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Jim Ellery: Adventure Story "The Kindness of Strangers"

We were, yet again, stranded with a dodgy Enfield , somewhere in India, near the Pakistan border. With no great surprise, and with Dean’s charming command of Hindi, we immediately found an excellent garage. The bike was calmly mended over many cups of chai and chat; and I gave a 500 INR note tip to the mechanic.

We paid the bill at the office, happy to be on our way.

As we rode out of the garage compound, the mechanic, who was waiting for us on the next street corner, flagged me down.

He held out the 500 INR note, and returned it to us saying, slightly sternly: “Thank you for your kindness, but please give this to a stranger who needs this money – I have a good job, there are millions here in India who do not."

We rode on, choked and stunned by humiliation, across the Thar desert, rapidly cooling in the night air. Silenced by our foolish misplaced charity. Diminished under a billion trillion stars.

Travel Tip Learn a touch of Hindi – it will get you into , and out of , some very amusing spots.

Jim Ellery, Adventure Ashram Supporter

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