Rahul David is not the misspelt name of a cricketer, nor is he a celebrity in any respect, except in the lives of those who come across him regularly in south Mumbai.
The kid with a neon green headset lives on the street, but he is no less happy than perhaps his counterparts in one of the Art Deco buildings in the area — Marine Drive — where he hangs out.
David hit the headlines the other day when he was refused entry to a restaurant in Churchgate, as he was dressed shabbily and was barefoot.
David was being treated to lunch by college student Kasturi Kalita — itself a commendable act, more so when we have just finished with the Joy of Giving Week. And the restaurant is a frequent hangout for Kalita and her friends, so she did not expect to be stopped from entering.
The difference was that she was accompanied by the boy, and even though she made it clear she was paying for his meal as well as hers, the two were asked to wait outside and take their food in parcels.
The restaurant owner was, of course, within his rights to refuse admission to someone who, he felt, would lower the tone of the place and perhaps even offend other customers. He did nothing illegal, but at the same time he passed up a golden opportunity to score publicity points, not to mention good karma.
Instead of being a by-the-book hotelier, Saurav Kamath could have gone down in the books as a man with a large heart, who let a street kid enjoy a nice meal in an air-conditioned restaurant.
Let us not forget another man who dressed simply and went barefoot, whose birth anniversary is celebrated on October 2, and who was also shunned by a posh establishment because of his appearance.
This is the nation of Mahatma Gandhi and, supposedly, Gandhian values. Let us live up to that legacy, in our individual daily lives if not collectively as a people.
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