For most of us our character is lost in words and seldom reflects in our actions. For us ‘conditions apply’ to stick to the character of our words. The moment life hits us hard in the face and when we have to save our ass, all the values and character we have been talking about go down the drain. I personally have done so.
Life has given me opportunities to meet people, who inspite of all the odds, lived upto their values. For them ‘no conditions ever apply’. Such people inspire me to build a strong character and live a life of values, no matter what. They constantly remind me that ‘In the end, all that matters is a life of meaning, a life lived with a strong character’. Here is one of the most recent experiences I have had.
The rickshaw-puller who takes me to class everyday had a severe sprain on his right hand. Inspite of the medication, he has been suffering from severe pain. On our way back from class one morning, I inquired how he was feeling. He said, “It still hurts but I have to work to feed my family”. I didn’t know what to say. There was a silence and then he said, “If only my dad was there, the pain would long be gone”.
I asked him if his father knew how to treat sprains. He said, “He knew”. There was a silence again. I asked, “What all could your father treat?” He said his father could treat fractures and sprains. Silence again. After a long pause, he continued, “He could treat both people and animals. There used to be long queues of people in front of the house every morning. He used to treat them all day.” I started to assume that his father had been a well to do doctor and my assumption was immediately proven wrong when dada (the rickshaw-puller) said, “But he never charged a single rupee from anyone for the treatment he offered. He treated people and animals for free. People used to travel across villages to get treated by him. He believed the service he offered should not be traded for money.”
I was left awestruck. I was moved by the selflessness of this man who inspite of having difficult times feeding his family never gave up on his character. His sons did not like him because he could not send them to school inspite of having the ability to earn. His wife wanted him to earn too. And in the end, this man who sent good health to a lot of homes, died of bad health himself as his family could not afford his treatment. He stuck to his belief till the end no matter what came his way. After he died is when his family realized the respect he held in the hearts of the people he served. They respect him no less than they respect god.
I felt the story of this unsung hero is worth sharing and worth learning from. So, here it is for you…