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Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Smiling Face of Life!

The Smiling Face of Life!
So many times we are faced with situations that bring us to the precipice of despair, resentment, disappointment, helplessness, and from nowhere comes a ray of light in the form of an incident, a flash of an idea, a whiff of fresh air in the scorching situations that turn the whole event in a new direction.

We often just reminisce through those days and forget them as a one off event, but when incidents like the one I experienced, come in your life they become a beacon of hope, not only for you in those disturbed times but can become a ray of hope for someone who may be going through similar situations. I write this not as an attempt to gather sympathy or crib on situations that I have been through, but with a sincere intention to share what may to many may be a डूबते को तिनके का सहारा (doobte ko tinke ka sahara) - "Drowning man catches a straw" situation.

I had a similar experience which I have posted as "Eyes of Life" which I will share later, but this incident is one that I will never forget. 

Life has been harsh for me over the last few years with various domestic and financial crisis hitting me like a Tsunami, so devastating that I am still managing to come out of its onslaught. I was in a deplorable situation, literally drained of all energy, mental, physical, and emotional to even think of any thing. Working away on my computer trying to make what ever I could from Work from home opportunities from the internet, which is my present biggest source of income, my mind was wandering to all grave "responsibilities" and "priorities" I had on hand for some reason which were evading me to be accomplished. Believe me with only Rs.10/- (Yes Rupees Ten Only!) in my pocket, a zero Bank Balance, Debts looming large over my mind, and the immediate priorities of the Bills to paid all due in a day or two, daughters college and class fees to be paid, and all these thoughts now rushing my mind like a whirlwind almost left me blanked out. 

At these times you mind becomes numb, but your heart is angry, because of the situations that you are in are no fault of your own, and all your efforts to get the present circumstances under control have failed, inspite of the most genuine and heart wrenching and gut splitting efforts you have been putting day in and day out. I am fortunate and proud to have a daughter who has gained so much maturity, maybe because of the situations that she has gone through, at this very small age, but more so a deep realization and love for me which has developed over the years ever since she was born, that trust, that blind confidence that I always have a way out of the most difficult situation that has made me stronger, and made her the very reason for my living! It is an inseparable bond that cannot be explained in words. 

As I sat at my computer totally lifeless, mind wandering in a haze that I was trying to clear with all the little strength that I had left after working for over 20 hours that day, I realized it was early morning an had to give breakfast to my daughter who had just got up after a late night herself, studying for her ensuing exams, both in college and her music academy. I quickly got up and managed to serve whatever best I could manage to prepare which she liked, and tried to create a happy atmosphere, not wanting her to feel the pain that I was going through. But daughters are daughters. She immediately saw through my face and was besides me ever consoling and motivating as always, saying "Dad, all will be fine" and in her trademark "My Daddy Stongest" style gave me a close hug. I am sure that there may be many who may already relate with what I was going through at that time, but I could do nothing by control my emotions and try to avoid the tear that was rolling down my cheek. 

Somehow I got her into her daily routine, and putting on a smile, told her I would take a walk and come as I was too cramped up sitting for such a long time! As she had holidays for study there was no question of her going to college or classes for a few days so I was a bit relieved about my not having any money on hand for even the smallest of needs on hand, let alone her traveling expenses to college or class. It was really unbearable, and before the floodgates of my emotion could overcome me I opened the door and went down to take a walk. 

As I walked without direction towards a jogging park close to our home where you find all people gathering early morning for their daily exercise routines, and fitness clubs, laughter clubs, getting together it gave me some relief for a second, but not before I could wipe off the tears that were rolling down my cheeks, for some reason uncontrollable now. I waited below a Gulmohur Tree its yellow and read flower petals all strewn along the pavement, to gather myself, and take a deep breath before I could go any further. As I rested against the trunk for a second to stabilize myself, I saw this old lady who was sitting exactly on the opposite side of the same tree. She had a basket placed besides her in which there were empty packets, some of which were filled with leftover food, maybe given by passers by, and another packet in her hand. She extended her hand towards me with a smile that meant a millions words to me. 

For a moment I was shattered, shaken, moved, touched, at the site of this old lady especially the smile on her face that was so piercing that it touched a delicate chord in my heart. She said nothing, nor asked for anything , apart from holding her hand up towards me as if pleading me to give whatever I had. For a long moment we were both staring at one another, and I felt as if I was staring life in its face! That moment meant so much to me. I was overcome by all different thoughts! What was this lady trying to ask me or say to me, as she had not uttered one word since my gaze landed on her face. I do not know how long I may have stood gazing at those moist eyes in her face, but somehow I felt she had given me an answer to all my questions. 

It was like the oft quoted " I complained I had no shoes, until I looked out of the window and saw a man without feet" ---situation where life's harsh truth faces you and hits you like a punch in your face. What was I complaining about? Lack of money, lack of good living conditions?, lack of happiness, lack of opportunities, food to eat? .......ok ok....yes those may have been the problems I was facing at that moment of time, but was I not better off than the old lady who had nothing with her, yet that smile on her face said everything that I was asking for in my questions to God! it was as if God had answered my prayers through her. 

For a moment or for that matter I still do not know how long I was standing there staring at the old lady, I had all the answers to my question. The biggest and strongest being "There is always HOPE"! Trust yourself, trust your integrity, and above all trust GOD! The flood of tears that I had just pushed back came back like a Tsunami that recedes at first but comes back with a vengeance so powerful that it destroys all in its path. But this time the Tsunami had wiped off all my negative thoughts, and left me literally cleansed, purified, and a lot more stronger! It was like I had reached out to god and my prayers were answered! 
   
The smile on the face of the old lady had not changed, as I managed to wipe off the tears in my eyes. It was as if she was saying, is that going to change your situation?, is that the solution to your problems?, come on wake up there is more to do than shed a tear.....!!!! I shook myself awake so to say, and for some reason my hands went towards my shirt pocket in which I had kept the only Rs.10/- that I had left with me (Feeling sad and hurt that I could do no more)....and handed it over the the old lady, slowly touching her shoulders as if bowing down in obeisance and reverence to her out of sheer love and respect. She said nothing, but her smile broadened and her had waved out to me in blessing as if saying Thank you, God Bless you!....It was a touching moment, as there was a sheer radiance in her face, that meant so much to me, and as I mentioned earlier a whiff of fresh air awoke me so to say bringing me to awareness of what was happening. 

I did not go any further, but after smiling at the lady, and waving out to her I slowly walked back to my home despite the fact that I had not taken a walk at all. What happened after this still brings shivers to my spine, and a sense of assurance and fulfillment that miracles still happen in life!

I walked back home, and after taking a wash, and a much needed cup of tea, sat back on the computer to do my routine work. My daughter was up and running playing her favorite tunes on her guitar, and smiling at me saying "Did you have a good walk?....you should do it more often...Dad your paunch is growing ha ha !!!!"...Something had happened that had changed the very face of life and ambiance around in the house, and I smiled back saying yes, "I had a good one!!!!"...

I opened my routine mail box, and also the sites which I work on and lo-behold I had a shock of my life! The first mail indicated that a Payment was sent to me by NEFT to my Bank for work which I had done over the last few days, and I had totally forgotten that I had requested for a payout, due to the overbearing situations on my mind. The second site indicated likewise, a smaller payment but nonetheless priceless for me. And the third had indicated loads of work being loaded for us to work on which meant more good work and more good earnings for me in the days to come! At the same time in a rush of emotions the face of that same old lady flashed across my mind, and at that moment all I could do was smile back in my mind and thank her! 

I quickly got up and rushed into the kitchen to see if there was any food I could gather and take for the old lady. I packed a few "Chapatis, and some vegetable prepared for the day" in a packet and rushed out of the home, while my daughter was still shouting..."Dad, where are you going?"...and I quickly said "Give me a minute dear, I will come back and tell you!!!"... I rushed down towards the same tree that I had stood by just a few moments ago, my eyes yearning to see the old lady, so that I could offer her whatever I could, but she was nowhere to be seem. I was a bit distraught, and sad, as I walked around the whole area trying to search for her, obviously that she could not have walked away so soon, but my search was in vain. It left a void in my mind but as I came back after my search towards my home crossing the same tree I found a cow, its cute little calf and its caretaker farm dog that always frequents our area daily at the same time waiting below the shade of the same tree. I spontaneously went forward and fed both the cow and the dog with the same food that I had carried for the old lady. 

I cannot explain the feeling of peace, solace, happiness, joy and content that my mind felt on feeding that cow, as much as I would have if I had fed that lady. Maybe it was God's way of saying "I am omnipresent in all that exists"....

I walked back home and quickly narrated the whole incident to my daughter who winked at me with a smile almost saying "I told you so"....I gave her a big hug , thanked God for this wonderful awakening event, and got back to working on the work that had come. I was so content that I had now enough money to take me through for a lot many days, and work to strive for more....Was it a God given gift or a way of God to say - Trust me I am always with you!..

It also prompts me to remind you all that "When God closes one door of opportunity, he often opens many more for you, but we are all so engrossed in crying and cribbing over the closed door that we tend to ignore the new open doors of opportunities that he has left for you to explore" - Trust God!

My eyes moistened once again, but now in joy , and gratitude for all that had happened, and my hand reached out as if to touch and feel that old lady in all thankfulness once again and through her try to reach God....and conveying a big Thank You!
This incident left an indelible mark on my mind, and to this day I cherish it and had to share this so that maybe someone who is going through a similar situation is given the strength, motivation and inspiration to look up to God and Trust him for what he is while also trusting yourself and your integrity. 

I pray to God to shower all of you with his choicest blessings and be omnipresent besides all of you as he always is to protect you. My his choicest blessing, Happiness, Prosperity and fulfillment be showered on you always! God Bless!

2 comments:

  1. If you have hear about Mother Rukmakka Tallur, (one of her ventures she dreamt of when she was 102, passed away at 104 but the dream carried by her followers like me – the Igatpuri Schools for the Special Children of God) always said:


    “If you give Re. 1 to the genuinely needy, God will give back Rs.10”


    We do not hesitate to give gift covers of Rs. 101 or Rs. 1001 or even Rs. 10001 to bless couples during marriage functions. (All the gifts received during my daughter, Maanasi’s marriage have been partially used and the balance kept for future use of the children and the teachers of this school).


    We spend easily over Rs. 2000.00 in restaurants. We do not hesitate to buy Absolut Vodka or Bacardi White Rum costing Rs. 3000 – 5000.00 / bottle. But when we need to give it to the needy, our pockets are not deep enough.


    We pour thousands of liters of milk on a stone image of Shiva, use hundreds of kilos of rice grains as ‘akshata’ while never thinking that is a waste; BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, DEPRIVING A THIRST CHILD OF MILK OR A POOR STRAY DOG OF A FEW CHAPPATIS’.


    See what happened in Nepal yesterday and in Ahmedabad in 2001.


    We should live everyday as if it is our last day and give away in charity to the genuinely needy like the mentally challenged kids, those who are visually handicapped or the aurally challenged.


    Your blog has inspired me.


    May God bless you and your family Sachin.

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  2. Thank you Prof. Vivek Hattangadi, it is indeed an honor and inspiration for me to receive such a wonderful comment on my post. Yes we have so many wonderful incidents which we can follow and make our lives so much more peaceful and happier, but this mad rat race and push for one-upmanship has left us with little to look for in so far as good qualities and character traits are concerned. Let us do the very least we can do to make this world a better place to live in, and become a better human being! Thanks once again.

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