Kindness Always Brings Happiness
by Vaman Acharya
It was a Monday evening n Pavanpur town. Suddenly there was heavy rain accompanied by thunderstorm. The situation was most horrible for the people. I was in my residence located in the Bank Colony. I had availed casual leave to attend some personal work. I was planning to go out to meet my bank colleague in connection with my work. The rain disrupted me to move outside. I told my friend to wait until the rain stopped.
I saw an old man standing in front of the main door, through the window, taking shelter in the balcony. Space was inadequate to protect him from the rain and wind. He had no umbrella or cap on the head. To warm up himself, he had no raincoat or sweater. The old man was terribly shivering as his dress was completely wet. Due to his age, he was unable to tolerate the pressure of heavy rain and terrible wind. By appearance, I could guess him as a person belonging to a respectable family. Seeing his pitiable condition, I wanted to call him inside and provide another dress. Otherwise, there was every possibility for the old man to face the worst situation. Anybody in my place would never keep quite leaving his precarious condition to his fate. Though he was unknown to me, I was very much worried about the old man. My inner voice gave me a call to protect the old man.
Out of sympathy for the old man, I asked my wife, "My dear Karuna, shall I call the old man standing outside to come in? His condition is very serious."
She saw the old man through the window.
"Vasu, don't call the stranger inside. Unknown persons should not be given mercy. Who knows the old man appears to be good but in reality, he may be quite the opposite? Because you don't know the nature of the person just by seeing. I remember a story told by my friend. Some time back, a stranger asked water from outside the house. He appears to be a gentleman. The main door was closed. The owner of the house was an old man, staying with his wife. He went inside to bring water. His intention was good. While giving a glass of water to him the old man opened the door. The stranger appeared to be a young man pushed the old man and entered inside. As a result of this, the old man fell down on the ground. He entered inside the house and demanded cash and valuables at the gunpoint. The old man and his wife became scary and unable to face the situation. Out of fear, the old couple failed to take any steps like informing the police or alerting the neighbours. He was successful in getting the cash and gold. The young man left the place quickly on his motorbike."
"Karuna, This is not the time to narrate the story. The old man outside is different from the one you told in your story,"
I explained to my wife politely. Further, I tried to convince her on humanitarian grounds.
God gave her good sense and she agreed to help him. I opened the main door and asked the old man to come inside. He never expected that the owner of the house would call him inside. He entered the house and expressed heartful thanks. He introduced himself as a Kulkarni, a retired professor in a shivering voice. I told him to remove the wet dress in a separate room and wear another dress kept on the table. There was no problem to provide him with another dress as he needed Indian traditional dress dhoti and shirt. The towel was also kept for his use. He went inside and changed the dress. I told him to collect his clothes the next day after drying up.
He was asked to sit on the sofa and relax until the rain was completely stopped. Kulkarni wanted to say something. But due to shivering, he was unable to speak. Observing his condition, my wife brought coffee with snacks for him. He expressed thanks for the kindness shown to him.
After a few minutes, he was recovered.
He said, "I bless both of you to lead a happy and peaceful life. I appreciate your kindness. If you had not called me to come inside, I would have died in front of your house. I have no words to express my gratitude for the help you have extended to me. Whenever you find the time please visit my house situated on the next road."
He gave me his telephone number and address. The rain had stopped and the weather was clear, after fifteen minutes. During this time we asked him a number of questions on Mahabharata and Ramayana. He listened to our questions patiently and replied to all our questions. I was very much impressed by the way in which he was answering. He gifted me one book penned by him on Ramayana as a token of love and affection. He requested us to meet him on any day to practice and pronounce correctly the words in the book. I was surprised to know that he was the author of a number of books on religion and spirituality. He leads a saintly life after retirement from the service.
He left our house and expressed his thanks again for the timely help.
My wife turned towards me. "I did a great mistake by refusing to call the old man inside immediately when you said. If I was firm in my opinion I would have committed a great sin. The pious man would have suffered a lot," said Karuna.
"Karuna, I am happy that God has given you the presence of mind and good sense."
We both tried to read and understand the poems in the book. The book is in old Kannada language and difficult to understand. I preserved this book in my home library. It was a happy occasion for us to welcome the pious man, who visited our house unexpectedly.
I remember this incident even today though it had happened four decades ago.
It was one of the unforgettable and wonderful experiences I had in my life. ***