Helping Others, Part 2
I'm really the panicky type, but when the voice on the other end of the phone was an automated message saying "Your number cannot be completed at this time. Please try again later" over and over again, I felt like hitting the panic button, no make that slamming the panic button.
I immediately went back to my scheming mode to cook up a plot to dupe the guards into letting me in the village. Here were some of my plans:
- Ask one of my female Indian classmates who is here in Manila to accompany me to the village and pretend we're husband and wife;
- A modification of Plan #1: Ask a few of my Indian classmates to accompany me to the village and pretend I'm their driver and they are the ones who need to go to the Indian embassy
- Let my friend Ninoy do the talking.
If you notice, my plans are toeing the ethical line, test of whether the end really justifies the means.
Before I could unleash any of my ethically unsound plans, a couple of people told me that my mentor, Prof. Junbo, was looking for me. I went to his office and he asked some stuff about his broadband internet connection at home. As he asked what I've been doing, I narrated by problem about getting inside the village where the Indian embassy is located. To my surprise, he said he had access to the village and he offered to drive me to the embassy. Serendipitously, Prof. Junbo's said his privilege to enter the village will expire the next day. I even got a call from Prof. Purba Rao offering the same thing when when she learned of the problem with the phone number
I gladly accepted his offer and we left to go to the Indian embassy after a few minutes. Internally, I was feeling relief and gladness over the good fortune that befell upon me. As I thought about it, if Prof. Junbo had not met with me, I would have been done something crazy to just get inside. But there I was, listening to my mentor's stories about his experiences in AIM and his students, both past and present.
One story he shared fondly was that of an Indian student he had twenty years ago. That student, according to Prof. Junbo, was a total jerk in and out of the classroom. Teachers and classmates alike hated his guts. But after a serious talk with Prof. Junbo, the student changed and mellowed down a bit on his verbal assaults. I that process, Prof. Junbo learned that the student was actually nice and very helpful. Even as the student graduated, he helped financially struggling MBA students and never let them knew who helped. Lesson here: Give jerks a chance, even they can help you out.
I eventually got my passport and visa but I reflected on this whole experience and I realized what Prof. Purba and Prof. Junbo did and offered. I also though about the stories Prof. Junbo shared. This experience reminded me of the things we were being told in class: you need others, in different levels. If I went ahead and proceeded with my Wile E. Coyote-like schemes, I would have ended the same way Coyote did: falling off a cliff or ramming right straight to a wall (figuratively, of course).
Despite the frustrations and and inflexibility of people, there will be people who will help you out from unlikely places and if people paid it forward, things everywhere may be a whole lot better.