God at the beginning of the world first structured Adam. Then Eve was created to be his companion. This was what our religion had pronounced and this is what is still being sermonized. Even Islam holds the same view. Together, the first couple formed a family. The procreation continued and paved the way for multiples of generation from their children to grandchildren and from there to their great grandchildren. In one word, all of us are the inhabitants of Adam and Eve. The inhabitants have spread all around the world, some with shelter and some without. A home to live in is the dream of every human being and unfortunately many struggle to have a home of their own. In Kerala there is no shelter for plenty of them, so you find them wherever you go.
The proliferation of human bodies continues all over the world at breathtaking speed and the worry for little space to live in is upward. The hunt for shelter continues for rich, poor, beggar and pauper. The choice differs. The rich may look for villas and bungalows and the rest for houses & huts. In cities or villages or even in the desert and jungles, mankind is working hard to make a living out of it. No matter where you live, where you go and what you achieve, we are inspired by our heartfelt spirit. Day and night, every moment of our life, the spirit in our heart keeps us alive. The spirit may fluctuate due to happiness or sadness. But this spirit keeps us alive always and becomes the primary cause for our all emotions. The spirit gets energized by the fluctuation and change of color, which guides us into new directions and challenges. This causes action.
In other words, our actions are stimulated by the feelings, which God has given you and me. They are hidden in every human being. When the top grass perishes, the hidden foliage emerges from underneath. Similarly, without even our awareness, feelings pop up. They remain with us for some days and then they disappear. Feelings are God’s creation and it is too huge a topic to my little mind.
In 2003 I had gone to India. It was my first visit after my family, that is my wife and daughter had moved for higher education. Whenever I am in my hometown I love to meet people. Accordingly, whenever I visit my hometown, I make it a point to meet all my friends and relatives. As time is a constraint I begin at 7 in the morning and after attending mass, I embark on my visits. The customary visits, sometime makes them uncomfortable and many times causes uneasiness. Some could be still fast asleep, while the others still in the washroom. Some are busy with newspaper, while others perhaps having tea or breakfast.
Wherever I go, I love to converse and the visit begins and ends up with the chat. I don’t eat anything that is offered to me. This pattern of mine angers some people and hurts many others. "Now he has become successful." many have commented. I blow a whistle while moving out. Despite these awkward observations, I remain the same. I am ill at ease to justify my actions. I have been thinking really hard to validate my practice but without much success.
…Is it the after effect of sheer disappointment? Or are we cold blooded?….
During my last holidays, I came to know that an elderly lady, a spinster well known to me was not keeping well. Praying for God’s grace, I visited her with my sister at a HOME OF THE AGED where she was staying.
The month was December. It was evening when we dropped in. She had a fall and was in great pain. She was not taken to the clinic and first aid had not been given. "I am in real pain. I cannot sit or stand. How I can I go to the toilet my dear?" She was in tears. After seeing her in that state, how could one feel? You could imagine how we felt. She was unmarried and has a brother, who lived in Mumbai. She had no other relatives. By then the DINNER was served. The dinner consisted of gram curry together with conjie (Rice Cereal).
On the bed next to hers I saw another old woman. When her dinner came, she was made to sit up from her sleeping position. The dinner plate was given in her hand. Her fingers were so twisted due to illness & old age that she was not in a position to use them for eating. She could not even consume the Conji. "It is difficult to eat. I need a spoon," She cried. The spoon was arranged. After eating, immediately she was made to recline and they covered her with a blanket. The mosquito net was pulled up. It was made mandatory for her to go to bed at 5:30 in the evening and there was no one to take her to the toilet until next morning!
Oh God, could life be so complex, thorny & grueling? Our hearts sank – my sister and me. One could write an entire story on such an incident, perhaps even an inspiring novel. Our hearts would melt if personalities like Shyam Benegal make similar movies. We were truly choked and shocked. The old lady’s crooked fingers, her struggle to eat Conji, the rice slipping between her fingers, with just one or two grains reaching the mouth??..thinking of this I felt what state has this world arrived at? This was just the part my thoughts were bothered with. What about her loneliness? Children elsewhere. Difficulty in eating? How does she live? How does she live on the bed for 24 hours?? It was unthinkable.
What a situation to be in! How could I describe the situation? The feelings emerged which I could not control. The scene was unforgettable. Anybody’s father or mother living a lonely & miserable life, where would their life possibly lead them to? This bitter truth had come out in the form of feelings. I may even fail to depict the exact reality, however…
‘Is it the after effect of sheer disappointment? Or are we cold blooded…?’
Feelings that came into my mind I have revealed here. This might awaken your feelings too! So be it!
Original Author Mr. Jemma Padil, this article in Konkani ? title Boghna was published in Konkani, in Divo, November 15, 2003 issue.
Feelings reproduced in English courtesy Lancy Vaz, Derebail, Mangalore with the consent of the author/friend.
Edited by Stan Ageira, Mulki
Author: Lancy Vaz- Mangalore