Virgin Veils of Nirvana
There are times when you stand alone wanting to give something to someone you love or admire, but you would not have it with you, and then there are times when you have the whole world to offer, and you still can’t help but watch them leave; this was that moment.
Dad looked up and said ‘ok’ and left my room, while I continued with the rest of my packing, while calls and messages kept coming on the phone and I answered quite a few of those eager friends who wanted to know when we can meet in a coffee day or so.
I was eager to meet most of my friends before I left town and was trying to squeeze a little of my time so that I can have a sip of coffee and enjoy the few last talks of my dear old friends. I eagerly scheduled a meeting with all 5 of them at the nearest café coffee day and started packing even faster.
When the time came to get ready to meet ma friends, I got a call from of them and he said, ‘Sorry buddy, seems like most of them are caught up with something and can’t make it today, what about tomorrow?’ I smiled inside and thought, am I even going to be there tomorrow?... I replied to him saying it was cool, and to let me know when they are planning to meet me at the earliest’. It was late 5pm when I was 80% done with the packing and I was so tired, I just sat down by corner of the room and sat down to look what was happening through the window. The first thing I looked was an old grandmother who was walking tardily on the road, and while I was seeing her, I noticed a speeding auto coming her way, and just a hair thread he missed her and went zooming by, the poor old lady was so shocked, she lost her balance and fell on the road, and I saw a woman walking on the other side of the road who rushed by her and lifted her up, gave water and assisted her, and while I looked more closely, I looked at the little cross she was wearing. I closed my eyes for a moment, got up and got ready and in a few minutes I was in the car driving my way to the old age home.
In twenty minutes I reached the home, I slowly opened the gate, and it was pure nostalgia when I walked through those gates… It was exactly a year and a half, when my family walked through these gates to bring grandma out for her treatment when she became very ill due to organ failure, and three months later she passed away. But for all those 7 years, there was one person who stood by her and watched not only her moves but the moves of 75 other old people who lived and spent their darling old age amidst those brick walled buildings. The old age home had both male and female wards and apart from a total of 75 old people, there were 10 staff and 3 nuns of which sister Annette was the senior most, the other 2 nuns were trainees who has come from different parts of India to volunteer for the home. Sister has been a nun from the age of 21 and is from a small village from Kerela. She was appointed to serve in this old age home and she was one person who did all what she can for the welfare of the people who lived by her grace.
I remember when I used to go to meet grandma, she used to hold my hand and give me a few cookies, and when I ask her from where she got these cookies, she told me sister Annette gave it for people who managed to sit and tell a joke for the rest of the people. And for each joke you say, you get a cookie, and when I come to meet her, my grandma used to pass over the cookies to me. Sister Annette was someone who I really admired later on when I realize of the time she serves for the people in need. When I think it over in the depth of my morals, it reckons me innumerable values, this simple sister, who is she, she is that someone who takes care and washes the filth of the sins we as mature adults commit. It those little things in life we take for granted, that finally end up as massive sin, and these are the people who clean that for us…. When I look around this place, the many old people who have been neglected, I cannot do nothing but feel saddened and deeply worried about the life I will lead tomorrow, will it be the same way my grandmother dealt with it, or will it be even worse, only time will say.
I entered the building and looked around, and there were a lot of people sitting inside the church praying silently, and my eyes kept wandering on where I could locate Sister Annette, and I finally saw her in the corner, and when our eyes locked, her face lightened up and she slowly started walking towards the entrance of the church and once she was out, she ran and came across the walkway and gave me a tight hug and a wide smile and never left the hug for a few seconds. Then she looked up and said, your dad called up and said, you are leaving, and might not be able to make it, I was so sad I can’t see you, but something in the corner of my heart, kept saying I will see you, and I thank the Lord its finally true. I smiled at her, and told her how happy I am to come and meet her here before she left to another place to serve.
I asked her if her packing is over, she looked up and saw me in the eyes, and said, for the last week, there has been 8 deaths, and people I love and care about are just leaving me and going away to heaven Vasanth, I can’t stop them, I just feel left alone. I want to sit in a corner and cry my heart out, but there are many other souls I have to feed and I don’t have the time to sit and cry while they all starve. I just came back from burying 2 more of the dead and wanted to sit with the people here for a last prayer before I leave tonight, and they too kept asking me to bless them all with a prayer before I leave, so I was sitting when I saw you out by the door, and I couldn’t resist coming out and meeting you.
I held her hand and gave her the little box I had in my hand, she was excited when she opened it and she hugged me again and said, it was one of the cutest gifts she had ever received from some… It was a small wooden box with a glass crystal of a guardian angel inside in a praying posture. She said she loved it and would always have it with her by her side at all times. She held my hand and asked me to take a walk with her around the home which she has spent 7yrs of her life. I gladly accepted and walked with her side by side listening to all the stories she had to share of her experiences within the walls of this old age home. She even made coffee and as I sipped I looked around the place, I looked around the people and I looked deeper within my heart. This place holds memories of my dear grandmother, just like mine, it holds the memories of all the people who were loved and lost, their memories walk through these walls every single which passes by. This fragile life we live in sin’s us with so many things we don’t even have time to think about. After raising 9 children my grandmother was here for the rest of her old age, and so is the lives of the many more who have lived and died in these same wards.
As I moved on, many old grandmothers came and gave their hands and blessed me with no reason, may be deep inside, they get remembrance of their own grandchildren whom they would have only seen once or twice in their lives. I felt enriched with the pure bliss of having these people around me, people who can bless you with all their love and purity, a heart which seeks neither sin nor severity. The vicissitudes of life have contributed to the misery of all those elder souls who once loved and cherished us, I just wish people can stand here for a sec and see what life is all about. I was having a few cookies which sister gave me, and I was rolling them in my hand thinking about what life has in store for all these people and for Sister Annette has she leaves for another place.
Suddenly, one of the grandmothers just pulled me by my hand and made me sit beside her. She told me about her son who is working in the US, and found it difficult for him to look after her so left her at this Home. She told me that her son has a daughter now, but she has never seen her in her whole life. She cried as she kept saying how much she missed them every single day of her life. I gave her all the cookies and just hugged her and kissed her. Both our eyes were full; I had no words to say.
Finally Sister Annette and I reached the entrance of the door, she looked at me and smiled and said, she will be moving to a village where she will serve old people in helping them have a better living. I held her hand tightly and said to her ‘Deep inside I always believed in angels, and I know they exist amidst us as normal human beings, and that God lives inside them, you are one such angel’…. She held tight and hugged me and said, I guess I need to get back to the prayer with them, it would be my last prayer with all of them, and do keep me in your prayers’.
I left her there and moved away towards the gate, I looked back on the life she has lived, to serve and serve more and expect nothing in return. I know this trip of mine is just one of those days, but for her its one day when she gets the reward of all what she has done for the people and for the world of the neglected and exploited. She will always be in my heart and she belongs to heaven. I understand it now, ‘The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless’.
"I opened those gates and walked on musing ‘There are times when you stand alone wanting to give something to someone you love or admire, but you would not have it with you, and then there are times when you have the whole world to offer, and you still can’t help but watch them leave; this was that moment."