They Are Still On The Streets

Friday, August 7, 2015 Freshen Up

An insight to the lives of roadside vendors who are still working hard for their daily bread

"The best friend is the man who in wishing me well, wishes it for my sake." – Aristotle. We ride the life with a bunch of vivid butterflies. We call them “friends”. Exploring the picturesque, indulging ourselves right into life flow, we make a glorious ride. Who are friends? Many are obsessed with "making friends". Many are true loyal and faithful to all commitments. Many like me are happy finding friendship in anything and everything. Human or abstract real or myth, open mind and refreshed eyes can find friendship anywhere anytime. Nourish the good, accept the bad as it is, and uproot them with love: these are the key steps to unconditional companionship. 

I wish if I could redefine friendship, inducing a new phase. Companionship is concomitant feeling to every relation. Between a mother and her child, brother and sister, master and pet, there exists an ancillary friendship.  Just take a look around you; you may see a hundred thousand moments to rejoice and a million creations to befriend. It's the very same companionship that brings buoyancy and joy to our life journey. Inhaling the outer world with eyes closed, unveil the goodness wrapped in dirt and feel a new refreshing world. With an abiding smile we will realize we have befriended the world.     

These must be strange faces for you, for me as well. Their age demands them rest. They worked hard for a lifetime. It’s past time for them to lead a peaceful life. They are still on the streets with the smile on their faces amiss. Why? Because all these faces have stories to tell. About sons/daughters who abandoned them, how they are taking care of his/her widowed daughter and her children, how they migrated to some strange locale just to forget the pain and insults their children caused them, how they were thrown to streets, their fortune taken away.

This 90 year old woman, Ally, was abandoned by all her 7 children. She, along with her husband came all the way from Tamil Nadu to find peace in their life. When I started conversing in Tamil I could see her eyes gleam. "I work from dawn to dusk to take care of my husband who is bed ridden. It’s almost 21 years since we came here. Till this date, no one has come enquiring about us. We have done all good we could do for our children. We are happy this way”, she said. This mother still has endless love for her children. She even gave me the pleasure to have her picture taken.

 I felt inordinate guilt when she blessed me, guilt without a cause. Old age is an inevitable phase of life. There are countless devastated souls relentlessly longing for at least a smile with empathy. We are the present and the future, we should think. If we are not showing concern for the previous epoch, how will we ever know the real meaning of kinship? The smile we bring on their faces can give you more pleasure rather than having a flamboyant party. I’m not insisting on charity, but offer a hand of companionship to those who are in need. Make them feel we care for them. A little time, serene words, an act of kindness can make a huge difference to their lives. He or she may not be our father or mother, but still we can be their child. This is what I believe the real companionship is all about.

You may find a billion to follow you, make you happy, to laugh with you, to cheer for you. But we can’t say that will ever make you a good friend. Give life to the dreams of someone who expect nothing from you, share your happiness with those who wear a fading away smile, do something for the greater good. They may be someone else’s past, but we can make them our present and future. I write this note, not for shares, not for likes neither for comments. Within my heart, I feel it’s our responsibility to take care of them. Remind you all yet again, they may not be your parents but you can at the least be a reason for their smile.

written by
Lekshmi Nair