I had a very interesting experience, when I visited the Mumbai Dabbawalas Association yesterday. (to make them an offer to try and help at least one Dabbawala every month with a new bicycle…)
One of the Dabbawalas’ , holding a senior post in their organisation, asked me, looking straight into my eyes without a blink, suspicion resting heavily on his eyelids: ‘Saab, aap ka iss mein kya faida hai?’ :p (Hey Dude, What is your benefit (profit?) in this offer you have made to us?)
Honestly, I was foxed for an answer. Maybe because I never had a reason when I could donate the first bike more than a year ago thanks to myself and my friends.
So, I fell back to Mother Nature, and asked this senior Dabbawala, with a smile ‘Do you ask the rain clouds why they pour rain over us? Do you question the snow on mountain tops why she melts herself to journey as rivers to the oceans, feeding all living beings on her way? Do you question the seed that outgrows herself to bear us trees flowers fruits? Do you! :p
Well, as I had intended and expected, he was stunned! 😉
I continued… ‘In your silence lies the answer not just from me, but also from my donors. Because I have never asked them their reasons why they offer to help people like your Dabbawalas, and they never give me one.’ 🙂
Just before I left that meeting, he was the only one who got up and offered me a hot cup of tea. It was an odd time to drink tea, so I politely refused. He literally forced the hot cup into my hands. 🙂
On your behalf I gracefully accepted it. And I enjoyed not just the tea’s extra sweetness, but also the Dabbawalas’ extra warmth. 🙂
I smiled on my way out. That, is one of the reasons, and I should have probably told him that, I thought in retrospect.