Debkumar Bhadra

Shore Point, Bambooflat, S Andaman-744107

It was just another day for M Nageshwar Rao, a cobbler until he picked up the suitcase that has come to his shop earlier on the day with a broken handle. As he turned the suitcase on the working platform, a bundle of currency notes popped out of it. He found the bundle had 11 notes of Rs 1000 each, totalling to Rs 11000.00 (repeat Eleven Thousand Rupees). Keeping the money in a secure place, he went ahead to accomplish the assigned work.

Next day, Surajit Chowdhury visited the shop to take delivery of the suitcase. He was happy to see his suitcase ready. But the real surprise was yet to be delivered. He was taken aback when Nageshwar Rao told him about the discovery of Rs 11000.00 from his suitcase. It was nothing less than a bounty, since he lost track of his money probably kept in the inner compartment of the suitcase during one of his repeated visit to mainland hospital few years back.

Awestruck, he offered Nageshwar Rao to take whatever amount he wishes, but he surprised him yet again. Nageshwar Rao said, he would be satisfied with the charges he is about to get for his work. He does not wish to take what doesn’t belong to him. Surajit Chowdhury wanting to reward him for the rare gesture voluntary offered some money, but could not convince him to accept it. He returned from his shop, high in spirit and shared what he considered the most impressive event of the day, on the social networking site facebook (page of The Light of Andamans).

Within a month, the post clocked 500+ likes, 150+ comment, few even copied and shared it on their wall, as a token of appreciation towards the honesty shown by Nageshwar Rao. Any post relating to A&N Islands which has this many likes, comments and shares attributed to a single issue is a rarity in itself. I therefore decided, I must meet him personally and convey him the feelings expressed in appreciation of his honesty by fellow beings.

I was impressed; Mr M Nageshwar Rao, son of Late M Venkanna is a contented man. His family consisting of his wife Mrs M Mariamma and three daughters, M Rani (19 Yrs), M Diviya (17 Yrs) and M Kezia (12 Yrs) live happily in a rented house at Lambaline. He has been professing the job of a cobbler for the last about 25 years. Earlier he used to ferry his box in search of customers, but few years back he got a shop in the PBMC complex near STS Bus Terminus at Aberdeen Bazaar. Since then he has been stationary, contented with his job and the earning he gets for mending peoples belongings.

During the course of interaction with Mr M Nageshwar Rao, I found him dedicated to his work. While answering my queries, his hands never stopped serving the customers calling on his shop. I said, you might be feeling disturbed by visitor like me. Nodding his head in disagreement, he said after the incident many persons met him, thanked him and some even photographed him on their mobile phones. This is a loss of time, I said. He smilingly replied, customers now come searching for M Nageshwar Rao; my customer base has increased, he smiles again and hammers the just mended piece of luggage before handing it over to a customer who has been patiently hearing our conversation.

Seeing a brief pause in customer visit, I asked, Eleven Thousand Rupees is a handsome amount, therefore how easy or for that matter difficult it was to walk the talk? He said it would have been really difficult had his family not stood behind him in the decision. He and his family believes what is not theirs, will not stay with them for long. So it is better to return whatever is not theirs.

The moral that Mr M Nageshwar Rao and his family relies upon is rarely seen, especially at a time when almost all the thing that one need to lead a decent life has a price tag attached to it.

Overwhelming response in the form of likes, comments and shares followed by personal visit expressing heartfelt gratitude is a pointer to the magnitude the incident had on the general mass. Mr M Nageshwar Rao by his deed has resurrected a dead trait, it is now upon us to walk the talk and keep the flag of honesty flying.