Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Honest Man - Kalu Sa

So often we travel, and so often we meet new people. On my latest trip across the land of brave warriors, the land of great culture and heritage, I met a lot of such people, meeting who was a treat in itself. Yes I am talking about Rajasthan which incidentally is also the land of poor - living in mud houses and struggling to make their daily livings. One could find many such disfavoured souls and they all had one thing common, their smile and their resolve to still help you and welcome you with open arms. These were not the mediocrities but ones who had accepted their fate and way to live.

So this story begins at the end of my journey. I had a train to board at 4:45pm from the beautiful city of Jaisalmer bathing in yellow sun, after spending my life’s best Holi festival there. As I reached the top of the queue for my train tickets, my Italian friend Amedeo made me realize that one of my bags was missing. I soon realized that I had left it in the auto as I got off it in a jiffy to get the tickets for the train back to Delhi. I rushed out but the auto was no longer there.

So, I had lost all my clothes and a few valuables but that was not the point. Even at 23 years of age, never would my parents accept that I have grown up and can travel by my own if something of this sort had happened. I had to find my luggage. So I inquired a few auto-drivers. No, I dint remember the auto number or the exact look of the driver.

“Do you know where you took the auto from?” asked one of the auto drivers who seemed impervious to the situation.

“We have fixed areas” said another one of them.

I did remember it and so took an auto with Amedeo to the place I took the auto from. He was not there. There were a couple of autos who said that the only person missing is Kalu Sa, a dark, old Muslim man.

“Must be him then” I said, still irate at my own stupidity and negligence.

“You know once I lost my i-phone on a bus in London and found it 7 days later in the lost-found department. That’s when I fell in love with that city. Here, such a thing would be impossible” cited Amedeo.

As our wait continued for an hour the clock struck 5pm. I had already missed my train. Someone pointed out that his home is nearby, “Why don’t you take his phone number and call him?”

Good idea, I thought, probably the last one too.

As I took first steps towards his home, I heard someone shout: “Sahabji.. Saaaabji” I looked back and it was our man.

“You forgot your luggage in my auto. I looked for you on the station but could not find you. So I looked into each bogie of the train but you were not there. They did not allow me in the AC coach so I thought I had missed you. Here is your bag” said Kalu Sa, as I thanked my stars.

Before I could thank him, he said “Please check your bag, as some other ‘savari’ had sat in the auto and told me that there was already a bag”

“I can’t thank you enough. The bag must be fine, I don’t need to check” I said picking up my bag.

Checking the bag would have been a great insult to his honesty. I wanted to give him some money as a token of appreciation but again, I dint want to offend his candour act.

“You missed your train, how will you go? There are no buses today because of Holi” asked Kalu Sa.

“I’ll try and get the next train at night” I said again thanking him for his deed.

I booked a ticket for a train at 11:15pm and waited at a restaurant ‘TRIO’ at the same place where I picked the auto in the first place.

As I came out at 10:30pm, an auto approached me and Kalu Sa’s voice said “Station Sahabji?”

“Yes!” I said smiling with a little embarrassment and a little happiness.

As we reached the station, the fare read Rs.40. I handed him a 100 rupee note and walked away thanking him.

He smiled and said “If you ever come to Jaisalmer again, do visit. I’ll still be in my area – Gandhi Chowk

“I am a fan of this place, I love it and its people” said Amedeo as we boarded the train taking with us.. few realizations.

Autos outside Gandhi Chowk in Jaisalmer


  1. aww
    i want to meet kalu sa
    do u have any picture???

  2. MAN!...... i just wanna be there??
    weekend chalein!!
    freak... INDIA!.. RAJAsthan!... BESHT!
    *******GOING OUT OF WORDS************

  3. the place is as good as it can get!
    my fav station with goa..

    and no i dint take a pic! :(
    dint have my cam on the trip!

  4. Awesum!!
    lets plan it then.. what say buddies..
    @rishi: jatin kahega man nahi hai!!!!!!!!!!

  5. u always plan ur trip to rajastahan whn m busy...
    missd it again



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