The man who reads the electricity consumption meter came. The normal thing would be for him to come and go unnoticed, unacknowledged. This time I happened to be around, so I greeted him.
He was carrying a credit-card swiping kind of device in which he keyed in the meter reading. He then pressed a button and a print out of the consumption bill for previous month tongued out. I got quite impressed (and excited) to see such nifty technology deployed out here. Sometimes I am like that – getting excited at seemingly normal stuff.
No issue of mailing the bill to customer addresses. These devices get loaded with the bill data when the processing is done at the office and the new reading recorded in the device is downloaded to the servers when these people go back to the office.
So, (since I was excited), I asked the man if I could take a picture of his with the device giving out the bill. He said yes, but seemed hesitant. I took 2 pics of his. He looked even more hesitant and asked where I will put it. Will I put it in the newspaper? I said, “Oh no! I will put it on the internet. If you are uncomfortable about it, I will not”.
He shared with me his reason for being hesitant. I understood and said, “Oh ok. Then I won’t put it”.
“You can take a snap of mine when I come next month and put that one”, he said. We agreed on that and he left.
5 minutes later, he was back. “Madam, madam!”. I went out. He: “I will come tomorrow itself. I have some work here, you can take my snap tomorrow.” Amused at his eagerness, I smiled and said, “Ok, sure”.
Next day, there he was. All ready for the photo shoot. I took 2 photos. He wanted to know if he can see it on another computer after it is published. I said yes. He asked for the address. I said it will be generated only after I publish it. So we parted upon the agreement that he will get to see it next time he comes.
My momentary appreciation of the technology deployed had predictably worn off in a few minutes itself. However, it was just so sweet and endearing – his eagerness to fulfill my request and to see his photo published. He was eager yes, but there was a decorum about him. No expression of excitement.
So, I just have to share his photo with you – and I happily await sharing it with him next month.
Sweet simple human encounters. Simple connections to be grateful for.