- ON A COLD DAY IN THE HILLS
The sunlight was glistening through the rain drops on the leaves of the few trees on the hill side. An old man lay in his tiny little hut on a mountain side. It had been raining all night and the broken slates in the roof could not contain the rain water as it seeped its way down the cracks. The worn out cotton stuffed quilt, that covered the old man was damp and misty and a sickening odour emanated from it. The old man with his untidy mop of grey hair and an unsightly stubble on his jaw, lay shivering as his body burned and shivered with fever in the biting cold weather.
A tourist bus happened to have a flat near the hut. While the driver and the bus conductor changed the wheel, the tourists stepped out to stretch their legs and get a whiff of the damp mountain air. One of the tourists being one for adventure walked a few steps down the hill and saw the old man’s hut. He peeped in and was horrified at the scene that met his eye. He beckoned his friends to come closer. Being a journalist, this man clicked a picture of the old man and muttered something under his breath about writing an article in the news paper about today’s generation, neglecting aged parents and leaving them to suffer alone.
Another one of the tourists was a doctor. He felt the old man’s pulse and said, “You need to get some blood tests done. You need an X-ray of your chest too. Here, you can take these tablets of Paracetamol, thrice a day. But you must get yourself examined. I think you may be having Pneumonia.” The old man nodded weakly, as the doctor got up to leave.
Another one of the tourists was a Politician. He said, “We must make a law to have a home for the aged. I must talk to my party people and do something about this social evil.”
Amongst the tourists was a young girl. She was so moved by the plight of the suffering old man that she wept openly and had to be helped back to the bus and forced to sip some hot tea to get her back to normal. All day long she was quiet and forlorn because she couldn’t get the old man out of her mind.
One rich fellow tossed a couple of currency notes near the ailing man and rushed out of the dingy hut.
Last of all came a middle aged man who didn’t speak a word as he looked at that picture of human desperation and misery. He quietly walked back to the bus and came back, carrying his rucksack on his back. He helped the old man up and gave him some biscuits from his haversack. He opened a little flask of tea and poured it into a paper cup and held it to the quivering lips of the old man as he sipped it feebly.
He gave him the Paracetamol tablet that the doctor had left earlier. He then helped the man to lie down again. He picked up his quilt and put it out on a bush for the Sun to dry up. The man got his own sleeping bag out of his rucksack and zipped up the old man into it. Next he got some adhesive tape out of his backpack and tried to plug the cracks in the roof.
The driver honked hard to call all his passengers to get back to the bus, for the wheel had been changed and they were ready and fit to resume their journey. But this man decided to stay for a while longer. He waved to the driver and said, “I’ll take the next bus. This fellow needs me more than I need the holiday. A few hours here and he’ll be well enough to be on his own. Then I’ll be on my way too.”
Many a times we come across such situations in our lives. It’s nice to give money or medical help. It’s great to be moved by the suffering of another. But if you can give time and love then you are the greatest!
A kind look or a loving word can sometimes give more comfort than money. Money surely makes our life comfortable but it’s not more valuable than time or love.
Life laughs at you when you are unhappy,
Life smiles at you when you are happy,
But salutes you when you make others happy.
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