A few days ago as I was walking down the street I found an old woman in her late 80s perhaps, sitting in one corner and mumbling loudly and incoherently. She looked ragged, distraught and miserable. People kept their distance from her as they walked. She kept screaming as she saw people looking at her with sympathy. She looked like she hadn’t eaten for ages, so when somebody placed a bowl of food in front of her, she eyed the bowl and the giver with doubt and curiosity, and waited until everyone moved away. And then, morsel by morsel she fed herself as much as she could, and slept away on the roadside. Something about her kept me thinking as I watched her behavior over the days. She gradually got accustomed to the bowl of food and the roadside naps. She was still in her rags, with her incoherent screaming echoing our ears every now and then. One evening, when I (fully clothed and yet, found the wind too cold) saw her huddled in a corner, mumbling to herself, oblivious to everything around, something pricked me. I took out one of my mom’s blankets, went to her and wrapped it around her as best as I could. She got startled initially and opposed my gesture, after sometime she looked at me innocently with mixture of gratitude and confusion and she stopped reacting. She then hurriedly hugged the blanket to herself and went back to her routine garbling.
We, completely normal, well fed and well housed people find it depressing when we don’t get our ‘choice’ of clothes. When we don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend. When we don’t get to dine in expensive restaurants. When we don’t get our choice of gadgets.
We become restless when we don’t have some to talk to. When we don’t have something to do. When we don’t interact with someone for probably a few ‘hours’ in a day.
We get bored going to the same place everyday, in the same route, by the same means of transport.
We get frustrated when we don’t get what we desire. We get irritated when we don’t understand what’s happening. We get annoyed if something doesn’t happen the way we want it to.
Now, for a nanosecond, imagine the plight of mentally unstable people- people who are admitted in asylums, and people who are left to their fate, on the streets. It breaks my heart to imagine how miserable each day of their existence would be.
They don’t understand what’s happening around them, they do not have the power to comprehend anything at all, they don’t know if they are clothed, they don’t realize if they are hungry or thirsty, they don’t have anyone to ask them if they are okay, they don’t know anymore how to share what they think, they don’t know where they are, if left on the streets; or they get to simply stay put in a room if admitted in an asylum for treatment. A single room for the entire life left of them, at least until they’re cured. No new clothes, no fancy dinners, no fun, but yes – lots of sympathy; Nothing more.
God bless these souls, who have a real battle to fight, every single day in their lives.
You help me count my blessings each minute I look at you, if nothing else.
Let’s show a little love whenever we can, to whomever we can, in whatever way we can. Let’s show we care. Let’s tell people they matter. Let’s learn to value life the way it must be.
It’s never too late to start. One small gesture might help someone in a big way, someday.
What goes out, comes back huge. So, who knows, a little good deed everyday from you, might just save your ship someday when you need it, too?