Okay so I forgot to ask his name. Sorry sorry.
He sweeps Mother Theresa Crescent.
As a woman running in Delhi, I frequently get these responses to a woman running in shorts: men try to obstruct you, get in your way, cat calls, try to run you off the road.
And then I would run past this man, who would give me his own brand of acknowledging a woman runner.
Everytime I’d run past, he would get four feet out of my way, which was considerate, respecting the effort of a runner. And this is what he would do that flabbergasted me: he would stand straight, hold his broom vertical in one hand, and give me a military salute with his other. He is not a runner, nor is he in the army.
Finally after a year of running, I stopped in the middle of my run to shake him by the hand and ask him why he gives me this completely extraordinary greeting. He had no clear answer for me, wasn’t able to answer why he honors a female runner like that.
He was very shy, and couldn’t understand why I was asking him. While he was foggy on that answer, one thing is amply clear to me:
You don’t have to be an officer to be a gentleman.