Though officially Mother Teresa had entered sainthood today the 4th Sep 2016 for millions of people around the world, her extraordinary compassion and goodness to humanity had already made her a saint. She was an agent of God himself in human form to heal, cure and love millions of suffering humans. Actually even today, there are a few people living among us, who in their own very small way, completely devote their life to the service of humanity, without any expectation or any return. This is the story about one such lady.
I know Mrs.Nair, just a casual acquaintance, for the past 18 years. I am actually ashamed, that even today, I don’t know her full name except that she is Mrs.Nair. Long time back when I went to drop my daughters in the dance class, for the first time I met her. She was also a parent, who had brought her daughter Sapna for the class. She smiled at me, a warm gentle one. I smiled back hesitantly, thinking that now she will start the usual volley of questions like, “You are a teacher…etc”. But she did not talk anything. We waited together for one full hour until the class was over, but never spoke a single word. I love such people who can stay calm and quite without the usual gossip.
Then it became a sort of habit. While dropping or collecting our kids, we met almost every day. But beyond the smile both of us never ventured into any conversation. There was serene, tranquil, calmness about her which was unique, and I admired her for this.
Soon my daughters started going to class on their own, and I lost touch with her.
Years rolled by. One day morning, when my daughter was in her final year of Engineering College, she rushed to me, pain written all over her faces, and showed me the obituary columns of the paper. A deep pain struck my heart. “Oh, No! My God!” I wished my eyes were fooling me. But, no, it was there staring at me, in black and white. Mrs.Nair’s daughter Sapna, just 20 yrs old, had died the previous day. We looked at each other. During her five years dance training, my daughter, and Sapna, had become close friends and they had kept up their friendship meeting once in a while (It was no cell phones days). My daughter wept uncontrollably. After they shifted from Matunga, we did not know where Sapna shifted. So there was no chance of us even dropping in their house for condolence. My heart was sinking deep, bleeding when I thought about the calm face of that young mother. How would a young mother, losing her only young daughter of 20yrs accept the reality? What can fill up the deep void, the horrid chasm in her life? Will she ever be able to flash that calm, smile again?
After about two months, I happened to saw her. She was standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus. When I spotted her I was too nervous, hesitant thinking as to how to start a conversation. By this time, she saw me and smiled. The same calm smile. I started a conversation, stammering a little, “I am so sorry about Sapna… I saw her photo in the Obituary. What happened so suddenly…?”
For a fleeting moment, there was a deep hurt, the pain of an unhealed wound, in her eyes. The very next second it was gone. She said calmly” Yes it was very unfortunate. She was suffering from Jaundice and had probably mild fever for a week. She never told us anything. She was too involved in her job and totally neglected her fever. Finally, when we realized and admitted her in the hospital, it was too late. We could not save her”
Both of us stood in dead silence. I was totally tongue-tied. She smiled pleasantly and asked “How is Archana doing? My Sapna often used to talk about her” I mumbled in a feeble voice “Yes she is alright” Again there was silence. Then I noticed that she was waiting for a bus. I asked casually, “Going somewhere?” She said “Yes, I am going to Tata Cancer Hospital”
I was shocked. Poor lady, now what is God planning for her? Who is in the cancer ward?” I hesitated, tried to talk, but words failed me.
She on her own now continued the conversation. She said, “I go to cancer ward every day. I just help the patients who are terminally ill. Sometimes there are no relatives near them and they feel so lonely. So I keep them company. Sometimes the people who come from villages have trouble in going to proper counter for check up etc. Then I help them. Sometimes the patients want to eat something. I buy them those things from the canteen attached”
Stunned is an understatement of my condition. I said, “You are going two three days in a week I presume,” She said, “No, I go every day. I go at 10AM and stay there until 4 PM. Anyway, I have nothing to do at home. At least I can of help to someone” Her bus came and she smiled again and took leave. I still stood at the bus stop.
I had seen when death snatches away someone close to anyone how people suffer. Some time they keep weeping, moaning for months making their own and other’s life miserable. The death of a loved one is too painful to bear. But here is a lady who had lost her young daughter of twenty years, just two months back. But instead of fruitless moaning, she had dissolved her own sorrow in caring for the living ones who needed help.
I happened to meet her just two days back. She smiled the same way. “Still going to hospital?,” I asked. She smiled again. “Yes. It has now become my second habit. How can I stop it” She said again smiling.
It is now nearly eighteen years. She is going to cancer hospital day after day, every day, to help the terminally ill people. Every day without anyone asking her, without expecting any appreciation!
Such unsung divine persons are around us. We salute them