It was the day I started my own business. A friend of mine, who is also a networking consultant was helping me out in setting up the IT infrastructure at my office. We went to CTC in Secunderabad to buy a few desktops for the workspace.
After visiting a few vendors, we finalised the purchase of the desktops. With an intention to save on the transportation expenses, my friend suggested that we do self-transportation of the Desktops rather than asking the vendor to deliver them.
He went out to hire a means of a conveyance while I got the desktops hauled downstairs. By the time we did it, my friend was able to find an Auto-Rickshaw. After placing them in the auto, decided that I would accompany the desktops back to the office in the Auto. He told me that the process was already fixed and to pay the Autowallah 70 Rupees, or that was what I felt I heard.
On my way back, I was pondering whether it was 70 rupees or 170 rupees that I heard. I tried reaching my friend but to no avail. I did not want to embarrass myself if it was 170 and I offered only 70. At the same time, I did not want to ask the Auto driver because I felt if I told him my conundrum, he would pick the higher number of 170. My earlier experiences with the Auto guys was not the best of ones.
As we approached my office, my mind was flooded with thoughts of how to handle the minor situation I landed up with. I finally decided upon what had to be done.
I had this habit of rounding the fare to the nearest hundred if the fare fell short by 10-20 rupees. So, I decided to place a hundred rupee note in my shirt pocket beforehand and draw the note out while paying him. Based on his reaction, I would take out the wallet and give him the additional amount if the amount was supposed to be 170 rupees.
Once the desktops were unloaded, I proceeded to enact the plan. I drew the 100 rupee note from my shirt pocket and gave it to him. Even before I could signal him to keep the change, he proceeded to pull notes from his pocket to hand me over the change. So it was 70 rupees after all.
With remorse already kicking in seeing him trying to give the change, I signalled him to keep the change. His reaction was something that I would remember for a long time. My words would fail to carry the exact emotion he displayed. He did not doubt elated. With a feeling of gratitude large writ on his face, he folded his hands and proceeded to bow down. I knew what was coming and quickly stopped him in his tracks. I bid farewell and took the stairs.
I never imagined that 30 rupees would evoke so much emotion in someone. Might be he was already frustrated with all the haggling people do while hiring an Auto that even he did not expect that someone would ask him to keep the change. Or it could be that my friend was quite adamant about fixing the fare at 70 rupees that this came as a surprise for him.
Nevertheless, the showing of gratitude did shake me up. It was only a short time earlier that I was not even comfortable with clarifying my doubt about the fare with the suspicion that he would take advantage by saying it was 170 rupees.
The notions we carry.