on some days when I feel truly rogered. But, most times I remember what I promised the guy and continue to watch my language. Now, 20 years later!!

    • Then there was the single mom who simply had to get work. I caught her as she was nearing the gate of our housing complex. She told me that she would take me to the train station. I readily agreed. Without the baggage of my bicycle, I could get any ride I wanted on the way back. So, we went to the train station. I swear to God, she had an absolute change of heart two traffic lights later. I had said nothing at all. I certainly had not tried to persuade her to help me further. She had mentioned the train station and that was quite enough for me to feel thrilled to bits with her decision. And yet, instead of the train station which was 4 miles in the opposite direction, she turned left and drove me straight to class 23 miles away. She said that she had a nephew in Haiti who she wished would go to school and stay focused. Then, she wished me the best and was gone. I could not believe it!!

    • The best memory of all was the Hispanic dude in the low rider. He spoke very little English and I spoke ZERO Spanish. Again, I extracted a promise from him that he would take me to bus station 2 miles away. He said "Hokay no problema. I take you to bus". And then, as God is my witness, he just floored the pedal and merged into the freeway. Next stop, class!! Are you kidding me?

Every day was new. I would wake up not knowing how I was going to get to class. When I look back, I am amazed that I didn't miss a single day of graduate school. I made it every time. Powered only by my wits. The next decade in the US was no different. Every single day brought new and immediate problems for me to solve. Most were existential in nature. I am not even sure how I managed to keep my head up and get through it all. The only thing I am certain of is that it was ONLY the will of my parents' blessings what helped me navigate a literal quagmire of obstacles in my time there.

Cheers

Last edited by Aditya : 9th June 2019 at 20:26. Reason: As requested
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Old 8th June 2019, 22:24   #2
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Default re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

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.
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Old 9th June 2019, 04:31   #3
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Default re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...bangalore.html (Beware: New type of Scam/Con in Bangalore)

The thread above made me think. Setting aside the con aspect, I was struck by the possibility of real problems on the part of the person asking for help. More to the point, I myself have been in those situations. Not one or twice. But, on many many occasions over a span of two years.

...

People simply astonished me with their kindness.

...
Brilliant post - thanks for sharing!

A key takeaway I want folks to realize that the world isn't as bad as it is being made to be. Yes, there are con-men and many just trying to take benefit of you at every turn, but there is good in the world. Trust is not that bad, if one is cautious enough. There is always merit in giving help on the road, and in return hoping for the same when you are at the other end.

I have given and taken lifts to numerous folks on my bikes and my cars; and have faced nothing but positive experiences; even a disabled hitch-hicker in the US who turned out to be a homeless guy traveling from Seattle to Miami, with nothing in his pockets and surviving on the generosity of others. Gave him a lift for ~100 miles distance, and at the end poorer by $20 and richer with the knowledge of one of the best radio channels that played old-school rock the entire day

Last edited by Aditya : 9th June 2019 at 20:25. Reason: Quoted text edited
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Old 9th June 2019, 11:08   #4
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Default re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

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.
I have stopped giving lifts to strangers completely be it if either sex. Being mugged at a secluded corner or getting falsely accused of outraging a female modesty are reasons sufficient enough to avoid strangers at all. The world may not be such a wicked place but you never know who is friend and who is foe. The world has been made a bad place by these conman and as the result, the person in real need is always being ignored by people.
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Old 11th June 2019, 10:30   #5
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Cross posting from another thread (Unusual / funny / heartwarming experiences on the road).

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Just recollected an incident from many years ago. One of the many entrance exams a 12th appeared student takes included the AIEEE. It was scheduled to take place on May 1, 2011 and since my center was in Navy Nagar, we decided that after dropping me, my parents would stay at my aunt's place in Colaba. I reached the exam center and didn't carry my phone, wallet, etc. as it wasn't allowed. My dad left soon after I went in. There was a little bit commotion after a while and we were told the exam was postponed by 3 hrs due to a paper leak. We'd have to be back to same center fortunately.

Now, how do I go about updating my parents on this situation? Being in a new area, I wasn't aware on much of the directions, but I started walking in the general area I came from. After some time, I requested one uncle to lend me his cell phone to call my parents. He did so and even went one step ahead to tell my parents the exact location I was in. He brought me some water from the nearby shop and asked me to wait till my parents came. He left before I could say thanks in all the chaos.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:03   #6
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

I think it's quite common in the Western countries to hitch hikes. Certainly not in our country where you can't tell a con man from a banker. Personally, I would hate to be in even a single situation where I've to depend on the charity of others, forget about living on their largesse for a long time. Hence would disagree with the OP's way. But each one to his own.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:17   #7
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So many con men esp in the Indian cities. Difficult to sift the good out of the evil. Therein lies the problem when you want to help strangers especially when you are alone. It can be a double edged sword. Note that such help would end up as a happy ending, kind act in small towns.

I still remember reading about an instance in the news paper where a good Samaritan tried to help some youngsters at night who were seemingly down on the road having met with a bike accident in outer ring road, Bangalore. When he stopped they they came out of their pretension, stabbed him and stole his Scorpio leaving him to die. This is the reason why people are reluctant to help strangers. You have no cue of their ulterior motives.

I have seen people being reluctant to help in case of highway accidents also. Probably, most teambhp-ians may stop if they spot another car with the same brand sticker in trouble. Any experiences to share?

Last edited by B103 : 13th June 2019 at 10:19.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:30   #8
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Three instances to quote, nothing concerning...

1. Virajpet to Mananthavady - Before the GMap were available offline & the mobile networks were not so stable, had to confirm with a stranger if the road leads to Manathavady. First thing to observe, he was extremely happy, came running towards us (friend & I were on two motorcycles). On nearing he saw the tailbag & asked if we could move it so that he can sit. When found it cannot, he hastily said yes & started walking away. All we asked was if this road leads to Mananthavady. He probably thought he could get dropped somewhere enroute

2. Kottathara to Masinagudi - We wanted to take offbeaten route via Mulli. So at Kotathara junction, we knew somewhere to take left; being unsure, asked a localite. He looked at us like stupid & asked why we're coming this route & asked us to go back & take Mannarkad route. So we told him, we don't mind the bad roads & insisted we take this route & asked him to confirm if the forthcoming left is right or not. After being adamant & spending over 5-10 minutes, all he said was yes the forthcoming right He's probably good or not, but he wanted us to obey his rule

3. Kumarapalayam to Bhavani - Hardly some 2-3 Km; didn't know which way to take. Stopped in front a tea shop, asked a guy who's wasting his time on 6 months old newspaper for direction. As he started his left-right directions, gradually some 7-8 "experts" around him have come & guess what now we've to listen to 7-8 different directions!! Everyone discards every other's suggestion & wants us to take theirs. Finally we took one of them which lead to narrow footpath on mud & eventually we used common sense to get on NH45

Learned good lessons, after that we avoid asking as much as possible unless its really really needed.

Edit - A bulleteer friend of mine said the below on his experience in Bihar...
Was a solo rider on RE; was riding through BR to somewhere. He got down from the bike, went near the tea stall & asked direction. Some stranger asked where he was heading, where he was coming & then all of a sudden he started pleading him to play card with him & that kind of became an annoying request despite saying my friend had a long way to go. Then he tricked like, one moment, I'll be back after removing helmet of that sort & flew away.

Another incident - Was doing a solo West coast ride; so, somewhere in MH coastal, I think it was between Harihareshwar - Srivardhan or Srivardhan - Diveagar. Was asking for a direction of coastal route. Looks like this person didn't like me taking bad roads & was kind of threatening about the road condition saying, I might fall down, if bike is broken I might get stranded & was strongly insisting SH. At one point I thought he might snatch away my CBR. Worst part is I couldn't even say OK & leave as his instruction was to take a U turn & he had his hands on CBR's RVM. Not sure what excuse I had given, but he let me go. Let me go is the right word to use!!

Last edited by aargee : 13th June 2019 at 10:40.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:40   #9
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

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.

PS: I cant stress enough how much you have brightened up my day.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 13th June 2019 at 10:43. Reason: Trimming quoted post. Please avoid quoting a long post as it inconveniences small screen users. Thanks.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:30   #10
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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.

PS: I cant stress enough how much you have brightened up my day.
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.

I do however give a lift to cops - after checking their ID cards. I frequently drive between Mumbai and Mahad. These cops are posted at places like Mangaon / Indapur / Mahad and live in villages near Pen / Vadkhal naka and usually ask for a lift if they see a car with just one person in it.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:47   #11
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
The thread above made me think. Setting aside the con aspect, I was struck by the possibility of real problems on the part of the person asking for help. 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.
Wonderful anecdotes Mohan! Lovely to read! While I myself don't have any such stories personally, let me share one from my grandfather.

It was the year 1985, my parents had recently married and my father was posted in Bhopal. My grandfather had gone to visit them and his train got late. When he arrived at the Bhopal railway station, it was night time, there were no auto rickshaws or taxis to take him to my father's address. On the train journey, he had made aquaintance with a Sikh gentleman who also alighted there. This gentleman had his own car ready at the station to take him home, so he offered to take my grandfather to my father's address. When they reached the locality, it was late in the night, they didn't know the exact house that my parents occupied, so they started to ask around. Unfortunately, it was the time just after the Khalistan movement and Indira Gandhi's assassination, so people were still apprehensive and no one opened their doors or offered to talk to them. The gentleman finally took my grandfather to his house where they were having a wedding ceremony. Everyone in their house were very warm and cordial to my grandfather and in the morning he dropped my grandfather back in my father's locality and my grandfather was then able to find the house on his own.

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 atleast in India its better not to trust strangers for your own safety.
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Old 13th June 2019, 13:03   #12
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Great experience!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...bangalore.html (Beware: New type of Scam/Con in Bangalore)
Once I had found out where my classes were going to be, I thought about moving closer. But, I quickly put that out of my mind. For one thing, I was locked into a lease. Second, I didn't much want to move either. The town with the main campus near which I lived was pretty. I certainly didn't want to swap those lodgings for seedier options downtown closer to my actual classes. Also, I rather liked my flat mates and didn't feel like rolling the dice with new people at another apartment. So, I decided to stay put.
Cheers
I think you went a little too far by doing it for the entire length of the course, even though you had other options .

Personally, I don't like bothering other's with my problems. But if it is a must, I will think of several options and ask for the easiest help from them. Also, I get suspicious if someone ask for too much help for the trouble they are in. But I don't mind helping if I think it is genuine.
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Old 13th June 2019, 14:24   #13
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Well I do not have anything significant to share; yet I recollect one instance during 2004-05 where myself and wifey were spending quality time in Lonavala. Those were the days when GPS and maps on mobile devices were unheard of. We ventured into exploring the local attractions and got lost in the maze of unknown streets. Soon we spotted a young gentleman who was lazily eager to guide us. He started giving directions and it took us no time to figure out the mismatch between his words and hand gestures.

It took us a bit effort to realize that he had huge problem in naming directions and as such he said ‘take right’ while he meant us to take ‘left’ and vice versa After some vain efforts to decipher his navigation tips correctly, we left the place thanking him only to continue our clueless exploration and we finally managed to reach our original place by using the methods of 'memory recall' and ‘permutation and combinations’.

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Old 13th June 2019, 16:19   #14
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Default Re: Asking strangers for help - what's your experience?

Thanks Mohan for sharing your wonderful experiences with strangers. My experience is that 9 out of 10 times, we aren't likely to have a bad experience with strangers while seeking or offering help.

From an evolutionary standpoint, humans are social creatures. Unless we perceive a threat from our fellow species, we are more likely to help one another more often than not. Given that our immediate acts are partly shaped by recent events (recency bias) and sensationalism, we tend to oscillate one way (to help) or the other (to avoid) depending on our recent and past experiences and hearsay.

Unfortunately, we are surrounded by an environment (read media/news etc) that overemphasizes negativity and sensationalism and almost ignores the positivism around. I am sure that those of you with some insights into the history of our planet and the existence of our species will understand how 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!
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Old 13th June 2019, 17:13   #15
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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.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Brilliant post - thanks for sharing!

A key takeaway I want folks to realize that the world isn't as bad as it is being made to be.....I have given and taken lifts to numerous folks on my bikes and my cars; and have faced nothing but positive experiences; even a disabled hitch-hicker in the US who turned out to be a homeless guy traveling from Seattle to Miami, with nothing in his pockets and surviving on the generosity of others. Gave him a lift for ~100 miles distance, and at the end poorer by $20 and richer with the knowledge of one of the best radio channels that played old-school rock the entire day
ninjatalli.... It may interest you to know that almost all of the people who gave me a ride left behind something in my psyche - a truism, or a joke, or a life situation they were experiencing, or just about any other intersting story that you can think of. I remember every one of them today. It is amazing when I think about it.

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. I have stopped giving lifts to strangers completely be it if either sex. Being mugged at a secluded corner or getting falsely accused of outraging a female modesty are reasons sufficient enough to avoid strangers at all. The world may not be such a wicked place but you never know who is friend and who is foe. The world has been made a bad place by these conman and as the result, the person in real need is always being ignored by people.
After reading my post about hitchhiking on my blog outside Team BHP, my closest friend in the US who was also my classmate during my masters program emailed me this...

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I read it. It was good. You didn't edit it as well as others you've sent.

You were one CRAZY foreigner!! What would you think if one of your kids did the same thing? While you had some genuine and unique interactions with people, from my American perspective, you should feel very lucky you are alive. It will be interesting to read the responses from others who might share the guileless mindset you once had. I'm pretty be sure you would be more risk averse now, but I might be wrong.

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Originally Posted by superbad View Post
I think it's quite common in the Western countries to hitch hikes. Certainly not in our country where you can't tell a con man from a banker. Personally, I would hate to be in even a single situation where I've to depend on the charity of others, forget about living on their largesse for a long time. Hence would disagree with the OP's way. But each one to his own.
It USED to be common in western countries. Not so common anymore. Also, it is actually in western countries where it is harder to tell the difference between a con and a banker. There is much more homogeneity in the population there and a lot less inequality.

And about what you said regarding you hating being dependent on charity, I want to say that others including myself are no different. No one likes having their hand out. But, the key thing to realize is that most people who ask for help do so because they have very few other choices. At times, you can chalk up an unfortunate person's situation to self-inflicted conditions like laziness, or a lack of self-interest. But most times, people are simply stuck in a tough situation that is not of their making, and they do need a hand out to get out. I am just glad that people helped me. Today, I am quite cautious. But, I do help CAUTIOUSLY when I can.

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Originally Posted by B103 View Post
So many con men esp in the Indian cities. Difficult to sift the good out of the evil. Therein lies the problem when you want to help strangers especially when you are alone. It can be a double edged sword. Note that such help would end up as a happy ending, kind act in small towns.

I still remember reading about an instance in the news paper where a good Samaritan tried to help some youngsters at night who were seemingly down on the road having met with a bike accident in outer ring road, Bangalore. When he stopped they they came out of their pretension, stabbed him and stole his Scorpio leaving him to die. This is the reason why people are reluctant to help strangers. You have no cue of their ulterior motives.

I have seen people being reluctant to help in case of highway accidents also. Probably, most teambhp-ians may stop if they spot another car with the same brand sticker in trouble. Any experiences to share?
Sorry to repeat myself in the same post. But, in actuality, these sort of stories about good faith acts gone sideways are more predominant in the west. In India, I have heard overwhelmingly positive stories from the road. My dad built a 40 year career in sales and marketing in the FMCG sector in India. His stories and anecdotes about people coming out of nowhere to help him and his team are enough to make even the hardened person a bit misty eyed. But, by and large, I agree that in large metros the cons are more prevalent. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the conmen in the metros are super organized, and maybe even have some backing.

Finally, be advised that seeing a Team BHP sticker on a car is not to be treated as a blanket endorsement of the driver's character. Team BHP stickers are simply products that are freely available in the open market.

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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Three instances to quote, nothing concerning...

1. Virajpet to Mananthavady -

2. Kottathara to Masinagudi -

3. Kumarapalayam to Bhavani -

Learned good lessons, after that we avoid asking as much as possible unless its really really needed.

Edit - A bulleteer friend of mine said the below on his experience in Bihar...

Another incident - Was doing a solo West coast ride; so, somewhere in MH coastal, I think it was between Harihareshwar - Srivardhan or Srivardhan - Diveagar....
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.

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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.

PS: I cant stress enough how much you have brightened up my day.
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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.

I do however give a lift to cops - after checking their ID cards. I frequently drive between Mumbai and Mahad. These cops are posted at places like Mangaon / Indapur / Mahad and live in villages near Pen / Vadkhal naka and usually ask for a lift if they see a car with just one person in it.
Thank you guys.

And theqca... I too frequently help out policemen. Especially in Mumbai's crazy traffic. I work in Andheri and apparently they have a police quarters there. On my way home, I have taken at least a couple of cops from there to other parts of Mumbai.

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Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
Wonderful anecdotes Mohan! Lovely to read! While I myself don't have any such stories personally, let me share one from my grandfather.

It was the year 1985...
For sure, the India of today is a far cry from what it was in the 70s and 80s. For your information, during my bachelor's degree I had to do a thesis which was a massive undertaking lasting 18 months (3 semesters). At one point, I stayed in my guide's house for a full 4 months as I completed the work that gave me a university rank which in turn propelled all my career choices afterward. The guy refused to take any compensation from me. When I insisted that I at least pay for my own food, he invited me to leave his house and to never show my face to him again. He said that if he was compensation that he was interested in, helping a final year student with his thesis is hardly the route to take. I kept my mouth firmly shut after that. But, one I got to the US, I sent back my first 4 monthly stipends directly to him so that he could help other students.

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Originally Posted by Renjith Rajan View Post
Great experience!

I think you went a little too far by doing it for the entire length of the course, even though you had other options .

Personally, I don't like bothering other's with my problems. But if it is a must, I will think of several options and ask for the easiest help from them. Also, I get suspicious if someone ask for too much help for the trouble they are in. But I don't mind helping if I think it is genuine.
Like I said, I exercised other options where I could. I took the bus and the train often enough. It is just that I also took rides from strangers with serious regularity. And believe it or not, it is only now that I am actually realizing this fact.

I have actually written this entry as a blog outside of Team BHP; and one of my old classmates came across it and commented underneath the blog that it was an enriching experience for him too to share rides with me.


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Originally Posted by thelonewarrior View Post
Thanks Mohan for sharing your wonderful experiences with strangers. My experience is that 9 out of 10 times, we aren't likely to have a bad experience with strangers while seeking or offering help.

Go out and help whenever you can, we have come this far only by looking after one another!
Thank you. I didn't think it through the way you have. But, I think you could be right. Certainly, you have gotten me thinking on this subject. I suppose that with most of our thinking focused on the transactional nature of our everyday lives, we do not take a moment to reflect.
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