The story goes back to a couple of years when I was flying from Mumbai to my hometown. My favorite, while travelling, is the part where you have to wait between the check-in and boarding. This time shows you a whole variety of people. They come from different places and different mind sets. Some show ambition going to achieve big in life, some show commitment going to learn and explore the ways of the world, some have affection in their eyes going to meet their folks after long. Some seem nervous for their first flight while some seem confident as they are frequent flyers. Some people scold their children for misbehaving while some load their already obese children with more edibles. Some people are seen clicking pictures with friends and family while some sit there alone enjoying the chaos and observing everybody.
I was sitting there on a couch waiting for my flight status to be changed to “BOARDING NOW” from “SECURITY CHECK”. Amidst all this commotion, my eyes fell upon an aged fellow who was wheelchair bound. It looked like he was waiting for someone (maybe an assistant or a family person for that matter). He was well clad, in his late 70's probably, had a flabby face and gave a vibe of a retired official from defense services.
I made this assumption by observing the brown cabbies cap on his head, mustard check suit with patches on the elbow, a raging mustache and the silk scarf under his collared shirt. Although, he looked weak but his body gave a faint idea of a good build in the past. Time must have taken its toll on this man and thus making him weak and dependent. That being said, he was in no condition to get up by himself or even to speak much.
While I was gazing at this old man, entered a young man with his bloated stomach, expensive clothes and loud voice. He looked like a man that has aged a little early. He must be in his early 40s, but looked like more. He called that old man “PAPAJI” and gave him a glass of water which he must have requested for. I could have believed the man to be his relative,I did not expect him to be his son for his physique. Apparently, this family, too, was travelling on the same airbus as mine.
The status of the flight changed to “BOARDING NOW” and in no time were we in the bus that was taking us to the airbus we were going to travel with. We all de-boarded the bus. As we were waiting there for the ground staff to begin boarding, my eyes unknowingly searched for that family again. They were standing not very far from where I was. The young man was carrying a couple of bags, out of which one was moderately heavy and the other one looked bulky too. It was around 3:00 p.m. and it felt like there is nothing between us and the sun. Climate of Mumbai was adding to the heat and moisture. To my surprise, I saw the old man extending his hand, to a limit he could, towards his son offering him help to carry one of the bags. I could see his hand trembling in the air, weak as a twig of an old tree. What surprised me the most was the smile that he was wearing on his face. He tried to persuade his son, but his son shook his head in order to convince his father that he was fine. Even after several assurances by his son, he appeared worried and tensed to me. A couple of minutes later, the boarding started and the ground staff assisted the old man to the plane and out of my sight.
I was awestruck by the gesture that the old man made. I know that parents do all they can in order to protect and nourish their children but that day I realized two things. First, parents do not care about their own miseries as long as it is comforting their children. Second, love and care of a father is underrated. A mother’s love is widely acknowledged, which, by any means, shouldn’t mean that a father’s love is any less than that of a mother’s. A father always remains a provider and stands between menaces and his little ones but often fails to express his affection upfront. As soon as I saw this simple yet moving event, I closed my watery eyes and instantly could recall so many incidents from my past where I could relate with the same. The sacrifices and efforts that our parents put in us are beyond measure. No matter what we do, we’ll never be able to repay them. It is not just about what they have already done for us, but also about what they are willing to do even when they are old and fragile. This man could hardly move, yet offered help to his son, who was evidently exhausted. This event moved me to an extent that I couldn’t forget it till date. I still get goose-bumps when I think of it.
I realized that this true love has always been around me yet I never acknowledged it. Sometimes, I still wonder why did I look for that family after de-boarding the bus that day, maybe universe had it in its plan. But I’m glad I did. I would like to extend my regards to all the parents who have given their best to nurture their children and to those people as well who take care of their parents and walk with them in their sickness and health.