Meeting with a courageous man called Pappu

Posted: August 20, 2014 in Personal
Tags: , , , , ,

Madam mera photo leke kya karoge?” (Madam, what will you do with my photograph?) His eyes were gleaming with self-worth but still he was mouthing words of uncertainty as I took out my phone to click one photograph. He ruffled through his hair and posed quickly for it………………………………

My recent visit to Jagannath temple, Puri was supposed to be a spiritual journey with my parents wherein we wanted to thank God for all the ups and downs we saw in the past one year…for it brought only the best out of us. What I didn’t know was that during this trip my encounter with a less fortunate man named Pappu will open new doors of gratitude for me. Pappu, a 23 years old hard working man from Baleshwar, was a room service staff in the hotel where we stayed.


In our first day of meeting, I took him as yet another guest-pleaser staff who is seeking some gratuity from his guests. But, he was different from others; he proved me this during lunch when I was just listening to my starved stomach and ordering sloppily. This is when he jumped to my wallet’s rescue and suggested me to order half of what I was actually ordering.

“Itna nahi lagega madam. Kyu paisa aur khana barbaad karna. Main aapko batata hu utna hi krna aur please kisi ko mat bolna ke maine aapko bola tha. Woh kya hai na ke paise barbaad ho na to acha nahi lgta. Aap bura mat manna madam.”

(You won’t need this much madam. Why are you wasting both your time and money? I will suggest you the quantity but please don’t tell anyone about this. Actually I don’t like to see wastage of money. You please don’t mind madam.)

I was awestruck. A hotel staff paying more attention to curbing your expenses instead of manipulating to get more on table is completely far-fetched. Either he had something against his supervisor or he was oblivious of basic marketing tricks. Anyway, unable to think of anything else, I preferred to go by his suggestions at that moment.

After the lunch while he was clearing the table I asked him about his basic whereabouts. He politely replied, “Mera ghar Baleshwar me hai. Yaha pichle teen saal se kaam krta hu. Shayad apko yaad nahi aap pichle saal bhi aaye the. Tab main hi tha yaha. Aapko koi bhi problem ho bas ek baar room service me phone karke bolna ke Pappu ko bhej do. Main sab sambhal lunga. Aap tension mat lo.”

(My home is at Baleshwar. I work here from last three years. I think you don’t remember but last year when you came at that also I was here. If you face any kind of problem just call room service and ask them to send Pappu. I will handle everything. You don’t worry.)

Revering in my vacation thoughts, I did not bother to inquire any further. I smiled and went away. Next day we came back to hotel in evening after a pleasant boat ride at Chilka Lake.


We badly wanted something to eat, but the hotel restaurant was closed and none of us had the energy to go out to eat something. As expected, Pappu was the only person who could help us. We called him and in less than 15 minutes he arranged sandwich. Although the sandwiches were more like what your roommate would make on a lazy Sunday morning, it was filling. The restaurant was closed so I am still not sure from where did he manage. As a gesture of gratefulness we asked him to stay back for some time and offered him a sandwich and water. He denied that, but then he started talking with tenderness in his eyes. My mother asked him at what time he usually eats.

“Aapne pucha mujhe bahut acha laga. Koi aise puchta nahi hai. Yeh log bahut kaam karate hai. Raat 12 baje tak jage rehna padhta hai aur 4 baje uthna padhta hai. Khana ka koi fixed time nahi hai. Sab guests ke khane ke baad hi khate hai.” He replied.

(I appreciated that you inquired about this because no one asks this to me. These people make me work a lot. I have to stay awake till 12 and then wake up at 4 in the morning. There is no fixed time to eat. I eat only after all the guests are done.)

My mother became highly compassionate and asked him further, “tumhare mummy papa kya kaam karte hai? Aakhiri baar ghar kab gaye the?” (What does your parent do for living? When was the last time you went home?)

“Actually mere papa bimar rehte hai. Mummy kuch nahi karti. Didi ki shaadi karani thi isi wajah se mujhe padhai beech me chodna padha. 12 pass karne ke baad engineering karna chahta tha. Lekin koi baat nahi mera chota bhai abhi school me hai aur mera plan hai ki main usko padhaunga chahe jaise bhi ho. Mera rehna aur khana to yaha free hai. Yaha se jo mujhe milta hai who main sab ghar pe bhej deta hu. Ek din bhi chutti nahi leta. Pichle saal gaya tha ghar aur abhi jab tak kuch aur paisa nahi hoga ghar nahi ja sakta.”

(Actually my father is unwell and mother doesn’t work anywhere. We had to get my elder sister married so I left my studies midway. I wanted to pursue engineering after 12th, but that’s fine as my little brother is still in school and I will take care of his studies irrespective of all situations. I don’t have to pay anything for food and lodging here so I send all my salary back home. I never take any holiday. Last year I went home, but this time I can’t go unless and until I save a good amount of money again.)

We all must have heard numerous stories similar to Pappu in our lives from many people. But, listening to all this from the mouth of the sufferer himself got me choked for a second. Howbeit, I found it surprising that he was not wallowing in sadness and neither was he feeling sorry for himself. On the contrary, he showed all of us a path of optimism and a path to harness the goodness amidst all the menacing stages of life. Before we could say anything, in a flash of second, he uprooted the feeling of misery we started having for him.

“Mujhe pata hai aap logo ko mere pe daya aa rhi hogi. Lekin Madam sach batau to aisa kuch mat sochna. Kyunki yeh bas kuch saloon ki baat hai. Main aur mehnat karunga aur dekhna ek ache engineering college me admission lunga kabhi. Mujhe daya nahi value chahiye. Aur aapne mujhe yeh pucha ke maine khaya ya nahi yahi mere liye bahut badi baat hai. “

(I know you all are feeling pity on me, but madam to tell you the truth, it is not like that. Because it is just a matter of few years. I will work harder and one day I will take admission in a good engineering college. I don’t want pity, but Value. And you asked me whether I ate or not this is more than enough for me.)

His thoughts kept striking my mind like a sledgehammer; I kept thinking that we usually fall apart like a house of cards on slightest of dilemma, and here was a man standing in front of me with so much sanguinity and courage that can put anyone to shame. Even if there is one moment to spare, we start thinking of our impending struggles and start getting apprehensive. There is something to learn from everyone and Pappu’s courage taught me not only to be optimistic, but also to be considerate to people even for the smallest smidgen. He proved the saying right that it’s always better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Whether it was his honesty on first day, his gentleness towards his guests or his self-esteem while talking about his situation, I don’t think it’s every day we come across someone who can establish a strong ground with so much conviction. He was right in saying that there was nothing that we could give him. On the contrary, he gave me lot of wisdom and insight to take back home after the trip.

On the last day when he came to pick our luggage I asked him, “Pappu aapka ek photo le skte hai kya?” (Pappu can I take your photograph?)

Madam mera photo leke kya karoge?” (Madam, what will you do with my photograph?) His eyes were gleaming with self-worth but still he was mouthing words of uncertainty as I took out my phone to click one photograph. He ruffled through his hair and posed quickly for it.

“Kyunki Pappu aap jab engineering college me jayenge to hum sab aapse nahi mil payenge.”

(Because we won’t be able to meet you when you will get admission in engineering college)

I replied him back while I took his last memory with us in my phone.


P.S: All photographs belong to me and I have full copyright over them.

  1. Akshit Choudhary says:

    Excellent piece. I loved the way you stared. I don’t hope, rather I’m sure that this guy will make it to college one day. Self motivation is a very very tough job to do. One might say that he is obliged to perform his duties towards his family but this is what and how family in this country is built of, sacrifices. Huge respect!!

  2. Charu says:

    With his attitude towards life, he truly blurs the line between fortunate & less fortunate as you said too. Infact in front of his attitude & positive approach we seem to be less fortunate, not because what we have or what we don’t but because we lack that level of gratitude & positivity in our thought process. Love his spirit to live & fight for what he dream with smile on face & love for life.

    Loved the way you presented his story, proud of you. 🙂

    • @charu: yes u are absolutely right that positivity matters a lot in our thought process. Hope his story will inspire us for years. Thanks for taking out time n reading buddy 😊

  3. Ratul Majumdar says:

    excellent…. we people should try to learn something from this …. thank u indrani for a wonderful writing which made us able to think about…. which now a days we are lacking between all the activities and busy schedule of us… Thanks a lot…

    • @Ratul: Often we tend to overlook the smallest things in our lives in quest of bigger happiness. I am glad u enjoyed reading this one. Keep smiling n reading this blog 😊

  4. Mancy says:

    That was an incredible memory you’ve shared with us. I’m sure a lot of us would be so really thankful upon meeting Pappu and others like him. Felt very nice and yet confident again. Thanks for keeping me motivated, darling! 🙂

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