She was walking under the scorching heat of the sun. There was nothing left for her children to eat. The orphanage could not provide food to so many children. There was one shop nearby. She went and implored the shopkeeper to give her something for the hapless children. She held out her hand, pinning her hopes on him. She needed to give food to her children or else they would die of starvation. The inexorable shopkeeper simply spat on her hand denying her any food. She quietly wiped her hand on the edge of her sari and held out her other hand. She spoke in an even, low voice,” I am grateful to you for what you have given me. I now request you not to spit on the other hand and give something for the children.” The shopkeeper was astonished by her modesty. He was speechless. He asked for her pardon. This incident was an eye opener for him. He now started contributing a lot for the welfare of the children. This lady, dressed in a white sari with a blue border was none other than The Saint of The Gutters - Mother Teresa.
This nun fought against all odds and opened a hospital in Kolkata named Nirmal Hriday which means home of the dying. Do you know about the incident that inspired Mother Teresa to establish this hospital? Well, let me tell you about it.
It was raining cats and dogs. The road was flooded. Mother Teresa was walking when she felt something near her leg. It was an old woman suffering from leprosy. She was still breathing. During those times in India leprosy was thought to be contagious. So once any family member caught the disease he / she was kicked out of the house and was left to their fate. Mother Teresa picked up the lady in her arms and started running towards a nearby hospital. Once she reached she heard one of the staff members shout at her. He told her that the woman would not be treated there. She pleaded but he turned a deaf ear to her. She picked up the woman and started running to another hospital. Unfortunately, the woman died on the way. Mother felt very sorry for the woman. This is the time that Mother Teresa felt the need had arisen for a hospital to help the dying patients. She established the hospital Nirmal Hriday but there were a few people who thought Mother Teresa was trying to change the religion of these patients. There were many protests. Stones were thrown at the ambulances carrying the patients. Little did the rebels know that the nun was actually tending to the sick and injured. The rebels went to a police officer and asked him to go to the hospital and check what she was actually doing. When the police officer entered the hospital, he saw that the sick were actually happy and lived as one. He saw Mother Teresa tending to the patients one by one. She went to a man who had injured his knee very badly. She first cleaned his wound and applied medicine on it. She spoke to the man kindly and consoled him. She told him that he would soon be relieved of the pain. The police officer was aghast. He was wondering how she could bare this. On her face he saw a look of patience and contentment in what she was doing. He thought her to be an angel. He went out and told the rebels what he had witnessed. However, the rebels did not believe him.
Next day Mother Teresa saw a crowd around a man who was lying on the ground. He wore a holy thread across his shoulders which indicated that he was a Brahmin. He looked as if he was suffering from cholera. Nobody dared to go near him. Mother Teresa went ahead and picked him up and took him to her hospital where she worked tirelessly day and night to bring him back in the pink of health. He left the hospital once he was fine. Everyone was shocked to see that he was fine again. After this incident the protests stopped and nobody spoke about Mother Teresa behind her back. She spent her entire life looking after the poor and downtrodden. Even years after she departed to heaven we remember her and are grateful to her for her help to the needy.
I read all this and more about Mother Teresa from a book and that shook me inside out. It also changed my outlook towards the poor and needy. I am truly inspired by her thoughts and actions. Reading about her has given me a lot of inspiration to do everything I can to help the poor and I also encourage everyone to do the same. Every year I celebrate my birthday by visiting an orphanage. I carry some food and some utility items for all the children there. During my last school vacations I taught math to poor children. After each academic year I give my school books along with other story books to my house-helpers who distribute them among the poor children in their neighborhood. In this way I try to help the poor. I have learnt one thing – collective small actions can make a big difference to their lives.