It was 1.30 pm and mercury was soaring like never before on a Wednesday noon . Anyone who standing under the burning sun would have had a sun stroke.
I had a meeting with an operating company Occidental just 10 km away from my office. In Muscat all settlement whether residential or commercials are clustered only on the sides of Dubai High way. All other roads are called service roads. With Gulf of Arabia on one side and sedimentary muddy mountains stretching in a circular fashion ,it seem Muscat city is in a valley. It is like a enclosed enclave with sea and mountains on its sides.
I was waiting for a taxi on one of the service road near my office in AL khuwair , one of the recently developed modern Muscat city. I felt irritated with the hot air burning my skin and nostrils. One Toyota corolla slowed down and stopped near me A Omani sitting in drivers seat dressed in traditional omani style asked me with a smile ' Where do you want to go ?'. Omanies e wear their traditional dress for all seasons. It is a pure white cotton gown covering from neck to toes that is very similar to the nighty , Indian women’s nightwear. Young Omanis do wear shiny gown in plain brown or other attractive colors in evenings. Some wear a funny turban or just the Muslim cap ( thopi) . It didn’t take me much time to realize it was not a taxi and was hesitant to even talk.
I said “ salammalakum , I am waiting for a taxi sir”
He gestured to get in and said , ‘I will drop you on the way’
I was surprised and was hesitant to get in. I asked ‘ Sir Are you running a taxi. I need to go to Gala “
Gala is the industrial estate. He smiled and said he was not a taxi driver but want to help me since am stupid to stand under the hot sun at a wrong place and at wrong time for a taxi. I really felt stupid as well as couldn’t believe someone would be so considerate to help a stranger.
He reassured that he will drop me in a place where I can get taxi easily. It was a mixed feeling. I was uncomfortable and uneasy yet was happy that someone is helping me. I did doubt his genuine concern on a stranger. After all I am an ordinary human who don’t have courage to trust even the angles.
With an half mind ,I got in and moment I engaged the seat belt he asked if I am from Madras. I was amused as mostly people refer the place by its new name ‘Chennai’ rather Madras to which I relate more easily . He gave me the initial comfort yet I was doubting his deed. I am always a devil’s advocate. He advised never to stand under the soaring sun at noon and enquired where I work and if I were new to the place. I was overwhelmed by his kind gesture and kept thanking him for being so kind and nice. He dropped me at a place which was more like a taxi stand. I showed my gratitude in a typical Japanese way by bending down and attempted to flatter him saying Omanis are warm and kind to strangers. He made a sarcastic remark “ Young man , most Omanis are nice compared to Indians here” .
I just blushed as I knew he spoke nothing but the truth. I wanted to defend my fellow Indians but before his kind gesture felt any defense would be of no use The truth is Indians do have their reservation to help their own race. You can realize it at any of the Indian consulates who are supposed to help their fellow people. Their infamous reputation presides everywhere.
His small gesture made a great impression about Oman and her people.
It is small gestures and deeds that make a great difference in world.