The rising sun in human form
It was around February -March 1980 when I was going through a very bad
Patch in life. My husband was unhappy with his work place and started drinking so much so that it seemed he was going the 'alcoholic' way. He became so thin that my heart came to my mouth whenever I looked at him.
One day he vomited blood and the doctor said “either quit alcohol or ....you know what"
I was at my wits end , there being no one that I could turn to. I was an orphan from my childhood and my grandpa reared me up , gave love , affection and educated me. I was very good at studies and finished my Masters in Philosophy and was preparing for my Doctors ( PhD) when Grandpa fell ill and decided to marry me off.
My dream for a PhD in Philosophy was washed away with my tears as my in - laws were against it. My grandpa died a few years after my marriage.
None-the-less my married life was a happy one with a loving husband and lovely cute daughter.
My husband developed the drinking habit later and due to excessive drinking, his health, career and friends started dwindling. My in laws started blaming me though I saw no reason for it. We were running short of money and every month ours dues at the local grocery shop increased to my utter embarrassment.
At last I started to look for a job but none came in my way as I was already thirty and I had neither qualified to be a school teacher nor a college as both posts needed specific degrees after finishing Masters, so I learned typing and got a typists job and felt like committing suicide.
In the meantime our daughter was blooming into a beautiful flower and we Managed to put in a well know English medium school.
I , myself was an avid reader, both English and Bangla literature ; but to my dismay my daughter never showed any interest for reading Bangla books so I had been presenting her with a children's Bangla monthly magazine 'Kishore Bharati' for years together.
One day I found she had not even touched the pages of any of the magazines and they were dumped at one corner of her room.
My husband had become an alcoholic, I was drudging as a typist, my in-laws were angry with me for no fault of mine, we were constantly in debt, so much so that friends started avoiding us. My grandpa was no more there to console me.
It was my daughter's birth day. I told her pick up all the copies of the Bangla magazines, put them in a bag; every year you get gifts on this day , today you will gift these to children who have nothing , no parents, no proper food, no proper dress and no proper place to live.
I heard of Mother Teresa and her Home for destitute children but was not sure about its location but vaguely remember somebody saying it was near the Kalighat area near the crematorium.
After some- search we located a non-descriptive room on the side of footpath on the door of which there was a plate with inscription "Nirmal Hriday" (sacred heart)
We stepped in and inside it was cool and dark. A man was sitting on a chair and he greeted us with a smile.
We told him about our mission and he said home for children was in Hazra Road and pointed to us old and sickly skeleton like bodies lying on the floor , there were about twelve men like that. On one side of the room there were concrete bath tubs. He explained mother picked them up from various parts of the street of Calcutta(it was not Kolkata then) all most on the verge of death, hungry and with all kind of illness left by the society to die on the street.
Mother had made arrangement for them to sleep on rugs on clean concert floors, they were bathed and fed by the helps who were once picked up and saved by Mother. They were offered food, medicine, a place to sleep and loving care of Mother. The home runs with money received as doles for the cause.
The doorman said I was picked up by mother once when I was lying and dying with tuberculosis on the streets. Mother took me and cured me , fed me and touched me with compassion and I started feeling like a human being once again. I have pledged my life to Mother and her cause.
As per his advise we left the books to be taken to the children home by the Sisters who visit Nirmal Hriday twice every day.
We came back with a feeling of witnessing God's handiwork and were overwhelmed with gratitude for being alive, healthy with a roof on our head and food in our mouth.
I realized how lucky we were and also how selfish. I do not know how but soon after the visit my husband decided to quit drinking and I took him to my doctor uncle who helped him in his effort. Now he is a teetotaller, my daughter an engineer and I retired from the same organization as an Assistant Secretary;all because on the darkest hour of my life I had witnessed a rising sun in a human form.