During my articleship, I was on an audit of a Sugar factory near Lucknow. I had heard a lot about Triveni Sangam, a point where three rivers meet in Allahabad. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna meet and the undercurrents of Saraswati river joins the flow at this junction. For Hindus, a dip at this junction, is considered very auspicious and believed to liberate one of all sins. Since, the office I was at was very close to this place, I wanted to experience this dip.
The current is extremely strong at the point where the 3 rivers meet as it is at the center of the three rivers. A boat ride that is a few minutes long, takes you to the meeting point. A group of other boats lowers a wooden plank from their sides. These planks are supported by bamboos.
I was sharing a boat with a total of 8 passengers. While the boat was taking us to the Sangam, a boy from one of the smaller boats approached us and offered to show us a miracle.
He said (in Hindi, of course!), “Sir, look at this current of the two rivers Ganga and Jamuna. You throw a five or ten rupee note in the river, I will swim and bring it back. Tip me Re 1 if you are impressed.” This was 1967, so the purchasing power of Rs.10 was like that of today’s Rs.1,000. And Rs.10 from each passenger would make a reasonable amount.
The river’s current was extremely strong. To catch a paper flowing in the river and bringing it back against the current was just unbelievable. Everyone in the boat was impressed with the offer and were willing to test this little boy.
I said, “I will tip you of Rs.5 instead of Re.1, but you will have to throw your own currency note, not mine.” The boy completely ignored me. The other guys from our boat threw their currency notes. The youngster swam in such a strong current and collected the notes. It was a real feat and we appreciated it.
But he never returned! He just disappeared! On my return, I could see the same boy making the same proposal to another boat sailing towards the Sangam.
Ah, I did not lose my money!
This small incident in life made me wonder. Others will continuously judge you according to their own perceptions but are you able to judge others appropriately when they try to take advantage of you?