The man’s keeping on collecting things from what would seem like a pile of waste to the many of us. The first look at that waste would give you the idea that there’s nothing useful in there yet that man, whose cart awaits at a distance of 1 foot from him, is keep coming back to it to find his next valuable thing.

I was standing at the balcony and this scene came to my view when I lowered my gaze from the 5th floor. There were 8-9 cart pullers sitting at a local outlet which is usually the lunch hour at the mid-noon. All 8 of them were chatting after their lunch but this one man, who was busy breaking down a big chunk of wood into pieces that he found from that very pile of waste I was talking about. Now how this scene caught my attention is interesting because that chunk of wood was thrown away from the very home of mine. We threw it away because it was of no use to us and it landed in that pile of waste that was waiting to be removed at its usual hour of the day.

It took the man about 30 minutes to use his strength of fists to break down that wood into several long pieces, and I stood there the whole time watching, to know what he would do next with it. When he was finished, I realized that he might use it as firewood which can be handy for him to use for fuel or he might even sell it somewhere in exchange of money. I was amazed to learn that how something that seemed so useless to me and even those 8 cart pullers became of such great value to someone else. He saw that chunk of wood and turned it into an economic good,  a product or service which can command a price when sold, as per the definition of economic good.

Once he was done with the wood, he got back to the waste once again. This time I took a good look at the pile of waste and I kept thinking to myself that what else can be possibly here of use and then something caught my eye. I saw something in the waste and I instantly knew that this is what the man would get and I was right. He pulled out a plastic bag from the waste and dusted off all the dirt from it. He then gently shoved off all the small pieces of wood into that bag till every last piece went inside of it. There were so many people walking off the street, stepping over those wood pieces, yet none of them could see anything valuable that the man could. He then took the bag and tied it at the back of his cart and drove away from the spot. All this time, the other men kept chatting among themselves, knowing nothing about how someone among them made an income of probably $5 in the lunch hour while they earned nothing,

I too had something to rake, not necessarily from the waste but from this view, yesterday. You need to have the perspective of turning your time into something useful and valuable. Our perspectives are very much different from one another. What I might see as useless might be of so much value to someone else. An active and farsighted man like him who spent 30-40 minutes of his time doing something useful saved both himself and his family $5-$6 of cash which could have been the case for other men of his profession, who were sitting at the same spot doing nothing.


*Image: Collected from Google images.



2 thoughts on “A lesson from the Cart-puller

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