It was 6’O clock in the evening and there was a lot of traffic on the road, when suddenly my eye got to a guy (carrying a backpack) on the left side of the road asking for lift. By the time I stopped, he was left 50 meters back. He ran towards me, asked to take him 2 Kms straight away. I shook my head giving him consent and he got on board.
It was 1st Oct 2021, second last day of my 7-day long journey along west-coast and first day in the “beach capital of India”, Goa. It was a nice weather that lovely evening . As I rode over I asked him, “where exactly you want to go?”. The response was not clear as his voice was very low. Again I asked him, “where are you coming from?”. He answered “Hyderabad”. He further said, “Bro, I got robbed?”. I said, “what?”. He told, “Two guys met me train to Goa from Hyderabad and took away my phone and cash I was carrying”.
I stopped and offer him water as he was not feeling good, I felt. I was feeling bad for him and at the same time keen to know what exactly happened with him. Looked for a place to sit and asked him, “when did this all happen?” He said 2 days ago. I then obviously asked, “how did you managed for last two days?”. He slept on road and ate food given by someone, he answered. Having heard this all I got sympathy for him. He appeared to be very slow and his voice was low. His shirt and pant was full of dirt. I asked him, ”Are you addicted to alcohol or some sort of drug?”. He said, ”No”. Further I asked him to change his clothes. But he denied. I insisted, he checked his bag but everything in his bag was wet as the bag was drowned in water. I offered him my t-shirt. He accepted and wore that.
I was feeling hungry, asked him to join for the dinner. We sat on the table and I felt he was bit relaxed now. Suddenly I asked him, “Didn’t you file a police complaint?”. Yes, he replied. Again I asked him, ”Didn’t you call your family?” He said, “my family includes my father who is a worker and grandma”. Her mother was no more. I asked him to phone anyone he knew. He did call a number which belonged to the church he worked in, but no response was there. I then asked him, “any id card?”. He in response took out ‘adhar card’ which too was wet. His name mentioned on the card was ‘Leon Salva Patrick’, s/o-Salva Patrick, address – West Venkatapuram Alwal Secunderabad Andhra Pradesh(500015). I tried to talk him anything which will open him up. He did respond positively. He worked in a church in his locality and he was talking about critical sciences, supernaturalism. He asked me, “Do you believe in supernatural things?”. I can’t deny, I replied. He talked about some verses of Bible, some people from Hollywood like Chris Hemsworth, Kevin Hart. He mentioned he went to Bombay to meet someone. At some point of time I seriously felt, “he’s mad or what?”. But the way he was conversing in English, his humbleness, diversity of his knowledge and his reactions to my words completely busted the myth.
Interrupting him in between. I asked him, “what should I do for you?”. I want to go home, he replied. I asked him, “If I’ll arrange tickets, can you go?” He shook his head saying yes. At that point of time we were 20 Km from Panji bus station. I thought it’s a duty and rode him to Panji swiftly as it was 8’O clock by the time. I bought a bus ticket for Hubli(Karnataka) and from there to Venkatapuram. Before he boarded the bus I made sure he’s having some cash, water and some biscuits. But this time he said, “I want cake.” I took him to his seat. While I was returning he asked my contact number. I wrote on a paper and gave him.
I waited till the bus left the station, wished for his safe arrival and left the bus station for my own destination. Later it occurred to me that had not asked the man for a phone number so that I could check he had reached home safely. Despite having helped him on his way, I felt sad this would forever remain another unresolved question in my mind.