Recently, when I was waiting at a taxi stand, I noticed a young man engrossed in polishing shoes. I decided to get my shoes polished as well and as I was paying him I noticed on his left-hand some sort of old marking. That took me back to 2001 when I had, at this very taxi stand, consoled a boy who had an injury on his hand.
The boy had told me that his step-mother had branded him with a hot iron because he had demanded more food. I had bought a chocolate for him and also two tins of shoe-polish and brushes because I was very supportive of his willingness to work and earn.
This time I paused just as I was about to pay him, looked deep into his eyes and asked him if he was Manoj. He raised his head, looked up at me and froze with moist eyes, refusing to accept my payment. I, too, couldn't control my tears. I admired and complimented Manoj for his continued efforts to be independent and hardworking. I was very glad to learn that he was attending night school after he finished polishing shoes everyday -- that he was continuing to work hard to achieve his dreams.
Our maid's younger son had just passed school final exam with no capacity to pursue higher education. Before his parents could decide what to do with him he had already found ways to waste his time and energy.
That's when my wife and I suggested we would like to talk to him.
The boy was indeed interested in doing things with his own hands rather than in academics. We found out details of vocational courses and persuaded the father to take the boy to one of the institutes.
The boy immediately fell in love with the course contents of bike repair & maintenance. Part of the fees were given by us to make it more affordable. The youngster is taking lot of interest in the 'hands-on' training and, we are told, is the coach's favorite student.
We are overjoyed that a little guidance, a little support is all that was needed to change the course of the boy's life.
After reading another story on this site about exchanging a business class air travel seat for one in economy, I am reminded of an experience tI had just wo days ago.
The auto-rikshaw I was riding in that evening suddenly came to a halt. The driver got off and went behind the vehicle only to return to his seat with something in his hand. On enquiry I saw that he had a pen in his hand, which he was sentimentally attached to. It had fallen off while we were driving and was run over by his own rikshaw. From his sigh I could make out that the pen was damaged beyond repairs.
When alighting at my destination, I quietly handed him the amount payable and my pen. He turned around looking into my eyes and gave me back the pen thinking it was by mistake that I passed on the pen along with cash. When I told him the pen was for him he responded with, "Oh, my! Thank you, indeed."
As I was buying stamps at the post office the other day, I observed sadness and dejection on the face of the lady at the counter. I waited for others in the queue to finish their turn and for the lady to be free.
I asked her if she could spare two minutes and she suspiciously said, 'yes.' I told her that I was a volunteer working for persons with mental illness and their caregivers and handed her my visiting card. I said you seem to be in need of some help and asked if there was anything I could do for her.
She gripped and squeezed my hand, tears rolling down her tired cheeks. She told me that whenever she needed help she would just pray somebody would appear from out of nowhere! I have been able to put her in touch with a cancer patients' support group which is doing a wonderful job. My being there at that moment and offering her help couldn't be a coincidence, it surely is unseen providence at work.