Note: This article was originally written in Quora ref: https://www.quora.com/What-inspires-and-motivates-you-today/answer/C-V-Rajan-1
After a gap of about 6 years, I visited my close relative couple living in a small town near my native place and had the pleasure of spending about two days with them.
The husband is 83 years old and the wife, about 73 years. They are issueless (i.e. they have no children). They are staying in a small rented flat. Both of them are not really healthy (considering their age) but pulling along on their own, purely depending on divine grace.
They are indeed very lovely couple — very loving, very affectionate, and they radiate love and affection to whomsoever they come into contact.
Incidence after incidence they were narrating about the people and relatives they come into contact — all of those people were indeed “extremely nice and affectionate people” according to them! Everyone they come into contact virtually want to help them, favor them, support them financially, physically and emotionally and so on. They don’t seem to come across wily people, evil people and cunning people at all!
How is it possible? How does it happen?
The only explanation I could think of is this: They have such a goodness in their heart that they cannot easily see negatives in the hearts of other people! Their radiating love and acceptance resonates to kindle goodness in the others’ hearts!
I know them closely for the past almost 57 years. My earliest memory about them was when I was 5 years old, accompanying the woman (she was rather a 16-year old just-married girl then) in a bullock cart to her in-law’s village when she went there for the first time, to start her life in the joint family.
She had a childhood where financial inadequacy was the norm. She had a highly troubled childhood, suffering under sibling rivalry (domination and discrimination by elder sisters). In fact she was glad to ‘escape’ from her home through her marriage at that young age (as told by her to me a couple of times in the past).
But the place she ended up was no better! From inadequacy, her life shifted to virtual poverty. Her husband had no proper job to sustain a family and hence they had to be confined to the joint family. There was a lunatic lady relative in the family to take care of.
But the woman had only one solace — everyone in her in-law’s place, despite the poverty, loved her; they took her as part and parcel of their family. She was a hard worker; she never hesitated to work and serve others. She sacrificed herself for their family. Practically all her gold jewelry were sold; all her silverware were sold; all her brass utensils were sold — in order to feed the entire family. She accepted it all and was content to bask in their love — the love that her home never gave her in childhood.
By divine dispensation, one of the elders in her in-law’s family took a firm decision to save the couple from further hardship. He found a reasonable job for her husband in a nearby town and asked them to move to the town and set up their own independent home, free from the burden of supporting the rest of the joint family.
Thus they shifted to the small town with virtually nothing to carry. From poverty, they could now make both ends meet. They stayed in single-room portions in a large rented houses where there were several such portions shared by others. Over a few years, they also lived in a small portion of a relative’s house of her husband, where they were not really welcome, but accommodated as a help to the financially struggling couple.
The woman served the relatives to the best she could, so as to compensate for their goodwill gesture. The children of the relatives became close to her. They got married; they got children; those little children came to the couples’ humble portion to play, to listen to stories that the woman told them from the Puranas, to spend time joyfully, to eat whatever that the couple willingly shared with them with the joy of sharing! It could be just a few hadfulls of ‘rasam sadam‘ (humble rice mixed with soup) or roasted peanuts with jaggery! But the little children enjoyed every bit of them because it was spiced with the love of the couple!
Later, once the couple’s financial position improved, they shifted to other locations in the town, to slightly better side-portions (where they could now afford a small kitchen and a hall cum room). Now the husband’s aged mother stated to live with them because the other brothers could not take care of her any longer!
The couple took a good care of the old mother too! Fortunately she received an old age pension (continued from her deceased husband’s government pension) to take care of her expenses. But the old woman received abundant love and care! She lived to a ripe old age of 95 or so and then died. She was taken care of by the couple for more than 15 years.
Wherever they lived, I had the chance to visit them practically once in a few years. In whichever place they lived, there will be little children around, who would come to their humble place to play, talk and eat!
Now years have passed. These little children have grown to men and women. They were all well educated; some of them live abroad.
The woman narrated to me: “Do you remember this little boy Kesavan, who used to come and play in our portion those days? You might have seen him during one of your visits long back”.
“May be; I don’t remember” I said.
“One fine day, three years ago; this 6 feet tall youngster comes to our flat and asks, “Maami, do you remember me?”
“Yes! How could I identify him? Then he comes and touches my feet saying, ‘Maami, I am your Kesavan; brother of Seetha! We both used to come and eat with you when we were children!’ I get swept at my feet! ‘Dai, Kesava! So big and tall? You rascal! How did you remember us?’– that’s what I could tell him!” said she!
“How did Kesavan locate you after so many years? You have changed so many houses in between!” I asked her.
“Oh! He said that in US, he saw me in the video of a marriage of his relative in this town that I attended a few months before! He immediately remembered me; he was thinking the whole night about his joyful childhood days when he and his sister would come to our portion, play “dayakattam” with us, listen to Ramayana stories and also eat “rasam sadam” with “appalam” that tasted heavenly!”
The woman then showed to me two new plastic chairs in their possession.
“When Kesavan sat in the old plastic chair, it broke. He went to the market immediately and brought these two chairs for us. He stayed with us for 2 days; asked me to prepare his favorite dishes and ate them with relish! He took our bank account number and is now depositing some good amount, a couple of times in a year, despite our protests!” she said and continued: “He told his sister about his visit over phone; she is an extremely rich lady now living in Bangalore. Within a couple of months, she too came to meet us! And she too started depositing money in our bank account! They say that they are so much well off that whatever they are spending for our sake are really peanuts for them. What to do? They are such a nice people, you know!”
The couple had a few more stories to narrate like this. Last year the husband fell sick and was admitted in a local hospital. The very same night, a cousin of mine (who is related in the same way to them as me) happens to visit the town from Chennai for some other purpose. He comes to their home, learns that they were in hospital, goes to hospital and takes charge, till the old man was discharged and he pays all the hospital bills!
Then they had the stories to tell about their old doctor (who was no more). The doctor, one of the most famous and most sought after heart specialists in the town, somehow became friendly with the couple. He would demand “Idli and chilli powder” or “vadumangai“(tender mango pickle) from this brahmin couple as his ‘fees’ and treat the couple whenever they fell sick! He would come in his car through the narrow lane, honk the horn, give them medicines and tonic bottles, collect a couple of home-made dosas and chutney and go! When the doctor fell sick due to heart attack, the old couple nursed him in the hospital by preparing home made kanji (gruel), idli and so on for feeding him time to time till he was discharged!
I heard many such stories from them of the world filled with such wonderful people.
The old man said, “God is taking care of us extremely well! In fact better than people who have children. All our financial difficulties are matters of the past. We are well off today, thanks to all these kind hearted people. You know your cousin Murali; he is back here in this town by his latest transfer. He was a big strength to us earlier when he lived with his parents several years ago in this town. God has sent him back here for our sake; if anything wrong happens to any one of us, Murali is here to call; we can always bank on his attention and care in any time of need…”
I came back to my place, with heart filled with hope and assurance that the world will sustain for ever, as long as people of this nature live in this world!