Sunday, 17 February 2008

On the road

The Kindness of strangers
If you are travelling in a strange land, during some parts of your journey you are bound to meet someone who, without acquiantance or obligation, goes out of his or her ways to help. In Dalai Lama's definition, these kind-hearted souls are called "bodhisattvas".

I was in a jeep travelling from Mandalay to Bagan, the city of thousand buddhist ruins. Passing by many remote villages and rice fields, my driver drove at accelerating speed as the sun was setting sooner than we thought.

Out of a sudden the whole jeep came to a halt, stopping in the middle of the country road. I observed out of the window and saw one of the car wheels was stuck in a huge pothole which my driver didn't notice. My driver tried to accelerate the speed in order to get out of the hole but failed several times.

Within a blink of an eye, 4 or 5 men in their worn-out clothes came rushing to us. I thought to myself, it must be robbery!

But to my surprise, they actually came to our rescue. They held the car firmly up, trying to push the wheel out of the hole. They were strong enough to move the jeep and I was thankful for their heroic act. They responded as if it was something natural to act in a situation like this.

I was really impressed. Where else on earth can you find helping hands so readily available without even having to ask for it?

The journey to Bagan has till today remained one of the most memorable.

Monastery school along the way from Mandalay to Bagan.

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