A White Stick Beckoning A Walking Stick
by Manohar Naidu
My father left for heavenly abode at the age of eighty six years. One of his belongings “A Walking Stick”, which was carefully chiseled wooden stick with curved angle used as support for walking, I kept with me, perhaps due to emotional attachment, I had with my father and as well as a memorabilia. I always remembered that, when the last time I met him, he was 81 years old, and was not using the walking stick.
I am an early morning walker. After becoming plus seventy, during walk, I was losing self-confidence due to diminishing eyesight, slow reaction coupled with numerous potholes, open manholes and army of stray dogs on streets and on uneven footpaths. They were potential dangers to my routine health care which I was doing at twilight of my life. And this time, the walking stick which I had kept for years with me, become a real dear and protective companion to me for my daily walk
One day, I missed my morning walk and decided to compensate with a stroll to a nearby park in the evening. It was around 5.30 with mild cool air. The Park was bustling with activity by old and young alike, a lot of children playing and ladies attending Lord Hanumam Temple in the park. I was very happy with the whole surrounding, got settled myself on the cement concrete bench and kept my memorabilia on the right side, touching the bench and ground.
Just then, a lady came near my bench with a boy of about ten years old and made the boy sit near by me. She also told and instructed the boy that she will be back as soon as arati (salutation) is over in the temple.
The boy was blind and was holding a white stick between his knees. The white stick was a support to locate obstacles and also an indicative of his physical visual impairment. With his sixth sense, he could feel that someone is sitting next to him, that is me.
The boy suddenly asked me. “ Uncle what game they are playing?”
I looked in front and told him “One boy is blindfolded with a handkerchief and he is required to touch other boys around. The boy who gets caught, will be blindfolded, and the game goes on.”
The boy was very much excited. I saw him searching his pocket. Took out his handkerchief, tied around his eyes, blindfolded himself and rushed towards ground, saying “Its very easy game for me.” His white stick fell, leaned and got stuck on my chiseled walking stick, beckoning “Will You Help Me?”
I was awakened. The symbolic message was crystal clear to me.
Temple bells stopped ringing, and arati ended.
The lady took her boy from playground along with his white stick. The moment I reached home, I phoned a voluntary organisation and pledged myself for “EYE DONATION“ posthumously. My very humble and the modest contribution to humanity.======