Chapter 1

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

My Loving sister Sandra,

I am in Mumbai, India. They say that the spirit of Mumbai is indomitable and its generosity legendary. I was soon going to experience this first hand.

Yesterday, I was strolling along the promenade at the beautiful Colaba Causeway that borders the majestic Arabian Sea.  As I was walking, my attention was caught by a scene unfolding under a bridge on the opposite side of the road.

A well-dressed gentleman was distributing lunch boxes and pouches of clean water to a large group of men, women and children, around 200 of them. They were dressed in rags, full of dirt and grime. The gentleman was smiling, sometimes patting a child on his head or kindly greeting an elderly man. Some of them clutched at the man’s hand and kissed it and some of them blessed him with folded hands.  I could sense the kindness and warmth emanating from his person.  

Intrigued, I walked up to this gentleman and introduced myself. I asked him what he was doing. He said, “My name is Abdul. I come here every afternoon with lunch boxes stacked in my car and feed these poor, homeless people. I have been doing this for the past 5 years.”

“But how can you afford to feed so many people each and every day? You must be earning really well,” I said matter-of-factly.

“No Sir. I barely make ends meet. Mumbai is an expensive place to live. But once upon a time I was poor and homeless too. I had just arrived in this city from a small village and hadn’t found a decent job for many months. Those days of hunger and destitution are still etched in my memory. I took a solemn vow at that time that if ever I was able to earn a decent living, I would feed a few poor and homeless like me every day. When I got my first salary, I started by feeding one person every day. Then it became 3, 5, 8, and so on. I could no longer afford to feed so many people on my meager salary. So I decided to stop. But then friends and colleagues who knew about my pledge started helping me out financially.  The word spread and now many anonymous donors come and drop money in my letterbox at home,” Abdul said with a charming smile.

“And what do you get in return?” I asked incredulously.

“Countless blessings! No amount of money can buy me the happiness and contentment that I get by feeding these people,” Abdul said.

I felt a deep sense of joy and fulfillment after talking to Abdul. Sandra, we read and hear so much about human atrocities and cruelty in newspapers and the media. It sometimes shakes our faith in humanity. But when you meet people like Abdul, one is assured that compassion and magnanimity of the human spirit is still alive and thriving in some of us.

Until next time, good bye.

Yours Truly

Wilson

Comments

This is a wonderful story. I understand it is based on fact. Whenever I learn of such kindness I am truly humbled and wonder where such kind hearts/souls spring from. They are a gift to the world. Thank you Hemali for sharing this story.