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June 04, 2019 Tuesday 01:23:34 PM IST

SEE TEARS OF OTHERS

Reflections

One day when Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) woke up in the morning, there was no water in the basin to wash his face. All of a sudden, he became very angry. “Where are you,” Tagore screamed at the top of his voice looking for his servant.

It was the duty of his servant to fill the basin with water drawn from the well early in the morning. Tagore thought his servant would be in the kitchen. But there was no sign of him there. Neither was his breakfast ready on the table as was the usual custom. He could not believe his servant would be so irresponsible.

As Tagore needed water for his morning ablutions, he was forced to draw water from the well by himself. While he was drawing water, he was fuming at his servant and planning to punish him severely. He waited impatiently for his servant to come so that he could mete out punishment without delay. Now let Tagore himself continue this story:

“As the hours passed by, my anger did not dissipate. On the contrary, it became uncontrollable. I was pacing back and forth waiting for him to come. Finally, he came around noon time. ‘Get out of my sight,’ I yelled. But he did not go. He stood there silently with downcast eyes. After a few moments of silence, he raised his eyes and said in a quiet voice, ‘My little girl died last night.’ Then he went into the house and started doing his work.”


In lap of luxury

Nobel Laureate Tagore was born in Kolkata in the lap of luxury. He always had servants at his beck and call, especially when he was growing up. However, he was not aware of the struggles and pains of the servants who always remained loyal to his family. He was satisfied with the fact that they were being paid for their services. But slowly, his eyes opened. He began to see the struggles and pains of the common and poor people around him. He often reflected on them. When he began writing, his writings were filled with stories of the heartbreaks and tears of the poor people around him.

All around us there are people who are struggling to make ends meet or suffering because of one sickness or the other. There are also many others who are depressed or disappointed because of the roadblocks they face in life. But do we have any awareness about them? Or are we like Tagore who once was so ignorant and indifferent to the needs and pains of other people?

Two funerals


An unknown author has the following story to tell: “There were funerals of two children at the same time at a London cemetery. In the case of one child, there was nobody to accompany him other than his mother. There was also nobody to bring flowers to his grave. However, in the case of the other child, there were a large number of people to accompany him to his grave. There were also many who came with flowers. The funeral of the second child went very well.

“When the funeral of this child was over, his father took a big bouquet of flowers from the gravesite of his son and went to the grave of the other child and respectfully placed it over the grave.  I don’t know the name of this father who did such a beautiful thing. But I am sure the angels in heaven definitely know his name.”

The father was heartbroken because of the loss of his child. However, his grief did not prevent him from seeing the anguish of a mother who lost her child. Moreover, even in the midst of his grief, he was able to bring some consolation to the mother who was grieving over her child. That is why the unknown author wrote that the angels in heaven definitely know his name.

All of us encounter all kinds of struggles and trials at some point in our life. However, it is important that we see the heartbreaks and tears of others in the midst of our own struggles and trials. If we can see their heartbreaks and tears and do something to alleviate them, then our names too will be remembered by the angels in heaven.



Fr. Jose Panthaplamthottiyil, CMI


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