Vikas Sharma Daksh

Drama Inspirational


Vikas Sharma Daksh

Drama Inspirational

Tears Of Joy

Tears Of Joy

28 mins

Walking down the trail, the hilly trail, on a footpath often used by locals and their mules, Serpentine like dusty brown path, with large stepping stones dug in ground, at irregular intervals, descending from hilltop, dried pine needles strewn along the path, a conifer pine cone, lying here and there, I followed down the curves of a descending path. 

And as I turned the corner around the hill, I could see the lake below. The lake was a small one, slightly larger than a pond, but a natural lake. A natural lake set amidst tree-clad hills all around. A few pine hills on the south side of the lake and higher hills of ‘Deodars’ on the northern side of the lake.

The sun too was descending in the distant horizon over the hills in the west, while I was coming down on the hilly footpath, from the tourist lodge atop the hill. Atop the same hill, I was now descending. The slowly changing, tinges and hues of shades of orange emanating from the sun, had made the scattered white clouds in evening sky turn fiery red. The orange-reddish light as touching on the bluish-green water of the lake appeared as golden waves dancing on the resilient water-body. The green meadow circumventing the lake appeared as green metal ring head in which the bluish-green lake emanating reddish-golden sparkles, is a jewel beset. 

Mother Nature was in its supreme self, and no words of mine could actually describe or be descript of the beauty that the sight of captivating sunset offered, in the backdrop of lake nestled in green meadow, enveloped by tree-clad hills and mountains on all sides, and a fiery-red summer sky above, dotted with free-floating shades of orange, yellow and white, the clouds in the evening sky.

Walking slowly and steadily, absorbing the visual delight and soothing sight, the evening was bestowed upon me, the raw, yet, polished and refined beauty of nature. All calm and refreshing, making my heart pound faster and louder, purifying blood running in my veins, as I was absorbing the beauty of nature scattered all around me. The beauty of nature in its naked shameless glory. A sight of pure bliss, to the blessed who can, see it, feel it, absorb it and live through it. As I stepped on the green grass of meadow encircling the lake, I started walking towards the boat jetty. There were just two boats in the lake and were the property of the tourist lodge, atop the hill.

As I looked towards the jetty, I could see a tall, lean silhouette of a man, smoking a cigarette while he leaned on the railing of the jetty. Wondering who the man can be, I slowly started moving towards the jetty. As I neared, I could make out the long slender accentuated face of the man leaning on the railing of jetty. He was Neil. Neil was a member of the trekking expedition that had checked in the tourist lodge, a week earlier.

The tourist group, of American citizens, who had come for the trekking expedition, had a few Americans of Indian origin. Mostly corporate managers, who made the land of opportunity, The U.S of A, their new home. They were re-visiting India, their motherland, either to reconnect to their roots or perhaps refresh themselves. 

I had met Neil earlier too, at the lodge. He was from some metro city of India and had migrated to the USA, to pursue his dreams in some big corporate house. As I slowly approached the jetty, I was half￾expecting, Neil, to turn, look at me and smile. I have no idea, why I was expecting or as I said half-expecting, Neil to look at me and smile. 

Whatever my approaching footsteps never appeared disturbing him. Not even ruffling him. For he continued to lean on the railing, looking in the distant horizon, looking at the setting sun. The cigarette between his fingers was slowly ‘burning away’, indicating that he had stood still as such for quite some time now. A long stack of ash settled in the column over the burning tip of his cigarette confirmed that. 

“Enjoying sunset Neil” I said as I approached him, announcing my arrival and seeking permission for my intrusion in his solitary moments. 

Abruptly, he turned and looked at me. Looked at me in a numb monotonous gaze, as if suddenly disturbed in his silent meditation. His silent tryst with nature. 

As I approached, I could see clearly, his eyes were filled with tears. Tears rolling down his cheeks. Rolling down for long. He has been crying. Crying here, in solitude with himself and nature. 

I felt the impropriety of my intrusion in his moments of solitude. I felt guilty. And I broke my eye-contact with him and started looking at the ground sheepishly. Recollecting my failing courage to look up. I mustered some to look in the direction, Neil was looking in, before my intrusion. I looked at the sunset. 

I was waiting impatiently for Neil to say something. Say anything, anything to relieve me of my misery, the misery of my guilt, my guilt of intruding upon his moment of solitude. Each passing second appeared longer. It appeared heavier for me to stand and pass it through, it appeared choking my heart, for I could not hear anything. Everything was silent. As if, the time has come to standstill. 

“Beautiful sunset. Isn’t it” Neil’s voice finally came through. A voice heavier and huskier than the one I heard of him last night, while we chatted after dinner last night in the tourist lodge. It was a choked voice. Voice choked by tears which left his throat dry. 

“It is,” I said looking back at him. He was taking hurried long and last puffs of the cigarette before throwing the stub on the ground and crushing it. I was surprised he had made no effort to hide his tears or wipe his cheeks. Rather his tears were still rolling from his eyes onto his cheeks.

We stood there for a long time. Neither looking at other, but in the distant horizon. Looking at sunset. We spoke nothing. We did nothing. But stood in silence, looking at the sunset for a long time, as if paying our solemn respect to the setting sun. Sun was slowly receding down, over a hill in the distance. The sky turned from orange to red before settling to turn black for the oncoming night. A slow breeze was rustling distant pine and deodar trees. An occasional tweet of a bird or faint hoot, grunt, or growl, coming from afar, of wildlife nestled in forests of surrounding hills, was the only sounds that broke the monotonous silence of, we two men, standing near a boat jetty, seeing the sun go down. We stood there for a long time. 

A long time in silence, as if waiting for others to make a leading move. A move or a remark to remind us that none of us was alone. We both stood there in silence. We both needed our presence acknowledged by others.

After a long silence, I decided to once again lead taking a cue, “It’s getting chilly here”, I said. “Yes”, Neil replied as he turned and started walking back towards the hilly trail, which will lead us back to the tourist lodge. I hurried to catch up and started walking by his side. I saw him pull a handkerchief from his pocket, wipe his tears and then pull out a cigarette and light it. I much wanted to know the reason for his tears but had no clue how to prop the question. I rehearsed quite a few openers in my mind, but they all seemed out of place to me. 

Seeing him calmly walk beside me, drawing long puffs on his cigarette and exhaling smoke in a certain leisurely careless manner, threw me off-guard. Suddenly the words that I thought were most inappropriate way to ask someone, came boiling down my throat and I blurted out, “Why were you crying?” Immediately, I was regretting the question and was awaiting 

Neil’s response. I was afraid to maintain any eye-contact with him and kept on looking towards the ground as I walked alongside him.

“They were tears of joy,” said Neil, much to my relief. For even the brief pause between my question and his answer was too much to make me feel guilty, yet again, of intruding into his private space. But all my fears of offending Neil, by intruding in his moments of solitude with self, were soon laid to rest. For somehow, my question triggered the impulse of Neil to say it all. Lay bare his heart, say all that what has been lying heavy on his heart for years.

“I have had no tears of joy for years…. And I have been yearning for these tears of joy for far too long” said Neil in a soft calm tone. I looked at Neil. Our eyes met and I smiled. I smiled to partly acknowledge his candid admission and partly to celebrate his moment of joy. The joy of whatever reasons. I dared not now to ask the reasons for I had already made the mistake of treading upon his personal space, not once but twice. 

“You know Vikas, I was born an orphan, or rather was found as an orphan. I was brought up by missionaries of ‘Church of Believers’. I studied hard and with the encouragement of one Father Andrews at the missionaries, I won many scholarships in my academic life. Doing good and getting a degree in IT was my first priority. Once I got my degree, I felt nothing of my achievement. I remember how badly I wanted to cry with joy when they handed me over my degree at the convocation, but not a single tear rolled down my eyes. Not a tear welled up in my eyes. My next goal was a master’s degree. And I achieved the same with my hard work, yet the joy of master’s degree somehow failed to reverberate in my heart.”

He paused briefly to light another cigarette and I attentively looked at him lighting it, as if to display, that he has my full attention. I am all ears to him. “Vikas, after my master’s” he continued, “I applied for jobs in many companies based in Silicon Valley USA. I got job offers from two or three good companies and finally, I settled for a job with ‘Google’. I did get busy with my first career assignment, but perhaps the stress of relocating to USA and anxiety of new job, prohibited joy, and its celebration to flutter my heart.”

A long wail, coming from somewhere deep in the forest, and its echo in surrounding hills, interrupted us. We stood still for a few moments, perhaps guessing the direction sound came from. “A wild boar somewhere”, said I, knowing fully well that many wild boars inhabit these forests and often get trapped in booby traps set by villagers, to prevent boars from damaging crops. 

We started walking again. Uphill on the hilly trail and Neil continued, “Then came my first promotion. First of many and soon I was heading my department. Financially and socially, I had made my mark in Silicon Valley, but there was no joy about it. Nothing to celebrate about. Though I had come a long way from the weak, helpless, abandoned orphan that I once was, but there was no inner joy. No inner happiness about it. Not even contentment.”

“Why” I was spontaneous to ask. “I don’t know”, was his pat but brief reply. After a momentary pause he continued, “I around that time though, maybe my being alone is the reason. I have none close to me. No near and dear one. No one to share my moments of achievement, moments of joy with, so that’s the reason I do not rejoice and celebrate my moments of joy and happiness” I uttered a “Hmm” to openly agree with him for I too sincerely believed that this might be the real reason. “So I started dating” continued Neil as if he never heard my ‘hmm’, my acceptance of his reason. “I dated a few girls and then I met Anaya. She at that time was working in a smaller but upcoming IT company in Silicon Valley. She is an IT Professional too. She is the only child of now divorced doctor couple. 

Her parents are from India and migrated to US in the early eighties, while Anaya spent most of her life in boarding schools in India. She upheld the values of a close-knit family for she was a victim of broken family. 

As for me, I had none to be termed as family. So after a few dates we got married.”

Neil and I had been climbing up the trail for quite some time now. So I interjected and said, “Let’s sit on that rock for some time”, pointing towards a huge rock beside the trail. “I often come here to sit on the rock and watch the night sky,” said I, explaining my familiarity with the rock. 

We made ourselves comfortable on the rock. Neil offered me a cigarette, which I declined saying, “I smoke no more”. To my answer, he showed no response and went ahead to light his cigarette. I watched him intently as he drew on his cigarette, inhaled and exhaled long. His long drawn exhalation was as if he is empting out his inner turmoil in the shape of tobacco smoke. 

“Anaya and I adapted to each other pretty soon” Neil continued with his story unabated. “She and me, we both were hungry for love, care, affection, and respect.” He abruptly paused and started looking in the distant horizon of the summer night sky. I was intently watching him and was trying to figure, what he could be thinking about. Is he thinking of her at this precise moment or something else occupies his mind.

His long slender face, looking straight ahead, in the distant horizon. His eyes had a strange intensity. His hair ruffling back in a slight breeze. And out of the corner of his eyes, while he turns his head a little, he glanced at me and asked, “Is the moon about to rise there?”

I followed the line of sight, he was gazing in earlier. I saw brightness behind the dark forests on hills on the south side. “Yes. I think the moon is about to rise” said I. “Let’s sit here and see it rise,” he said. The manner and the tone of his voice neither indicated a request nor implied a command, but was a matter of fact statement. We sat motionless, speechless for some time.

“Anaya gives me love and respect to the utmost. She cares for me. She brought romance in my life. Evening walks, late-night dinners, early morning work-outs, birthdays and festivals were no more routine affairs, they were celebrations. In initial years of our marriage, we both were celebrating our love, day in day out. Yet the inner joy, I carved for was amiss. I had love. I had care. I had Anaya. I had all but” He paused as abruptly as he started. He was reaching for his cigarette lighter in his pockets while I watched him half-bemused, half-intrigued. 

“In the third year of our marriage” Neil continued “Anaya got pregnant. All through her pregnancy, I was excited, happy, but more than that I was concerned about Anaya’s health. I was worried about her. Worried about her wellbeing, her diet, her health. Pregnancy and its implication, the birth of our baby, was no joy for me. It was a serious concern, concern laced with fear of any mishap, anything endangering mother or the child, fear of losing any of them, and more importantly, fear of losing Anaya to any mishap loomed high on my head. I do not know why and from where those fears creep in at that time, but they did and robbed me of my joy of being an expecting father.” He finished his sentence and looked at me broadly smiling. 

In the distant horizon, the moon has started rising slowly over the mountains. It was a full moon. The silver bright upper crescent of the moon was slowly rising from behind the mountains and was visible. 

A sweet smile played on Neil’s lips as he continued, “In the final days of Anaya’s pregnancy, just to be around her, I took leave from office. So not only Anaya was on maternity leave, I was on paternity leave too.” 

He softly chuckled. But soon returned to his monotonous monologue, 

“A day before the expected date, Anaya was moved to the hospital. After hours of labor pains, a beautiful baby girl was born. My Nyna was born. Nyna was wrapped in a pink blanket and was very white, with red nose and cheeks, It appeared the pink of her blanket came from here red cheeks and white skin. Aaaah… What a beautiful moon” he exclaimed.

Over the mountains, in the south sky, a full moon was visible now, brightly shining. The black forest-clad hills and mountains, the white light reflecting on otherwise dark waters of the lake, the illuminated south skies at night, was a spectacular sight and it took our breath away. We sat speechless on the rock and absorbed in the beauty of that full moon night. We sat in awe, without letting out a gasp, admiring, rather adoring the crowning glory of a full moon. Lost in the beauty of the night, I from the corner of my eyes, caught few more tears flowing down Neil’s cheeks. He was again having his tears of joy, this time not in solitude but in my solitary company. 

We sat there for some time and as if on cue both got up and started our climb on the hilly trail once again. “My first reaction to Nyna’s birth was an emotion of relief, not of joy or happiness. I was relieved that Nyna’s birth was normal, and both mother and child were healthy” Neil was saying as he slowly walked ahead of me, climbing the trail that will lead us to tourist lodge.

“Nyna’s arrival in our lives, mine and Anaya’s, made our lives fulfilled. Joyous and rigorous drill around the clock. We were always busy, busy at work, busy at home, and busy in times between work and home, to think about, to enquire about, and to plan about, Nyna. Nyna was now the new centerpiece of my and Anaya’s life. She was like that little center dot in a clock and I and Anaya were like to arms of the clock. Ticking and rotating around the center dot, by the center dot, round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In fact, we like two arms apart. Nyna was the only thing that connected me and Anaya in those years. We were always together.

Together with Anaya, We hardly had time to ourselves. Ourselves as individuals or as a couple. We were always three of us. Three of us as a family. A happy family having fun-filled days and blissful nights.” Saying this Neil stood in his tracks, stood perhaps to take a brief rest from the on and on the climb. 

“When Nyna was about two and a half, I took the plunge,” said Neil resuming his uphill climb once again. “I did quit Google and decided to go in for my own start-up. I and Anaya had been talking about it for too long. We decided, that I will go in first and Anaya will follow later, once the start-up is in place. We had decided on this social application to be launched simultaneously on the android and windows platforms. Anaya and I had worked out on the details much in advance. So launching myself in this startup business, after quitting a well-paid job came smooth. But the stress of making it a success and my quest for it, made me work longer hours.

Anaya was also stressed but was coping well. She had her job, her increased responsibility in taking care of Nyna, her built-in drive to encourage me and supervise the start-up, all these avenues to take care of, yet she was delivering her best in each of these departments. Retrospectively, I think Anaya was more worked out, more stressed than me, but she never ever did let me feel that. Anaya has always stood by me.” I could feel the pride in Neil’s voice as he said the last sentence.

“In the next few years, our company, Anaya’s and my company, started doing well. Our computer and smartphone-based applications were a success. Anaya joined the company full time. Nyna joined the school. 

We were doing well, both socially and financially. I was on board of many community organizations, charity organizations, and chamber of commerce. I had everything of which I never even dreamt of. But still, the eternal internal happiness was missing” Neil paused and stood for a while. 

Resuming the climb yet again, Neil continued, “Two years ago, I received an offer from a renowned MNC, an IT giant. They wanted to take over my business, my once small and humble start-up. The financial offer they made was lucrative and overall it seemed like a good deal. I and Anaya were all excited and happy about the deal coming through but were also cautious about the fine print. We hired good lawyers and financial consultants to evaluate every aspect of the offer and the deal. It took around six months for them to work-out the modalities of the deal. Around a year ago when I and Anaya signed the multi-million dollar deal, we were thrilled to amass that big a fortune from a start-up” he paused and turned back to look at me. I was wondering why he was not smiling. 

“These last few years lady luck smiled on me as never before. I invested much of the newly cashed fortune in the stock markets. Anaya and I analyzed and researched on various companies. We were looking for possible blue chips in IT sector. We narrowed down upon a few startups like once ours was, who can outperform and outshine in these days of economic recovery. We did our homework good and invested a substantial amount of our funds in the start-ups we had narrowed upon.” He paused yet again, for we had reached the lower grass lawns of the tourist lodge. A stairway lead from these lawns to the lodge. 

“Our effort paid off” Neil continued as we took the stairway. “One of the companies we had invested in, had two rival MNC’s making a competitive bid to wrest control. The start-up outshone and outperformed the markets, because of offers and counter-offers by the rival MNC’s in their bid for takeover. In this process, while one bidder eventually won, Anaya and I made our first billion. A billion dollars, a figure I could have never imagined a few years ago, leave alone actually thinking about earning it. When I was an orphan with missionaries of “Church of Believers” who would have thought, I will earn a billion dollars in this lifetime.” We had reached the porch of the tourist lodge. 

I was frantically looking for any signs of pride, of achievement, of sense of satisfaction, of the joy of celebration of success, but I found none.

“Care for a drink?” I asked. More in hope to be with Neil and hear him out, rather than he joining me for my regular round of evening drinks. “Sure won’t mind a few, especially today” replied Neil. I was not sure what he meant with ‘especially today’, but that was what I wanted to find out though I dared not to ask. I had a sense of ‘today’ being too special for Neil, but I had no idea about how and why ‘today’ is so special a day in Neil’s life. 

We walked in the small cozy bar in the lobby of the tourist lodge. Rajinder, the regular barmen was behind the bar and greeted us with his usual smile. Rajinder was expecting me to take my usual seat, the corner stool at the bar, but instead, I chose to point towards the sofa beside the window overlooking the lake. We ordered scotch with some snacks to go with it, once settled.

“You said yours were tears of joy, down there beside the lake. And before today you never experienced any inner happiness, inner joy with all the achievements and accomplishments you had in life, which I must admit were remarkable, a remarkable achievement of success.” I said once we were comfortably seated in that cozy corner of the bar. 

The bar was mostly empty, so we were at ease, sitting and talking. “Please tell me more about it,” I said almost pleadingly. 

“A few weeks after we made our first billion dollars, one night I told Anaya of my wish, my wish to travel alone back to India. Travel to India and try knowing the mystic. I wanted to know spiritualism. After months of self-introspection, I had arrived at this wishful thinking. I thought I needed a bit of spiritualism. I needed to connect with The Supreme, connect with God, to seek inner joy, inner happiness, and eternal peace. I tried explaining the same to Anaya. No way could I had tried connecting with God sitting in the US. I needed to disconnect with my immediate present to seek the guidance of learned. The learned who learnt not from books or scriptures, but the learned who learnt from the experience of their mind and soul, learnt from their travails, their penances, their connection with the Supreme, their realization of the omnipresent. So to seek omnipresent, I needed to detach from my present. To know, I needed to travel to the unknown. To lay the foundation of my future life, I had to travel to the land of ancient civilizations, which had the wisdom, had the knowledge”

“I explained all this to Anaya, and after a lot of deliberations, she agreed to let me go and seek for myself, what I thought was good for myself, but with a promise. She did let me go with a promise. A promise to return to her and Nanya, once I am through with what I seek, regardless, if I get or don’t get, what I seek. And six months ago this brought me back to India.” He paused, while I ordered another round of drinks. I watched with amused affection as he was popping a peanut in his mouth one at a time from the handful he had in his hands. 

“My first stop here in India was the town where I did spend my childhood in the orphanage. ‘The Church of Believers’ and the missionaries there. Father Andrews had passed away years ago. So after laying wreaths on his grave, I left the town. For I had no religion since birth, I visited Buddhist Monasteries, Hindu Temples, Islamic Mosques, Churches of all orders, Sikh Gurudwaras, Jain Temples with the same devotion and respect. I was seeking the same omnipresent in his different avatars, the devotees prefer to worship. I was kind of seeking ‘the omnipresent’ in all ways possible. I travelled, length and breadth, in India. I travelled in India, to the east, to northeast, to south, to west, to the north, right up to foothills of Himalayas, to wherever I could, to wherever my destiny took me.”

Neil paused as Rajinder approached with refills, and kept quiet to let Rajinder serve us afresh. After the barman left, he resumed, “The more I sought to seek the Supreme, to bring myself nearer to spiritualism, more distant I was getting, more confused, more lost I was. Unsure about self and my tryst with spiritualism, I came to this hill state of Himachal Pradesh nestled in foothills of Himalayas. Close to a resort here was a village of traditional weavers. I visited the village, for a local guy told me that shawls woven on handlooms in this village are world-famous for its weave and design. I wanted to buy a shawl for Anaya before I returned home, so I travelled to this remote village.”

“In the village, I met a young lad named Sonu. Sonu is from a family of weavers. Everyone in his family takes time out to weave magnificent shawls. Each woven after hours of hard work and expert craftsmanship. Sonu has a family of six. Old and infirm, mother and father. Three sisters, one elder and two younger than Sonu. Sonu is a matriculate and has the ambition to study higher, but poverty and family’s sole dependence on ancestral weaving artisanship are the roadblocks in his higher education. Both his parents have ill-health and need good care in this old age. When Sonu showed me the work of their artisanship and introduced me to his family, I grew fond of Sonu. I want to help Sonu”

Neil lighted a cigarette and continued, “I can help Sonu with money. Enable him to marry off his elder sister, take care of infirm old parents, pursue his higher studies, and possibly could relocate his entire family, but I have apprehensions. The apprehension that will Sonu and his family accept my financial help, and even if they do, will it do them any good? I could well have made Sonu and his family live on charity forever by seemingly this noble deed of mine. All I wanted to do was enable him. Enable him to marry his sisters. Enable him to take good care of his old infirm parents. Enable him to do and bring up his family. Providing financial help will not enable him but teach him to live on charity, financial charity of others. Subsidies are given by governments, the world over, does not eradicate poverty but precipitate will live on charity.”

“Hmm, Yes you are right. I agree” I muttered, feeling genuine respect for Neil. “I talked to Sonu for long hours, next few days. I arrived at a decision to help him out” Neil continued. “I arrived at the decision to help him here and now, but not by money, but by enabling him. I 

developed a website for him. I with my camera took pictures of his shawls and uploaded them on his website. I took him to the town market and got his bank account opened. I took him to the courier agency and made him understand how consignments are booked. I took him to a cyber café and helped him understand the internet. I worked with him and got payment gateways enabled on the website I developed for him. 

I took him to the market and bought him a computer on easy installments. Though I paid the down payment he will have to take care of monthly installments.”

“This done” Neil continued “I got him enrolled in a local computer coaching center. All this enabling, I am doing, so that Sonu can market his shawls, his work of exemplary craftsmanship, his work of exotic artisanship, worldwide. He can reach the worldwide market sitting right here in his remote village, his modest home. He can realize the best price for his product without even leaving his home and that too without middlemen.”

“A few days ago, he got his first order, and today, in the afternoon he dispatched his first shipment of five shawls. The joy, seeing him draw his money from the bank, the sight of seeing someone enabled, brought me inner peace and inner happiness”

“In the evening, while I was at the lake, a strange revelation and realization came to me. All religions have humanity as the prime pillar. To seek God, I have to serve humanity, and to serve humanity, I do not have to do charity, but I have to enable humanity. 

This act of enabling someone, to enable the one who requires help, enables him to live a dignified life, is an act in the service of God. Connecting with Sonu, connect me with God in a strange and unique way.”

“Had I done financial charity here, as I had done umpteen number of times before, in the USA, I would not have connected to know what change my charity brought about. Most of my charities in the USA are financial donations to institutions and NGO’s doing all kinds of community work. These financial charities do provide means, but the absence of focus on enabling the needy, defeats the purpose of charity. Most charities end up feeding and clothing the needy, only a few work towards enabling the downtrodden. Let us enable them to fend for themselves”

Neil paused, threw back his head, and closed his eyes. I watched him in solemn silence. He appeared calm and at peace with himself. Suddenly opening his eyes, he resumed, “I was brought up in an orphanage. Every other day we received visitors from the community

there. They all had one pretext or other to visit us. The visitors who will shower us with gifts of kindness and charity. People who will hug us, kids, kiss us. Give us candies and toys, and then left us. Nothing changed for us. Nothing changed between their visits. We were the same as we were before their visit and we were the same after their visit. 

They may walk into their homes believing that they have done an act of kindness, a charity, a good for us orphans, but little did they realize that their act of kindness has done no good to us, and perhaps left us a little worse after their visit. For now, we were looking forward to more such act of kindness, more candies, more toys, and we wanted their goodies coming to us without putting an effort. Though these goodies will do nothing to change our lot”

“I was struggling to achieve my dreams of studying, studying higher and enable myself. Acts of providing for us were ample, act to feed us, clothe us, but acts to enable us were scarce, acts of letting us have education, letting us get skilled, letting us pursue our dreams, acts that could enable us were simply rare to find. All through my life, from my childhood to adulthood, I expectantly used to wait for someone to come up and fund my education. Someone who be kind enough to enable me to live my life, my future life, my entire life without charity. I wanted to be able to live without charity. I through meagre funds for education orphanage had and my hard-earned scholarships, was able to realize my dream.

There were few like me, who too wanted to be able and stop living on charity, but many others had developed a liking for living on charity. They just wanted to be fed and clothed without any effort in return. Their dreams were nipped in the bud for their ambitions were never born. I found some to be true in many orphanages around the world in almost all communities. I saw the same state of affairs in places other than orphanages. Few people want to be able to live life without charity as I wanted, but the majority is content to be fed and clothed, without any effort in return, for we by our act of kindness have disabled them forever.”

“Today after seeing Sonu earn his money himself with a little help to enable him, I was reflecting about, thinking about, what difference enabling a person can do to his family, his community, his nation. These people wanting to be able to are not in one orphanage, one community, one nation, but are spread all over the world. They are not waiting for an act of kindness or charity, but acts that can enable them.”

“Down by the lake, I thought, what better way to connect with god than to enable fellow humans. For churches, temples, mosques helped me little to connect with god, but the smile on Sonu’s face, the blush of his elder sister as Sonu spoke of her marriage, the sparkle in his younger siblings eyes, the silent teary acknowledgement in his parents eyes did make me feel, God is connecting with me. God is seeking me, through this family. And this feeling of god connecting with 

me brought me those tears of joy, the tears which rinsed and cleansed, all my inner doubts. Doubts washed, I am left with inner peace and happiness. These were my first ever tears of joy, the tears, I have been yearning all through my life”

Neil slipped in calm quiet mode for some time. After some time he asked if we should call it a day and retire to our rooms. I nodded in affirmative and waved to Rajinder, the barman, for the bill. Neil insisted on paying the bill, for which I resisted not. For he was celebrating, celebrating his connection with God, or was it god connecting with him. 

As we rose to leave, Neil abruptly said, “Soon I will be returning to US and from this hill town here, I carry the blue-print of my next mission. To reach out to people like Sonu in all corners of the world and enable them, enable them to realize their dreams. This, being the ‘enabler’ is going to be my next venture, and I am already too excited about it,”

In the lobby, we said the pleasantries and calling it night retired to our rooms. When I reached my room, with events of evening fresh in my mind, I suddenly realized, I had tears in my eyes. I laid on my bed that night, thinking of those tears in my eyes, tears of joy, passed on to me, by this man, Neil, I just met.

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