Thursday, February 28, 2013

My mother is a Rag Picker


“Rafael, there is one thing I would like to ask. What happens if I hurt my parents?” All nodded.

“That’s a good thought, Monica. It really would have an impact on you, for sure. Why not a story?” All nodded.

"Once there was a  rag picker. She had only one child, a son. Her husband had passed away and there was no trade she knew. So she joined with a reliable family of rag pickers and they were glad to take her into their fold. They made a small separate tattered tent on the foot path in a very big city. She woke up very early before the town’s people woke up and went to scavenge in the garbage.”

“Its like early bird catches the prey, isn’t it Rafael?”

“Right Mathew. But she left her child in the tent and collected some two to three bags full before morning and returned by skylight. Then she took her bath and prepared the food for her son and woke him up.”

“But Rafael, I thought these rag pickers were not clean.”

“Don’t under estimate their cleanliness children, remember man should not be assessed by their profession. They have their identity. As you said Mathew, we feel, they are not clean, but in truth we are the people who are not clean, it is our waste these rag pickers pick, don’t you think?” All nodded.

“OK back to the story, the lady didn’t want to involve her child in rag picking. So she enrolled him into a very good school, where the clientele were the rich.”

“But Rafael, how could she afford it?”

“After rag picking, she went for house work in several houses and she earned a good amount.”

“How did the boy feel when he went to school, wasn’t he ashamed?” All nodded.

“Well the boy too came to know that his mother woke up very early and went to pick the streets clean. So one day, he secretly followed her with a sack and returned before his mother arrived and placed a sack full of knick knacks   inside their tent and took bath and started preparing to go to school. The mother was surprised to find her son awake. She was very frightened to show herself in her bedraggled state. She immediately without entering her tent hid all her wares and spoke to her son, “I’ll just come now son, let me wash myself before preparing food for you.” The son did not reply, getting no response, the mother got worried and came in to look  the reason of silence and she saw her son in full uniform, smiling at her. He got up and embraced his mother and spoke to her, “Amma, thank you for educating me, but I would like to show my thank you. So would you allow me to accompany  you in the morning and help you in earning some money?”

“Just imagine the shock the mother might have had? An embrace of the elite and the dirt?”

“Yes, the mother was shell shocked and tears rolled from her eyes. She couldn’t believe her son openly acknowledging her and that too when she was at her worst.” Rebecca wiped her eyes.

“She extricated her son from her and placed him away from her stinking body and looked into his eyes which was full of love. She spoke with tears free flowing, “Son, I want you to have a very good life and for that, education is very important. I do this because I am not educated. Do not mess yourself with this dirt.”


“But the son was not to be deterred. He held his mother’s hand tightly and said, “Amma, I am not ashamed of you or your profession. I am proud of you and I would learn hard and we’ll move out of this shack and for that I would like to do something. So please do not say no and turned his mother and showed his sack. His mother’s eyes widened. “Did you pick this today?” the son nodded and replied, “I really am serious and I am your son.” Wiping her dirt stained face with her tattered saree, she spoke, “Let me have my bath and then we talk later?” The boy nodded.

“Years passed, on the day of his convocation,  he informed his mother and invited her to come, to school and gave her the entry pass. But she informed his son, she wouldn't be able to make it.”

“Did she go, Rafael?”

“Yes, she did. Since she didn’t have anything expensive on her, the elite parents mistook her for a menial instead of a parent.”

“Oh!! How sad.”

“She didn’t mind.  She had her eyes only for her son, but she didn’t want to make known her presence to him and he be humiliated because of her. So she hid herself in the back row.  The programme started and there were speeches, several of them,  which was in English, not to her understanding and there was a great applause and her son’s name was called, she found her son running to the stage, he was given a medal and a certificate and he took the microphone extended to him and spoke something in English, then he found his mother in the last row. He turned to the principal and asked, "Can I bring my mother on stage?”
“Sure son, who is your mother?”

“My mother is a rag picker and she is sitting in the back row.” A hush fell over the audience and all eyes turned to the back row, searching for the lone rag picker.”

 So he started speaking in Hindi, “My mother knows only Hindi, So I would like to speak in Hindi and saying so, he started speaking in Hindi, “If I am here, it is because of my mother, who earned her living by rag picking and doing menial works and I would like to show my gratitude, appreciation and above all my love by acknowledging her to the whole world and especially to my friends.”

“Oh God, imagine how his mother might have felt?”

“Hmmm. She hid  herself a little more, but her son came down the stage towards her and helped her to her feet and led her to the stage. All the audience stood up with a grand applause.”

“Oh Rafael, I can’t control my tears.” All nodded

“Yes it was a touching moment for all present there.  The son guided her to the stage and gave her his microphone and told, “Amma, please say something to my friends.” A hush fell.

“She looked pleadingly at her son, but her son put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed her, you are my role model and I want you to know, your could  guide my friends too.” She nodded and cleared her throat and started slowly.

“Children, love and respect your parents. They want to see you happy. They are working only for you, acknowledge it to them by being good children and work hard to fulfill their dreams. Never forget to thank God for giving parents. They might not come up to your expectations but be known, because you have them, you are not on the streets or else you would be another rag picker fighting with the stray dogs and the bad world to make a space there on the streets. The streets are no good even for the tough minded. So be thankful to them with your lives. You owe them.” Turning to her son, she looked at him and said, “I might have done something good in my previous life, for God to gift me with such a gem of a son. He starts his day with me, rag picking, whether rain or bone biting cold, he was persistent in being with me and I thank for all the love he gave me,  and she joined her hands in front of her son and closed her eyes as  tears streaked down her cheek. He took out his spotless white  handkerchief and wiped her tears and took the microphone from her and embraced her tightly and whispered, “You’re always welcome amma. Don’t cry.”

“Then what happened Rafael?”

“Well, the boy  enrolled himself in a very good college with a scholarship and there too he was the best student and before long, he became a great scientist.”

“What about his mother?”

“She stopped rag picking the very next day of her son’s convocation and learned tailoring and put up a shop. She found she had a flair in designing and it grew to become a great boutique. They became rich, but still they were the same people, simple within, loved and respected each other.”

“ But Rafael, didn’t any parent extend their support to help the boy and his mother on the day of the convocation?”

“Oh there were many, but, they  declined any offer."

"Oh what a role model aren't they?"All nodded.

 "Yes Ajay, they were, but after the mother’s speech, the attitude of the other children too changed completely, they respected their parents, loved them and obeyed them and the parents too made sure that they acknowledge the preciousness of their kids.”

“Oh, its so beautiful. Thank you very much Rafael, for opening our eyes, in showing our parents in a new light.”

 “That’s good. But there is a science behind respecting your parents, loving your parents.”

“What is it Rafael?”

“You all know, that you are the drop of God soul, right?” All nodded.

“This soul was passed to you through your parents and when you hurt your parents, that negativity of what you created to the parent soul passes on to you and what you give them would be repaid to you in the very same coin and much more stronger. You might have loads of reason to find fault with your parent, but be known, the supreme creator, our God knows, what is good for you to have given such parents, accept them wholeheartedly, love them and give all the help you could, then in your life, you would be accepted as you are, loved by all, and get all the help you need,  because this physical world is not easy to live if we are alone. So be sure, the blessing of our parents are our guiding light, they don’t have to be educated or highly employed or rich to guide us, the love is the only factor, that makes them special and that is more than sufficient to sustain us for this life and the lives ahead. They just are parents who held our small hands in taking the first steps to life.”  All nodded with tear streaked face.

“Why don’t we continue this tomorrow?” All nodded. be contd....(57)....

Until then... Take care.....Bye


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