They Are Unknown, But They Are #madeofgreat

It is true that greatness is not a mundane thing to find here and there. It is like diamonds shining even in the darkness. Greatness shows itself up even in adversity and I believe, more so. Actually, no man is born great, it’s the challenges that he faces in the course of life and the way he deals with it, make him great. It’s the vision of an ordinary man that makes him great.

All of us know of great persons like Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and many others. They are unparalleled. Today, I’m not speaking of such well-known figures, but a few which I’ve confronted with in my life. Very obscure and unknown maybe they are to the world, but the way their personae have revealed to me in different turns of life, have proved their greatness to me.

Every day when I return from my office, I stop at the local grocery shop for buying a packet of chips or a bottle of fruit juice for our neighbor’s little boy. The cute kid is absolutely adorable and, very fond of me. His face glows every time I hand him over his favorite things. Since the last month, I  noticed a boy aged about 15 years working as a helping hand at the mentioned grocery shop. He is quite smart, attentive and, always ready to help the customers with a smile on his face. But it takes him great pain to walk, he is physically handicapped. One of his legs is as thin as a stick.  The shop remains busy throughout the day and, I guess, he seldom finds any time to relax.

Last Sunday, I went to buy some groceries for my mother and, as it was a holiday, there were only a few customers at the shop. The boy gave me a smile of recognition and asked, “Kya chahiye bhaiya? Chips ya juice?”. I smiled back and handed him the list of groceries. The owner of the shop was not present, (perhaps he is off on Sundays) but the boy meticulously collected all the things from different shelves rightly. He asked me twice for clarification as the name of a couple of items were written in English. There was no other customer in the shop at that time and, suddenly I felt curious about him. I asked him about his leg and he told me that according to his mother, he was like this from his birth. I asked him why he was working at the shop instead of going to school. What he said, melted my heart. He said his mother and two sisters have no proper place to live. They spend their nights on footpaths. Their father has left them and married someone else. His sisters are growing up quickly and, he feels that with every passing day, it’s becoming more and more unsafe for them to live on footpaths. He wants to give them a decent place to live. That’s why he is working day and night. The owner is a gentleman and offers him a decent amount as a salary. He has also promised to provide him some loan.

Now, you can say that there is no greatness in it. Every 9 out of 10 people want to give their family a better life. But a fifteen-year-old boy? A handicapped one who could easily have washed his hands off from all the responsibilities? This definitely needs a heart #madeofgreat.
I salute this boy for his confidence and determination. His taught me that strength of mind always is greater than physical strength.

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I lived and worked in Bangalore for two years. The security person in my apartment was an elderly man. He used to smile at me every day as I passed through the main entrance. I never paid any heed to his gesture, just a little nod and smiling back sometimes, that was what I used to do. He was no more than any other ordinary man to me until that evening when he came up to my flat and asked very humbly that whether I could a little favor to him. I was quite taken aback and immediately thought that he might have come for some money. Quite annoyed, still I asked him what did he want. He said that he wanted me to write an email to one of his sons who just had gone abroad.

Now, that was quite intriguing to me.
– Your son? I asked.
– Yes. His face glowed.

I sat down and he handed me the email address written in a piece of paper. As I was writing according to his instruction, I asked him,”how many children do you have?”

“Three girls and three boys”

I was quite astonished. This man is managing with SIX children. Quite amazing. But I didn’t say a word and after I finished, he thanked me profusely and went away.

After a few days, I was talking with one of my colleagues who happened to live in the same place. I told him humorously about the man who was managing with six children. With utter bewilderment, he informed me that the man was not even married and had been working in the apartment for the past 20 years!

I felt like being cheated.

Next morning, I faced him and asked him straight away about why he lied to me. He looked visibly ashamed and in a very humble tone, said:

“Sahabji, they are not my own children, but I consider them so. They are orphans and live in an NGO. I’ve decided to take care of all their needs and education (read sponsor) since they were very young. One of them has just completed his engineering and got a job abroad. You wrote to him the other day. I didn’t marry because no girl wanted to marry a person with such a burden”. He smiled and stopped.

I literally had no words for him. I didn’t know how to pay regard to such a person who had devoted all his life for such a cause.

I learnt a lesson of life. Actions speak louder than words and you are always capable of doing more than you envisage.

This is what, to me, is greatness. A pure heart #madeofgreat.

(I wanted to post a picture of Mr. Prasad, the security person, and, asked for his permission over the phone. He very mildly said, “Na Sahebji, don’t try to make me famous, I don’t deserve this, please”)

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