This is an incident that happened few months back.
I boarded the 4:12pm Bhayandar fast train from Bandra. It was just like any other day. I was returning home from college.
My friends were with me. Luckily the train was not packed and we got seats. The train began to move and just like every other day we started playing Antakshari.
The train reached Andheri station. A crowd of women just jumped in. Among them was an old man maybe in his 80’s. Being pushed here and there he caught his small suitcase very tight.
Some women even grumbled, “Jaldi jadne ko nahi hota hai buddhe ko.” (This old man can’t get in fast.) He just said, “Sorry, Maaf kar dena madam.” (Forgive me madam.)
The train slowly began to move. The crowd had now settled down. Most of the women had already got a seat. The rest of them claimed the Borivali seats. He slowly sat down near the door. Opened his bag, took out his half-filled water bottle and had a sip of water.
He then got up and took out few things from his bag (which had a torn handle). These things were small clips, safety pins and combs. He also had a stick.
He was completely blind. Extremely thin, no teeth in his mouth. His clothes were dirty and torn. He was wearning a white shirt and a black pant which had holes near his knee. He started his sale. “Safety Pin 2 rupey ko 5. Badi kangi 15 rupay, choti kangi 10 rupay. Clip ka ek packet 10 rupay ka hai.” (Safety pins- 5 for rupees, big comb- Rs. 15 and small for Rs. 10, one clip packet for Rs. 10.)
He started walking around in the compartment trying to hold his balance with the help of the stick in one hand and the products for sale in another hand. Sometimes when the train would stop with a sudden brake he would almost fall. But somehow he would try to hold his balance.
Some women moved away from his way with the fear that he would fall on them or even touch them. Some women bought few things from him.
“This is a sales technique. These shopkeepers make the handicapped people like him sell their stuff so that people feel sympathy for them and buy things,” a women sitting beside me said to her friend.
One women removed a hundred rupees note from her purse and placed it in his hand.
“Aapne kya khareeda, madam?” (What did you buy, Madam?), he asked. “Kuch nahi” (Nothing), she said.
“Tho maaf kar dena madam, main ye paise nahi le sakta.” (Forgive me madam I cannot take this money.), he replied.
People looked at him in shock as he returned the money to her. He smiled and went on walking around in the compartment selling the stuff.
My friends and I were watching whatever was happening. As the came near our seats, one of my daredevil friend asked, “Chacha, aap aaram karne ki umar mein ye sab kyu bej rahe ho?” (Uncle, instead of resting at this age why are you selling stuff?)
He replied, “Aaram karunga tho pet kaise bharunga? Khaana khilane wala koi nahi hai. Ye kaam karunga tho chen se ek waqt ki roti tho kaa paunga. Mujhe kisise beekh nahi mangni hai. Bhagwaan ne haath pair diye hai. Jab tak ye chal rahe hai, main kaam karke kud ka khayal rak sakta hu ” (If I rest, then how will I be able to feed myself? I don’t have anyone to take care of me. Atleast if I work I will be able to eat one meal in a day. I don’t want to go around and beg. God has given me hands and feet. As long as they are working, I will earn and take care of myself.)
When he said these words, there were tears in my friend’s eyes. We bought stuff from him. Not as a sympathy but because we were proud of him.
Even at this old age, when he cannot see anything, he still had the courage and hope to earn and live his life.
Many times we see young people at the signal begging and asking for money. And when you offer them some labor or maid work, they are not ready to take it. They don’t want to work hard and earn money. They want easy money.
But here, this man was ready to work hard. We have few people like him in our midst who are determined to achieve something against all odds. They may be blind, can’t walk, won’t have hands, etc., but yet they are ready to face the world without any complains.
And here we, who are fit and fine, and have all the luxuries of life, grumble about every little thing. We are never satisfied and happy with what God has blessed us with. But those who have very little always give thanks to God for everything they have.
This incident had a very deep impact on my life. It made me be thankful for whatever I had. This old man is indeed #madeofgreat.
I didn’t click any picture of him that day. There are some people who sit on the roadside with weighing scale or just playing any musical instrument. But if any of you see him anytime in a local train, or anybody like him who are working hard despite all odds, please do help them by buying something.
Together we can make this world a better place to live in.
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