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A Recollect

A Recollect

Sentinel Digital Desk

Wasim Yasin

"Namaskar. My name is Raju," said a one-legged man, with walking sticks in his hand, in a humble voice.

Akash with a sympathetic voice asked him, "Do you need any sort of help?"

"Yes," said Raju.

Akash quickly took out his wallet from his pocket and he could find a Rs 100 note and a Re 2 coin. Akash decided to hand over the Re 2 coin to Raju. On seeing the amount of money, Raju vehemently denied to accept it and with a gentle pause he immediately protruded his right hand and asked Akash for a handshake.

Akash's eyes rolled across Raju's hand and on having a close look at Raju's entire body, he was left with the conclusion that the person standing in front of him is suffering from leprosy.

Immediately Akash's mind flew across to a prose that he read in his early school days. He recollected a prose which was about Joseph de Veuster, popularly known as Father Damien, a Belgian priest who devoted his life to missionary work among the Hawaiian lepers.

Akash could recollect each and every minute details of the content of the prose. He remembered how Father Damien at a very tender age of only 24, reached Honolulu in the year 1864. How Father Damien was moved by the miserable condition of the lepers, whom the Hawaiian government had deported to Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai and how Father Damien volunteered to take charge of the settlement. Father Damien, known for his compassion, provided spiritual, physical, and emotional comfort to those suffering from the incurable disease. Father Damien served as both pastor and physician to the colony and undertook many projects to better the conditions there. In December 1884, after 11 years of working in the colony, while preparing to bathe, Damien inadvertently put his foot into scalding water, causing his skin to blister. He felt nothing and realized he had contracted leprosy. But he was not deterred by the eventualities instead continued with his work despite the infection but finally succumbed to the disease in the year 1889. This prose on Father Damien made a deep impression in Akash's mind at a very tender age.

Akash mind within a whisker of a second came back to the present situation and without giving a second thought he decided to go ahead with the invitation and raised his hand giving Raju a firm handshake.

Raju's body shivered the moment his handshake was heartily welcomed by Akash. The very action of Akash made Raju standstill and without speaking a single word Raju slowly moved away from the place and disappeared from Aaksh's vicinity.

While returning home, Akash gave a thought to the whole incident and felt happy that if a nobleman like Father Damien can devote his major part of his life for the leprosy patients, then what is the harm in offering a handshake to a person who is a sufferer and realized that people like Raju are not annoyed with anyone but they try to revolt against the wishes of the Unseen.

A thought quickly went through his mind. It was about a piece of advice from his father when Akash was a child. Akash father said to him once, "You don't have to read numerous books in your entire lifetime instead read-worthy books, whose teachings can be imbibed and they should reflect in your behaviour."

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