Life is a journey, you take steps in this direction, you take steps in that direction, just to get lost sometimes. It’s really important to keep yourselves on our toes. Not letting anything trample you down. God has set up some hurdles, some obstacles to test your will, patience, confidence and determination. That’s when you need to show your real character. And I learnt this when I encountered this real man. I am calling him “real” just to centerpiece that this story isn’t fictional. Adding the dash of authenticity and adding another vital learning in my book of Scribbled Writings. This part of my life is called Understanding the true meaning of the four letter word HOPE.
Waiting anxiously on the platform to catch a train on a Saturday afternoon from work, my unwavering eyes stumbled upon an elderly man. Grey locks with hardly any strength crept from his head that seemed lanky, without any luster. The crinkle on his forehead and his cheek rendered that he was slowly entering his old age. However, his shoulders still bore the obligation – to feed his family, his young ones. He did not have the fortune to be cared, where he should have been catching his breaths playing with his grandson and granddaughters. Rather he was catching his breath carrying the bag of clothes which possibly looked like he was selling them.
The taqiyah or Koofi (the round skull-cap) draped perfectly around his skull, slyly showcasing that he was growing old with the gracious grey locks. However, he looked in distress. The fingers clasped his eyebrows so tightly that the bristles of his brows screamed for help. With tightly locked lips that needed a growl, he was motionless. But that stone-faced man had something deep that troubled him.
A load of clothes near him made it was crystal clear that he did not make good sales that day. The rustle of the starched shirts wrapped in the bag was loud enough to signpost the low sales. His thoughts skittered from the bag of clothes to his old rusty wallet. Secretly counting currency from the different pockets, shifting his head sideways he groaned.
Looking at his condition I couldn’t keep my nerves. I pacified his scrambling thoughts by placing my hands on his shoulders. He looked at me in shock. Without giving his brain any strength for a skeptical thought, I offered him water and asked,”Aap theek ho? Thoda pani pioge” (Are you alright? Would you like to have some water?) For which he submitted himself to the bottle of water, saying ,“Yes I’m fine.”
His face freckled in the reflection of the sun that succinctly showed his wrinkles. He seemed to be of my Grandfather’s age. Eyes sunken and lifeless, I flinched my eyes showing grief for his affliction. Slowly gulping few ounces of water, he quenched the choked thought that he was unable to swallow a while ago.
“Thank you so much”, he acknowledged. “Don’t be. I thought you needed it more than me.” And unexpectedly he started speaking. And bang on, I was right. He was dejected because of the low sales that he made that day. He again brought up his antiquated wallet and showed his granddaughter’s picture. “She’s my granddaughter. And she’s going to be a princess tomorrow in her school’s play.” He had a pride, a grin on his face. The slant of his cheekbones, the sight of his granddaughter in the play totally paralyzed him with happiness.
“I’m running short of Rs. 200 for the princess dress she is planning to wear”, he said gritting his teeth. His palms tightened into fists and he punched the air, cursing himself for not making the best sales. Looking at his needy eyes and the shattering dreams of a wannabe princess couldn’t stop me from convincing him in buying the starched shirts. However, he remained adamant for not selling it to me. He did not want me to buy them with sympathy. I was taken aback from his character. For the very first time, I had such an acquaintance.
He looked skywards and chanted some religious words and said,
“Thank you so much for the water. May Allah give you strength to eternity for your kind and helping nature. You have given me the strength again. The strength will help me to sell, and my princess will be there tomorrow in that play.”
I smiled and acknowledged,
“Your granddaughter is already a princess and your efforts will surely bring the smile on her face when you give her the dress. I can imagine your pride when she wears that dress with the most beautiful smile on her face!” Hearing this, he walked away.
Within a few minutes after this conversation, I saw two or three women purchasing clothes from the man. He looked at me and was delighted as he counted the currency. There was a feeling of accomplishment – like a goal that you set and the happiness you attain after reaching them. He jumped with joy like a little kid. That moment could be framed and nailed in my heart for many years to come. This part of my life is called Understanding HOPE is omnipresent. God tests your real spirit & determination by placing obstacles, diversions, pitfalls. Just never be scared. That’s the time when you need to show your real character. Stay strong, and always bring that positive vibes which will make you feel happy and emanate that positivity. Rest assured, success is just awaiting the long blinding end.