Friday, October 11, 2013

Thanks For Asking, But I Am Busy

Thanks For Asking But I Am Busy

Have you ever gritted your teeth to avoid screaming at someone trying to help you? If you have ever had such a trying experience, then you would sympathize with what I went through this morning. There I was standing at the bus stop, minding my own business and waiting for the right bus to come, when almost half the population in the city turns up to offer me a lift somewhere. I mean, I never knew till today that there were so many good people with their own vehicles willing to help others or that a majority of them were in my friends list and were pained to see me waiting for a bus.

Despite my best efforts at hiding behind other passengers who were waiting at the bus stop, which given my size an act of not much use but done in pure desperation, person after person after person was invariably stopping their vehicles and cheerfully asking me to "Get in and I will drop you wherever you want to go". While they waited expectantly (engines running) for me to hop on behind them or beside them, I was grinding my teeth in frustration at their refusal to take a no for an answer. My frustration was due in part to the reason that people fail to understand the simple logic that if someone says no for the first half a dozen times, it’s just not because he is shy but there is some other reason he couldn’t say aloud right then (in public) and hence wouldn't change his mind even if he should be asked again another half dozen times.

But my good natured friends never gave up on me and never ceased coming to my help. Every minute or so one of them  passing by would spot me, brake abruptly (with a loud screech) in the middle of the road and spend the next five minutes or so coaxing and cajoling me to along go with them in their vehicle, while I kept protesting vehemently that no, no it wasn’t a bother at all and I didn’t want to unnecessarily disturb them, that I would not mind taking the bus which was to come pretty soon and for which I had made such an effort to be there- waking up at dawn and hurrying to the bus stop.

I further pleaded with them if they didn’t leave right away I would feel guilty all day for delaying them from their urgent work or wherever they were going to in a hurry, at which they cheerfully declared that they had no urgent work right then but would happily take the time to take me to wherever i wanted to go. I could appreciate the depth of their feelings for me and had to curse my own popularity and on another day I would have just give in and gone away with them merely to avoid becoming a public spectacle on the bus stand attracting the attention of everyone standing around and wondering why i was so insistent on going by that particular bus. But that is another story- the reason for why I have now come to love traveling by public transport.

Anyway, after numerous denials and declarations of my comfort in traveling by bus, my far too helpful friends allowed me to board the bus which at last came into view. As i hung on to the foot board of the overcrowded bus, holding on tightly to the door frame with my fingertips to avoid becoming the next day’s news headlines, I couldn’t help but feel totally exhausted (mentally) after all those arguments with all those well wishers of mine. And I wondered wistfully if maybe I had been too subtle in my denials and did not pass the message on clearly and was in some way responsible for people assuming that I was just playing coy and hard to get.

Or is it the other way around? That people just can’t take a hint? Being good naturedly helpful is one thing but persisting beyond all limits and denials to offer help is going a bit beyond the call of duty isn’t it? Is this what’s called killing by kindness? Smothering with affection? I confess that i am continuously surprised by the depths to which my friends go for me (lucky aint I?) - Even if completely unnecessary. I understand even if I can’t appreciate. And I just can’t get angry at them for that, can I? Intentions excuse actions, right? Or not?


  1. Achha, did you find someone else other than the Guy de Maupassant-girl? Well, I'm sure you have someone otherwise why would you refuse the comfort of travelling in a cushioned air-con car rather than the crowded and smelly government buses.

    Waiting to read more.

    Joy always,

    1. hmmmm.....i am the if at first you dont succeed, try, try, try again type yes i i consider traveling by the bus an Action/Adventure movie with a bit of romance thrown in....

  2. You are one lucky guy.. imagine so many people wanting to give you a lift.. but what was the reason you declined? Waiting to board a bus on the foot board so you could meet someone :interesting" inside :) ?? But on a more serious note, in India people do not take refusals seriously because one is expected to decline when offered something - remember how your mother must have taught you as a kid to say "No" when offered something to eat at a neighbor's house? And even if you did take something that second helping was always a "no, no" !!

    1. Absolutely true Meera, culturally we are a nation which takes "no" for just a delayed "yes" and people think they can get over any inhibitions with time and effort....and on a lighter note- well its pretty obvious isnt it? the answer to your question: oh yeah......