She was too old, may be in her 90s or so. Upper half of her body was naturally bent and stopped, rendering it inoperative in its normal back and forth movement. It appeared as if some invisible weights have been placed permanently upon them. Wrinkles on her face resembled some crushed paper left unattended for long. From last few weeks I have been regularly seeing her pass the road adjoining my house. She used to go somewhere every morning and returned back in about an hour and half. A long stick lodged in her weak hand was preventing her body from falling under the influence of its own weight.
I was new in town and have been seeing her bypass since the second day of my stay. Gradually I got curious to this daily ritual of her. One fine day my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to follow her.
It was 6:30 in the morning when I saw her appear on the adjoining road. I wore my shoes and with the day’s newspaper still in my hand I started following her. She appeared intending to walk as fast as possible but her weak legs were incompetent in aiding her beyond the turtle speed. It took her almost half an hour to walk a distance of mere 300 meters. Walking such small distance was nothing for me but it must have been hell lot tiring for a person of her age.
She took halt at a bench outside of a small park. Even being in the neighborhood I have never been to this place in my last few weeks of stay in the locality. It was kind of a dreggy place cluttered with trash barrels implanted randomly all over the place. I guessed it to be the place where the garbage from proximity is being dumped.
The old lady sat comfortably on the bench lodging her belongings beside her. To my surprise, few street dogs came running towards her and started circling the bench.
She took out some packets of food from her pack and started throwing it towards the dogs. Soon all the dogs got busy with the served meal. The lady then covered her hand with gloves and started cleaning their bodies with help of a dog comb, one at a time. Dogs were enjoying her company. They never left her alone in her total half an hour of stay.
“Good morning Mam” I called for her when she was heading back.
Unable to turn her neck she about-faced to manage a sight of my face.
“You are talking to me Son?” She inquired in her exceedingly weak voice.
“Yes mam, If you don’t mind I have a question for you” I requested
“Why not, go ahead” she responded in bewilderment.
“I live in the neighborhood and have seen you walking back and forth every morning. This got me curious and I followed you today.” I paused to analyze her reaction.
“No problem son. Just tell me what you want to know” She comforted me with a motherly tone of voice.
“I just saw you feeding and cleaning those street dogs. I just wanted to know why?”
She gazed at the newspaper which I was holding in my hand and replied.
“You read newspaper Kid”
“Yes I do”
“Then you must be reading news of some rich people donating in to orphanage or old age homes or something like that, quite often? She asked.
“Not very often but yes I do get to see such news sometimes.” I replied
“I am doing the same thing Son” The old lady started walking again after finishing her statement.
“I don’t understand. Those millionaires make heavy donation that can make lots of difference. Sorry to say but I don’t see your contribution of much use and all the pain you take in walking this long is unnecessary.” I questioned her again.
“Only if those dogs could speak, they would have told you what difference I make in their respective worlds. It is not the money but the intention that is important.” She replied
“What is there for you in this?” I was still confused.
“I feel Satisfied. When I go for sleep in the night it feels good that today I made a difference in lives of few creatures with my little contribution. I brought happiness in their lives.
Try it for yourself sometime son, these little contribution generates a wonderful feeling inside you. A feeling that can heal even the greatest wounds of your heart and mind that are difficult to cure otherwise. Try spreading happiness within your abilities and it will eventually return to you multiplied”
The old lady kept moving and soon vanished in the clump of buildings. I stood there alone thinking “What little contribution do I make in spreading happiness in the world?”
“Some pursue happiness – others create it.”