Roaming in the streets of Ahmedabad, hunting for something different, we learnt the Teaching of our lives. Walking through a car packed road and sweating so much that it dribbles from your clothes is not what you want after a long and adorable walk with your best friends. So, to quench our thirst we decided to have some cold drinks. Our luck was with us that day and we just had to cross a sea of deafening horns to reach the shop. Like every ordinary shop, a shopkeeper was seated and the refrigerator full of drinks was calmly kept inside.
But, here’s the twist. In the middle of a Gujarati city like A’bad, what you expect from a small shopkeeper is to be a calm, minding his own business types human. But, this uncle was not at all like one. He was a slim guy with somewhat crooked teeth and he spoke fluent English!
After giving us our cold drinks he sat down beside us and asked, “Which college are you people from?”
“Well, we are still in school.” One of us replied, somewhat reluctantly.
“Oh is it? Doesn’t seem like it.” We smiled. After a couple of minutes we started talking. I don’t exactly remember how we did. But what I remember, and will always do, is that he taught us something which we never realized played such an important role in our lives.
“Its nice that you study. But the main goal of your life must be to make your parents proud.” He said.
“Oh I don’t want a lecture. Not now!” Is what I silently thought.
But what he said next, got me. “My son was doing architecture. He died recently in an accident. Now, me and my wife stay alone in a house nearby and we manage from whatever we can muster with our jobs. The hardships we face are incomparable.”
“Oh. We are sorry….”
“No. No. That is what I had in my fate. But children, I want you to take care of your parents. Nowadays some people abandon their parents. I don’t understand why do you have to abandon a person who has taught you to talk?” His anger somewhat frightened me.
“I am sorry if I am boring you, but this is something you must know.”
“Not at all uncle.” We talked to him for about 15 minutes and that talk was like Buddha enlightenment. We could see the pain in his eyes. He said he will help us whenever we want him to. How ironic. “Can we have your phone number please?” “I don’t use a phone. I believe it is a waste of money. Me and my wife, none of us use it. We don’t need it anyway. But if you want to talk to me at any point of time, you can come here. You’ll always find me here.” “Thank you so much. Can we have a picture?” “Well, I wont look as good as you do. But its okay. You’ll have to show me the picture though.” “Sure.” After a mini-photography session, when we started leaving, he said one thing. That line still rings in my head, “Just make your parents proud.”