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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Time.... Pleaseeeee.......

We friends, who were bitten by the social service bug, decided to visit an old age home this sunday. Being the first time for me, all different thoughts surrounded my head and naturally made me restless yesterday. Could not sleep properly due to anxiety. (as happens for all first-timers!!!)

Naturally, I was the first to reach the meeting point too in the morning. Once we reached 'Maitri Old Age Home', the first hour passed away like a minute with the trustees of the old age calling upon all the house-mates for breakfast. We voluntarily served the breakfast to all and even cleaned up the vessels as a good gesture.

Next everyone there assembled in the ground as they all knew they had visitors. The Old age Home provided shelter to around 70 people. We had practiced few songs, dances and one of us had even practiced mimicry of few Bollywood artists. Though none of us were perfect, our imperfection made them go head over heels. We were all happy to see them laugh their hearts out.

After the program (if it can be called so), we distributed clothes and sweets that we had brought for them with contributions from various noble busy souls of the city. Everyone was thankful for whatever they had got. We could understand that it was the time we had taken out for them that made them happy than the material gifts we had carried along. As time passed, it was noon - their lunch time. We one-day volunteers again volunteered to serve the lunch and clean the premises.

In the afternoon, we all scattered ourselves among the oldies to give them a ear to listen to their experiences. All my friends had warned me against deep emotional talks with any individual member as I may not be able to sustain the same. They clearly warned me to just ask for their daily needs and move on to the other.  They all had been their before too and knew the consequences.

But as one says, one need to experience few things self than listen to others advice.

I met Mrs. Tulsi, a 60 plus lady, a retired teacher. After preliminary introduction, I sat besides her. (Actually my friends has warned me against this and especially this old woman).

She first investigated about me and my family and gave some tips for my daughters, as to how to take care of them. Then started narration of a volley of incidents wherein I was just a mute spectator.

She first told me about an incident few years ago, where in she was told to get down out a train for carrying a unconfirmed ticket in III A/c compartment. How she bravely fought with the ticket-collector and even offered him a handsome bribe. But since, it was peak season, no berth was available and the TC had to compel her to get out. She gave the TC a good lashing of mouth before actually getting down. She told me that she was travelling to her native place for the 'Jatra' but since confirmed tickets were not available, she had no other option. But then she traveled the rest of the journey in an unreserved compartment. During this disclosure, she felt happy for the mischief played by her and her face glowed up and also she had a hearty laugh.

Without intervention, she continued, that she took so much of pains for her grand-daughter, who was actually  turning three very soon and could not speak properly or even walk. And after returning from the pilgrimage, the child actually started telling some basic words like 'Aai' and even started to walk with help of support. The divine intervention helped her grand daughter to a great extent. Suddenly, her face lost the charm, as she was unhappy that her only son (whose daughter story was narrated above) could not give enough time to her because of hectic work schedule (Lame Excuses, as always) and would visit her once in a month with the child for not more than 3-4 hours and tears started flowing!!!

Before I could actually console her, she wiped off her tears and her eyes glowed, she started telling me about  her daughter's son, who had now joined college and was more interested in sports than studies. How he travels by his cycle everyday to his college, plays football and hurts himself everyday and narrated me the story of how he had fractured his hands two months ago.... then, she explained me that her daughter was more than happy to keep her with herself but she did not intend to go to her place. How her daughter traveled to her job at 8.30am and that her office timings were now extended by 1 hour and that she now started in the morning at 7.30 am.

Mrs. Tulsi, now started cursing her daughter's bosses for not understanding the plight of a working woman, how she had to wake up at 4.30 am, do all the household chores, prepare food for the child, have breakfast and leave the house so early.. and further, due to financial crisis, the company had not paid them salary for the past few months... she started worrying... what is the use of doing MBA.. and joining a corporate and facing such problems in life....

As if things were not over, her curses continued for the builder who had taken over their residential house of over 600 sq.ft promising a much larger flat in a 20-storeyed building to be built in the same premises. Their house was actually taken over redevelopment for the past three years and due to some legal issues between the builder and society trustees, the deal had landed into a mess and that her daughter had now to survive in a rented house nearby.

She spoke about inflation, education, sports, social issues, and so many topics in one go... I was just nodding my head in affirmation (as I had no other option) and my friends were at the other end laughing out  loudly at my plight.... I tried my level best to stop the old lady but she gave me no chance to leave... Now one of my friends called my name loudly and I ran away from there asking excuse from her..... I knew for sure her stories were still unfinished.

When I came out, I had a severe headache, and I asked for one cup of tea to come out the trauma....
Just while sipping, a thought flashed my mind... What wrong did the old lady do? She had narrated all facts of her life only and what was expected out from us was just lending an ear, even which was also painful for us.... We had come for social service, our programs, our gifts were not that important as was to give time to such oldies but this was the true social service....

Any one out there.... do you have some time... please???


  1. superb sir and actually it is hard to listn than to speak....

  2. sir........really imprinted on my heart.........
    i still remember how an 'aajji' had kept her hands on my a blessing.....just 4 lending my seat (which no one was ready to do) during a journey through train.........
    dont their blessings do wonders.....
    u r right sir they become happy on our small gestures like giving them respect, being a helping hand, or just giving them some time.........which today we are unable to give....
    and yes sir we all should give it a thought.................!!

  3. Great !! It clearly states that they want us to spend time with them , and there is no materialistic desires from them !! but just that time to be with them which will make a world of good to them!!!

  4. Excellent gesture Vishu. While all of us would like to be involved in some social service, few of us actually take the time / effort to do so. I am sure you have brought some joy in Tulsi ajji's otherwise uneventful life by spending quality time with her and more importantly lending a patient hearing and giving her an opportunity to voice her feeling/emotions bottled inside. Kudos to you and your friends for this selfless gesture..
    Just curious to know why you have titled this post as 'Fiction story'.. Have a great day..Prakash

  5. Time is the coin of your life. It is the only
    coin you have, and only you can
    determine how it will be spent. Be careful
    lest you let other people spend it for you.