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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New House, New Hope

We have shifted to a new flat thanks to sites like Housing.com.
A new house, a new lane, a new stage in life. Re-living your life while bringing up children, their smiles, their spikes, their falls and despair, their joys, and then the family rising together and marching forward. Now the children had grown up and gone to build their own futures and so we shifted from a school-centred neighbourhood to a new area of our dreams - a green belt and new neighbours.
I could understand and empathise with  the lifestyle of most of our neighbours - an architect couple working from home, a wonderful baker who sells cakes and muffins and brownies from her first floor apartment. Then there is this wonderful lady who charges a huge amount for event planning, but donates all those proceeds to a charity. Another neighbour runs a flourishing beauty parlour while the couple at the end of the lane kept their Fridays to attend to ailments of the poor in the slums around. Every Friday they make a beeline for the chemist and buy the medicines and then gift them to the poor. And so on...
Their was one flat however that always intrigued me - the curtains would be parted shyly in the morning for a little while and then they would be firmly forbidding - no one could peer inside. The heavy brown and beige rapes blocked all. An old woman with her head always covered with  beetroot red shawl would come and stand for a while. Her face would be unsmiling and devoid of any emotion. She would look long and hard at the scene on the road as though absorbing in all the physical details of the lane being swept by the sweeper or see the vegetable vendors selling their wares. She would soak in everything and then withdraw, go inside and return only on the next day.
Moved by curiosity I bunched up my courage and went to her house and rang the bell. I was certain she would not open the door.
The curtain parted and the woman saw me and then she opened the door and awkwardly ushered me in. She was younger than I thought. Slowly she opened up and told me her story. She had lost her husband just a few months ago, most unexpectedly and since she was alone, she had no one to talk to or to share her grief or even vent it out. This had made her withdraw from the world. She had almost stopped eating and had lost interest in life. On all fronts - physical, emotional and spiritual - she had shriveled up.
When I asked her to turn to God for solace, she said, 'For whom and for what should she turn to Him?'
I spent a number of days going to her and talking to her and finally one day she said, 'Although God has made a number of mistakes and has not been fair to her, she would show him that she was greater than Him. She would forgive Him.'
After that she changed. She is determined to live a fuller life. She goes to the physiotherapist regularly, takes care of her diet, and most importantly she meets up with her neighbours. She has rediscovered hope and optimism.
And she has also taught me the strength a human being is capable of.

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