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Mr Li Pong and his world of smile and patience

As I was trying to park my car, I banged into a Wagon-R.  Realizing the damage to be huge, I prepared myself to face the consequence. In Delhi a defaulter has to go through a series of verbal abuses before finally paying for the actual damage. The frequency and tune of abuses sometimes varies depending upon appearance and attitude of the stakeholder.

“It’s ok, don’t worry, there is only a minor brush….Chill” owner of the Wagon-R came smiling towards me. “My visit to the workshop is due, shall get it repaired next week” the owner introduced himself as Mr Li Pong from Meghalaya, shook hands with me and left. For a while I could not believe my eyes and ears. I entered my home relaxed and confused unable to come in terms with what I had experienced….a rare kind of behaviour.

A week later I met Mr Li Pong again during our morning walk, we greeted each other and kept walking together. I enquired if his car was repaired, to which he smiled and replied “if for every minor scratch, I run to a workshop, I would never effort to enjoy my life”. Mr Pong , was recently posted to Delhi, like me he too works for a PSU. It was his first posting in a metro city and he had apprehension shifting to Delhi. But finally found three factors in favour of the city; health care, children education and PVR theatre…. he enjoy masala hindi movies .

While walking through the park, joggers and walkers greeted him. Just when I was wondering how come an outsider knew most of the people, a bunch of children cheered up upon seeing him. It was his football team, mostly street children. He said good bye to me and soon got engaged with the game. There was hardly any space but was enough for the 12 odd footballers to sweat it out. Mr Li looks like a footballer around 5 feet 10 inches in height, muscular and without moustache like any other guy from north-east.

In the next few days we became quite friendly. I started observing him very closely, the way he smiles, talks to people and approaches an issue. He was a very ordinary guy in the neighbourhood but I must admit he emits positivity from every part of his body. While driving he would prefer to wait rather than honking. From watchman to the rag picker he would address them by name and they reciprocate accordingly. He always carries his smile and patience with him and surprisingly he succeeded in solving all his issues with his two ‘ priceless weapons’.

One fine day I asked him how can he be so nice and still manage to push ahead with his way in a city like Delhi. He responded smilingly “when you are new to a place or an organization, people consider you to be a threat and treat you in an unusual manner”. He continued “But when you behave with them in a polite manner, they assume, too much of good behaviour can only come from a weak person and that’s when their fear drops down”. Mr Li went on elaborating “once you succeed in erasing the element of threat from their mind, the same people will unknowingly agree/surrender to whatever you say”. He concluded “I prefer to be weak and happy rather than to be strong and unhappy”…..It’s all about our choice and perception.

I started practicing the thumb rule of smile and patience. I found the formula to be working. Once I was forced to park my car few yards away from my house ( in Lajpat Nagar all cars are parked on the road). A lady came yelling at me “this is our space, don’t you have mind, where will we park our motor cycle”. More than the words it was her tune which irritated me. I smiled, but she continue with her verbal gun shots, I smiled again (I must say it was tough) she continued. Finally when she stopped I explained it to her that I stay on the other side of the road and if she really wants I am ready to remove my car. I tried to convince her saying that being her neighbour we are like a family as in the case of a small town from where I came. Further, I explained to her that she can count on me for any kind of help even it is at mid night. She stared at me for a while, asked my house nos. and allowed me to park my car. Since, then I never had problem parking my car.

In the second instance, a visitor’s car was parked in the slot reserved for our top floor tenant Mr Deepak. Deepak ji was a hot headed guy and when he found his space to be occupied, he intentionally parked his car behind the visitor’s car. When the visitors finally arrived, they could go as the path was blocked. Neighbours called Deepak ji to remove his car but eventually they all end up in a big quarrel. The atmosphere was completely charged up and both parties started abusing each other’s. The common Delhi’s idiom of  “tu janta nahi may kaun hu…..Vidhayak ji mera Chacha hai….ek phone karunga sab samaj may a jayga ” came up several time. The visitors were four guys all in their mid-twenties. Mr Deepak dared them to do whatever they like but refused to remove his car and went back to his room. This continued for around 30 minutes with number of spectators growing every minute including me. Finally I called up Mr Li Pong. Incidentally Mr Li was out of station, however he listened to the problem and finally gave me an instant solution. According to his advice I went to Mr Deepak’s room smiling, asked for the car key and volunteered to remove the car. Deepak ji could not refuse me. As the visitors left and the drama ended, my neighbours applauded me. I was given a celebrity status on that particular evening.

Since then, I am trying to follow the thumb rule. I have found success on few occasion but I must confess the process is very tough. If I succeeded I would be the happiest person .My perception to life is changing. Now, sometimes I carry a toffee or biscuit for the rickshaw wala who drop me in the metro station.  Last weekend he bought “am ka acchar”  for me from his village in Bihar.

Abhijit Bhattacharya
CSR, ONGC, Delhi.
13th June 2013.



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Assam Times Staff


Hridoy Deka's picture

The Writer Abhijeet Bhattacharya is also the Ex Captain of Indian Volleyball team.
Sailesh Sarmah's picture

The story is a real eye opener.... I have been trying some of this in my day to day life too...Earlier I would get angry even at the small pretext.... But now I try to ease myself up at situations... But this story now adds a new dimension to my approach and hope we succeed...Its tough... very very tough for us ... as we had always been hot headed... but with time and maturity... of course we can change... Change for good....Nice Abhi.... Good Read...

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Leishiyo Keishing interacts at Phungyar

28 Aug 2016 - 8:54pm | Lester Makang

In what could be described as a crowd-pulling event, more than one thousand people from over a dozen villages in Phungyar subdivision gathered at the local market shed to pledge their support for Er. Leishiyo Keishing an intending candidate for the ensuing Manipur Legislative Assembly elections during a lively one day public interaction programme held at the sub divisional headquarters on Friday.

Braving the heatwave, more than one thousand people from about 20 villages under the subdivision from Koso village to extreme eastern village Sorbung including village chiefs, social workers, public leaders and Church elders converged at the venue at 10 am.

The meeting comprised of speeches from the intending candidate and social leaders in the first session followed by a lively public interaction and discussion in the second. Towards the close of the interaction, the villagers through a declaration unanimously took the pledge to support Er. Leishiyo Keishing in the upcoming polls.

Addressing the gathering, Er. Keishing drew the attention of the public on the question of what is stopping our tribal people from leading an honourable and self reliant life in our own encestral lands. 'Despite being endowed with rich natural and human resources, we continue to lag behind in all aspects of life and suffer from inadequacy,' he said.

Blaming misgovernance largely for the mess, he categorically stated that politics of schemes and contract works is running rife in the present day government system and added that politics should be nothing less than making policies for the good of the people.

Noting that majority of the present day youngsters from the district have gone for 'nomadic lifestyle' staying put outside the state, he lamented that they are unlikely to return home until their prime period is over.

Most youngsters rush off to cities for studies or in search of jobs to make a living, he said and questioned: "Isn't it time we do something to create job avenues and other opportunities for them and improve the quality of life in our own lands? Unless we do this, what legacy would we leave for them?"

While spelling out his visions for the people, Er. Keishing testified to his commitment, saying: "I have forsaken my job, comfort of my home and company of my family, just about everything to serve my people, if given a chance."

He underscored the urgency of extending basic amenities and infrastructures in education, water supply, electricity and communication to the people of Phungyar on priority basis.

Among his envisioned targets, he listed conservation of land and forest, optimization of benefits under Act East Policy, employment generation and emotional and geographical integration of the indigenous hill people as vital areas to usher in positive change particularly in Phungyar and Ukhrul district in general.

Phungyar village chief Shimreishang also exuded hope that Er. Keishing would secure the ticket to fulfill the wish of the people. Khukok Long chairman exhorted the gathering to beg for Almighty's blessing, and several other speakers also displayed the same sentiment.

Interestingly, even as Er. Keishing who hailed from Nambashi Horton village, is currently seeking a Naga People's Front (NPF) ticket to contest the forthcoming Assembly polls from 43 Phungyar Assembly Constituency, many of his supporters and well wishers have already begun vouching for the ticket in favour of him.

Held under the theme 'Atam Chi Aruina'(The Time Is Now), the meeting was the third of three major interaction meets of Er. Keishing with the public of the constituency, two of which were held earlier this month at Kasom Khullen and Kamjong electorates respectively.


Vaccination rumours push panic

20 May 2017 - 11:01am | AT Kokrajhar Bureau

Many students are absent from their schools due to rumors of JE vaccination drive in Kokrajhar district. In Kokrajhar, the Joypur Jakir Hussain LP school saw only 20 students present out of 209 while only 15% percent students were attended at Joypur ME school on Friday.

The students have expressed their concern about the JE vaccination rumor in the school. They said that their parents obstructed them not to go to school as JE vaccines would be performed in the schools. Students said that they heard new about vaccination drive among school children which claims lives post vaccination.

Teachers in both LP and ME school said that student's attendance is becoming very poor since two-three days due to rumor. 

They said that there is no vactinatio programme in the school.

ABSU condemns firing incident

6 Aug 2016 - 9:17pm | AT News

The Kokrajhar District Committee, All Bodo Students Union condemned the mass killing at Balajan Tinali weekly market about 10 km per way from Kokrajhar Town oFriday by some terrorist where at least 15 innocent people were shot dead and many other injured of which many are in critical.

The students union organised a sad day and protest against this mass killing in all the school and colleges entire the Kokrajhar  district wearing with black badge participated by all the students. Participating in the programme held at Kokrajhar Girls Higher Secondary School Lawrence Islary General Secretary of All Bodo Students Union have demanded to both Central and state Government to take strict action against the terrorist behind this inhuman attacked and take necessary steps for ensuring the safety and security of the citizens and provide adequate compensation to the families of death victims and injured persons. He also said that the incident has brought to light the failure of police administration intelligence and the security agencies of the state and he appealed to the Chief Minister of the state Government and Home Minister of the Union Government to take immediate joint steps to tackle the situations to bring permanent peace and security in the region, said Nion Mushahary, general secretary of Kokrajhar district committee, ABSU at a press release