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Two sides, two stories, one constant - YOU.

by Joseph M

Story based on real incidents...

Story based on real incidents...

Covid 19 pandemic has thrown all our lives out of gear. Yet, it is the necessity of human survival to continue our tryst with destiny.  Whatever hardships each of us may have experienced personally and professionally, let’s take time to reminisce what we have done for improving our existence and most importantly how we have been helpful to all those who have been less fortunate.

Today, I heard a very disturbing story of two different people; one person created an end to their story whilst the other just put a comma to his story…

Let me talk to you about the person who put a comma- the Nadeswaram professional.  His entire life is devoted to music and specifically he plays in the Shiva temple near my friends place in Chennai.  The pandemic has routed all possibilities of meagre income which he used to get from the temple visitors who sit and listen to his short concerts. The last 3 months has literally put an end to his earnings. His prestige did not allow him to beg or borrow money from outsiders or neighbors - nor was anyone willing to give him any money or food to feed him and his family.  Whatever little aid he got from social schemes was not just enough. After much contemplation, after much and much self-deliberation – he decided to take care of his fate…  He did one thing that he was good at – his playing the Nadeswaram and his belief in his God.  So he took it upon himself to beg in a different manner. He took his young child along with him and started out in the streets..he stopped by each house and played some auspicious tunes in his Nadeswaram for a few minutes…People felt happy, people felt sad but mostly people felt they must help him…so they gave him whatever they could – Rice, Dal, money…He takes it with tears in his eyes and thanks them through his Nadeswaram…not even once uttering any word to anyone…

His life has now changed a bit, he continues his journey in this manner – hoping that someday everything would become alright and that his God will provide him with everything he may need.

We see a lot of pain in his life but what we should see is the determination to overcome the odds…in his mind, he made himself to think that he is playing his Nadeswaram not for appreciation…he carefully chose auspicious tunes to lift people’s spirits and by doing so, he created a positive outlook in his approach…he never felt he was begging…he felt he was giving something invaluable to people – hope… 

Now the other person’s story does end  - in a very disturbing manner…

A woman in her late fifties and her teenage daughter…the mother is the sole bread winner and she loses her job in construction field…she tried her best to keep afloat…but mounting pressures on safety, hunger, rent was so much…she could not bear to go out and beg…even if she was willing, the lock down was too strict and she just could not do anything…even the times she tried once or twice, she couldn’t get far as people were too numb to help others or see other person’s pain and grief…it was a survival of the fittest…so after 3 days of hunger and the landlord's pressure to vacate the house, she decides to do something with her fate…she committed suicide after making her daughter commit suicide first…she watched in pain and her inability to give her a life she dreamed of…she was thinking about how she gave birth to this small girl and as a baby how she and her husband, took care of their baby girl…everything was flashing before her as she was readying to go next…she brought her daughter’s body down, then removed the saree and hanged herself next in the same saree her daughter died….

These are two different stories that are poignant and seem cruel in nature and it happened not very far from our homes and city and country… What do we do? How do we react? What is missing here... who do we blame… is it just fate and we should blindly accept this…how many stories have we heard like this in the recent past…how many stories have been untold…

One thing we all can do…is showing some humanity in all our dealings…if we can, we must search and provide for the poor and needy…take the help of those in the field of charity, because they are always in touch with the needy…remember to strike a conversation with your workers and sub-staff how they are doing and find out if they need any help…if they do, promptly connect with your friends and other like-minded people and pool in your maximum support…ask them if they know of anyone who is depressed or troubled – this way you can identify newer cases of people needing genuine support.  If there is a vendor out in your neighborhood selling – realize that he may be a teacher out of his job, he may be an executive out of his job… try to buy something just to help him keep afloat and respect his presence in the neighborhood braving all consequences…

If someone you know has gone the wrong way - even your closest family member or friend, make them mend their ways and make compensations to the people they might have hurt because of their personal wrong doings.

Humanity is in the brink of destruction – not by technology – but by our own wickedness, insensitivity, disregard, greed and wants…Let us start a change within ourselves, starting from us…check what you do is beneficial to someone, check if your near and dear are in the right track of genuine work and that the fruits of anyone’s labor is always settled.  Never cheat or usurp somebody else’s share… If your stomach is more than half-full, remember whatever you eat after that is somebody else’s food…don’t deprive the others of their food.

Let us learn at least during this pandemic to respect our existence and our fellow human beings existence. Let us learn not to be racist or inhuman and throw all caste, religion and judgmental attitudes we have on others…let us embrace kindness and love for one another…because if this pandemic continues – some more of us may not be much different from the Nadeswaram person or the aged mother and young daughter… 

By Joseph M 11.7.2020

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