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So, I am standing at a paan shop – one of those large shop-front variety that you find in Western India (different from the humble khokhas/khomchas that dot the North). A gentleman walks in, puts his hands in his pockets and several coins fall. One lands on my foot.

A fairly common occurrence – my standard protocol would be to shake my foot to drop the coin and step aside so that the gentleman can pick it. That’s how I would react, that’s how I have always reacted – it’s such a small thing – programmed in my head like press the button, bulb glows.

But, I bend down, pick the coin and hand it over to the gentleman. It happens so instinctively, I am amazed at myself.

And then, I remember. Some ten days ago, I was at Nazeer’s. Ordered food at the counter, time to pay. Wallet out, coins fall. One lands near the feet of the gentleman standing besides. He steps aside, bends down, picks the coin and hands it over to me. I smile and thank. End of the story.

Only, the story didn’t end there. It somehow seeped in my subconscious and changed one of the most automatic patterns in my head. The gentleman doesn’t know. But his little act just made me more civil.

Like the good in you finding its way into someone else and making him slightly better.

(Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels)

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