The New life

“…My friend Swami needs something of you.. so I request you… please do meet my friend tomorrow”, insisted Hari which was very uncharacteristic of him.

Amit relented finally, “OK I shall do that tomorrow.”

Amit kept his mobile down and muttered, “God! I thought I could just take my Saturday easy. But now this! Why am I doing this favor for Hari?!!”

He entered his lovely two bedroom flat after parking his two wheeler. As he entered, he saw his wife taking the milk packet from the fridge. Amit was visibly upset.

“What is this Preetha? You know that I would be home by now. You are delaying my coffee. Can’t a man have at least his coffee on time?” thundered Amit.

Preetha’s heart was boiling along with the milk in the stove. She kept quiet and mixed coffee for Amit in stoic silence. But her troubled heart was effecting a muttered prayer on her lips, “Bhagavan! I find Amit Very irritable. Nowadays he is complaining a lot. Even Amma called up yesterday and asked me if all was well with us. A little less salt in breakfast made him crib. Amit got a decent 5% salary hike, but he was very upset and was complaining why life is so unfair to him. Krishna! please do bless my Amit. All he sees is shortcomings in very trivial things around him.”
She could not help a sigh as she took the coffee cup to Amit.

“I have to meet Hari’s friend Swami. I don’t know what has got into to Hari! He kept insisting… Today it took me one full hour to return home in the Mount Road traffic… Every day my legs ache. What a miserable life I have!”

When Preetha heard Hari’s name she felt happy. If Amit was blessed with good friends, Hari is certainly the jewel in that crown. She even hoped that Hari’s insistence to meet someone is the answer to her prayers!

Next day, Amit, grumbling that he didn’t catch enough rest drove to the address Hari gave. As he reached the place his Google map had proclaimed, “You have reached the destination’, Amit was plain surprised!

The wooden board read, “New Life – Home for the differently abled”. Amit was confused. He approached the watchman.

“Is there a Mr Swamy?”

“Oh! You have come to see Sir! Please follow me.”

Amit was led to a office; but not before he was taken through a big hall. There he saw many children who have lost one of their hands; some had artificial limbs; some wore dark glasses and were tapping with a stick as they walked around; many were wheelchair bound. Amit’s thoughts were racing like sparrows suddenly let free from the cage!

His thoughts were interrupted when the watchman exclaimed, “Sir is here!”

Swamy – A young chap was slowly coming in on a motorized wheelchair. His dhoti was spotlessly clean and bright, which matched perfectly with his clean-shaven smiling face. He wore a checked shirt and a simple watch. The most remarkable part was his bright eyes which exuded cheer and joy.

Swamy held out his hand to greet Amit. As they shook hands, Swamy smilingly said , “Thanks for stopping by. Hari told me a lot about you. I am truly happy to meet you especially because I heard you are a software professional for gadgets which empower the differently abled.”
Amit was taken aback. In his last six years he never saw his work this way! All he saw was money, more money, appreciation and recognition , competition – in short a rat race!

He was at a loss for words. Looking at the cheerful face of Swami he manage to mutter, “how are you?” His mind raced back to the day before as he asked this question to Swamy.

His childhood friend – Vinay had met him after 20 years.
Vinay had enquired “How are you doing Amit?”. Amit had responded, “Oh yaar, too much pressure at work. Everyday it takes an hour’s journey to workplace. At home it is sort of ok. We argue a lot. Life is like that I suppose”

Swamy’s response brought Amit back to the present in a snap!

“Oh! I am doing very well. I am very happy. I just finished a painting. We have been having exciting 20 hour a day work sessions as we are preparing for annual day function with the kids. We heard from Hari that you are a very accomplished professional. We would love to hear from you, if you could preside over the annual function.”

“Mr.Swamy! What had happened to you? How….?.

Amit didn’t know how to ask about Swamy’s condition.

Swamy understood…With a broader smile, he looked at Amit and pointing to his feet said, “Oh this? Well, to cut a long story short, 5 years ago, my friends and I went on a vacation in my car. It was dark a night and a truck driver couldn’t see my insignificant car. I was rushed to the nearby hospital. As you can see, I lived, but from hip down, I couldn’t feel a thing. I am so grateful that my friends did not suffer any major injury. I am so grateful to the doctors who managed to save my hands.”

Amit was awestruck. Swamy continued…

“You know I cook myself and I am very good at that!!” – a small innocent giggle, then Swamy continued.

“My marriage was about to happen, but after this incident, I myself turned it down. I like being with children. So whatever I got from insurance and savings, I utilised in the making of this ‘New life’ home. I am so happy and am living my new life with sharing, caring and tremendous joy.”

Now – the otherwise steely faced Amit found himself moved to tears which were flowing down profusely. It was then he realized he was still holding Swamy’s hand, now a bit sprinkled with his tears.

He saw his past 5 years of complaining about trivialities – about his peers, parents, traffic, work, and even his loving wife, racing before his inner eye! Now more tears started flowing from his eyes, that must have cleansed his head and he could see things more clearly.

How he was frittering away his lovely moments of life in complaining about trivialities, how he didn’t see the bigger picture of life’s purpose; how he stopped counting his countless blessings; how he took love and affection for granted.

With genuine feeling of gratitude and with his heart in a tempest of mixed emotions, he managed to say, “Swamy! Thank you”.

Swamy asked, “Would you visit us often to teach us coding?”

Amit thought, “Oh yes! I would…Not just to teach you all coding which I am good at, but also to learn about living life, which you all excel at”.

Hari had asked him a favour, at least that’s what Amit thought. Now he realized that Hari had indeed bestowed him the greatest favour like only Hari could, like how a friend would.

With his spirits lifted, head held straight and eyes bright, Amit left ‘New Life’ for his home to start his new life!

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