It was a cold winter evening, twilight was ushering in the splendor youth of the night. The last train slowly approached the station. As the train halted on the station, so did some of the anxiety that was rumbling in Ajay’s heart, for the past 14 months he had worked like a dog, work seemed to be a form of escapism, through which he got rid of his worries in life that had haunted him in the past. But now after 14 months of slogging at the office, he finally got a well-deserved promotion and decided to go on a vacation, to explore a new place before the bigger responsibilities of office invaded his peace of mind again. As the train stopped at the station, Ajay jumped out of the train, he wore his stylish leather jacket and with a spring in his step, walked on the train station in his prime, he felt like he was the king of the world.
As he was walking with his swagger on the railway station, he saw an old fakir sitting in a dark corner. The fakir sitting in the dark was a brown lanky old fellow wearing a ragged pant, he was so thin that one could count his ribs by merely looking at his upper body. The fakir was in a degraded state, deprived of food and proper clothing, yet for some reason he had a contended smile on his face. He was poor, but he had a certain charisma that intrigued Ajay.
Seeing the old man’s plight Ajay’s heart filled with a sense of disgust. Ajay saw that the fakir was a victim of starvation so out of pity for him Ajay arrogantly threw his uneaten sandwiched towards the fakir and moved on. As he was walking past the fakir, the fakir in a deep yet gentle tone said “Thank you sir for you act of kindness but human is an emotional creature, feed him with food and his stomach shall be content, but if you feed a man with your love, then his soul shall be imbued with a feeling of gratitude towards you and in his heart an ever flowing river of respect shall flow for you. He shall remember the bliss of your kindness with every breath he takes.”
Upon hearing this Ajay’s pride was hurt, his young blood boiled in anger and he replied in an aggressive way “Old man, I took pity on your helpless state and gave you my sandwich, in return I get this judgmental lecture from you? No wonder you are in such a poor state no matter how much we give to people like you, you guys still beg for more.”
Hearing the harsh words of the angry young man the old man said “I am not at all disgraced by my poverty, my poverty is my biggest treasure to be honest.”
Ajay was perplexed hearing this and he mocked the fakir “How can you regard poverty as your biggest asset? Your ability to think in the right way has obliviously been affected by your age.”
The old man smiled again “Poverty has evolved me into a better human being, it has taught me that like seasons, people and circumstances too change. Poverty has taught me the ability to take setbacks in my stride and evolve as a stronger individual. My poverty has made me master the art of receiving, be it a sandwich or judgmental comments I receive them both with utmost humility and pure emotion of gratitude towards the giver. I am a free man, I have no house, I roam as a wanderer and I consider this world as my playground. Now I ask you sir, has your rich lifestyle enabled you to master the art of giving? Can your rich lifestyle ever enable you to embrace life in the way I do?”
Ajay’s pride had been shattered by the questions that the fakir, asked for the first time his rich life style seemed so shallow to him. His ego bowed down to a poor man’s humble question. He realized that he was wrong in belittling the poor man. He held his head down in shame and he apologized for his harsh behavior.
The fakir continued in a humble tone “In life materialistic thing don’t matter, you are blessed with the ability to give the needy. Make sure to wipe the tears of despair from the eyes of the helpless people around you, leave them with a smile and not tears, for tears are like diamonds. Tears aren’t mere salty water from the eyes but instead they are powerful emotions oozing out directly from the soul. While giving, give a fragment of your soul to the needy this way you will not only touch his life but his soul as well. Life isn’t measured by the number of breathes you take it is also measured by the number of souls you touch in your lifetime. While giving, give like a rose that spreads it’s fragrance without any expectations of joy or pain in return. Don’t be biased while giving for the sun doesn’t differentiate while giving us it’s light, it’s integral existence depends on shining and blessing us all with the treasure of it’s light in the same way. Don’t let your soul be intoxicated with pride like the tides while giving, for tides are bound to come crashing down, instead give with a smile as big as river Nile exhibiting unconditional love and the kindness of your heart.”
As Ajay pondered & understood the very essence of the art of giving, the old man stood up gently smiled and humbly thanked Ajay for the sandwich. The fakir then went towards the dark porch of the railway station to sleep. As Ajay saw the old man going away towards the porch, his introspection forced him to reflect that he had given the fakir a sandwich and in return the fakir gave him words of wisdom; he degraded and mocked the fakir’s plight while the fakir gave him the true meaning of life; he felt like the king of the world on getting the promotion while a fakir owned something far more precious, the treasure of poverty. Ajay had a rich lifestyle yet was cursed with stress from various aspects of his life, while the fakir being blessed with poverty relished a stress free life. Ajay had come on a vacation to explore a new place after getting a bigger status in office, but he ultimately ended up exploring in life how shallow his thinking and life condition really was.