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This story is about an old retired man who had lost everything in the war including his son and his family, so he saw happiness in helping people and never hesitated to come forward.
“Do you need help?” asked an old man from across the street
“No, No it’s heavy, I’ll manage” I told him.
“Come on, I’m old doesn’t mean I can’t help.” While saying this, he walked towards me and helped me lift my furniture to my new apartment.
I recently got transferred to a new place, as a part of my promotion.
New city, new people. All strangers. Somebody coming forward and offering a help was a good start, I felt.
After his generous attitude, I offered him a cup of tea, as a token of thanks, but he refused and left. The next morning while strolling in my lawn, I saw him again – sitting on a chair in the sun. I rushed towards him and thanked him for the previous day and asked him if he would like to accompany me to the market as I was not familiar to the area, to which he happily agreed. While shopping I saw him helping almost everybody that he possibly could. On our way back I asked him why he was so kind to everyone. He replied that this was all that kept him busy and away from his thoughts.
Speaking the last word his eyes filled with tears but he somehow did not let them roll over his cheek. Seeing this I did not question him any further but wanted to ask many more questions about him and his journey. Maybe this is not the proper time, I said to myself and hence kept it all together.
The following days saw him sharing his thoughts with me over a cup of tea, frequent meetings and sun-baths. This continued for some time. He would accompany me to the market, the store, helped me running errands etc. until we became very good friends.
One-day I invited him over lunch to my place. He was reluctant at first but agreed on me forcing. Post lunch I asked him about his life, his work, his family. The next moment saw him speaking his heart out. He had lost his son, his daughter-in-law and his grandson to the war and was left with no support system.
Wars always leave a deep and lasting imprint on societies. It affects not only those participating, but also the innocent and unconnected. The memory of death leaves us shattered, as it did to him.
Probably lifting my furniture by me would have reminded him of his grandson, around the same age he would have been then. Life is not fair to everyone. While we complaint over small day-to-day needs, instances like these reminds us that our plight is hardly anything.
It is now like a home affair with him. Regular meet ups, quality times – talking and philosophy-ing, sometimes doing literally nothing. Just enjoying each other’s presence. I found a companion in this new city, and he, a family.