Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sad Story of an Elderly Man (Part 1)

Three months ago, I was going for my usual evening walk. As I walking on the main road, I saw a taxi slow down when it passed me and then it pulled over in the small side road in front of me. A middle-aged Pakistani man got out of the car and waited for me to come near him. As I walked by he said "Hello" and I said "Hello" back.

The taxi driver said, "Sorry, I stopped my car when I saw you walking." I was slightly confused why the taxi driver had stopped when he saw me! I thought perhaps he needs help in finding a road or something. He said, "I have been waiting to find a Sardar and today I was lucky." He explained further, "I have a customer who is a volunteer at a nursing home in a nearby village. She was telling me that they have an elderly Sikh man with no family living in the nursing home and that no one knows how to tie his turban. She asked me for help. Although I am a Muslim, I believe that we belong to religion of love for fellow humanity. I saw you and was happy to find a Sikh who could help this lady who works at the nursing home." Waheguru. The taxi driver gave me the lady's phone number and I said I would be happy to ring her and see how I can help.

I got in touch with the volunteer worker and she was happy to find someone who could tie a dastaar for this elderly man. I was baffled who this elderly man in a village nursing home could be considering that are not many Sikhs in the local area, and everyone knows everyone else in the community. She told me the name of the man and I realised it was an elderly man who lived by his own and who had separated from his family for a long long time ago.

We arranged to go to the nursing home and meet the elderly Baba jee. I took a spare Keski (short under-turban), Dastaar (turban) and a Kangha (wooden comb) with me. The volunteer worker was very nice. She was a retired lady and decided to dedicate her spare time to caring for the elderly and sick as part of sevaa. She said that her mother was a devout Christian and used to do sevaa of visiting the sick and elderly in hospital and try and help them out with odd jobs and listen to their problems. Similarly, she has the urge to help others. Waheguru.

ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਗਲ ਪੁੰਨ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥
Aṯẖsaṯẖ ṯeerath sagal punn jeea ḏe-i-aa parvaan.
Being kind to all beings is more meritorious than bathing at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage and the giving of charity.
(Ang 136)

The nursing home was in a nice village in the countryside. We parked up and went inside. On arrival the nursing home staff were happy that Mr. Singh had visitors. Apparently he has been in the nursing home for one and a half years and he never had any visitors since his arrival at the nursing home. Because the elderly Baba jee kept himself to himself and only now and again visited the Gurdwara, no one realised he had gone to a nursing home. Some people assumed he had passed away.

ਛਿਨੁ ਛਿਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਛੀਜੈ ਜਰਾ ਜਨਾਵੈ ॥
Cẖẖin cẖẖin ṯan cẖẖeejai jaraa janaavai.
Moment by moment, the body is wearing away, and old age is asserting itself.

ਤਬ ਤੇਰੀ ਓਕ ਕੋਈ ਪਾਨੀਓ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
Ŧab ṯeree ouk koee paaneeo na paavai. ||2||
And then, when you are old (and unable to move), no one shall pour water into your cup. ||2||
(Ang 656)

I haven't really chatted to him before. I have only seen him sitting in the Sangat a few times. When I met Baba jee he looked really happy to have visitors and had a big smile on his face.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Wah wah this is amazing, I hope the ending isn't too sad. Continue it soon Bhai Sahib!!!!