Dignity of life

‘When you take up a task - there is always a possibility that your confidence levels may shrink and self-doubt may surface. All you have to do is - don't lose confidence on your abilities and try to recall your strengths and just say ‘I can do it.’’ 

This is much easier said than done. But how one  83-year old lady  recalled her strengths and proved that she could do it, is truly commendable.  Her story is exemplary in the way she refused to start begging for a living and in the way she is fighting life’s adversities with dignity and poise.

This old lady lives in a place called Pali in West Bengal. Every evening she travels from Pali to Kolkata to sell papads and other fried items. The pedestrians, out of respect for her age and empathising with her, buy those fries from her. After lung cancer took away her only son from her five years ago, she took up this work to make ends meet.

When asked if she has a problem in travelling, she weakly smile and says “No, the bus gets me here and my health is not that bad.” Her response proves that when life turned hostile and demanding, she turned from a frail and dependant woman to a self-sustaining and tough woman. She trusted her own self to provide for her family.


She earns around  400 rupees per day but still it is a meager sum for her family of four. Circumstances could have easily forced her to beg but her dignity and respect is everything for her - she would work till the end of her life rather than beg on the streets.

She has perseverance, the will to sweat out, the maturity to face and accept life’s frustrations and aches without complaining and collapsing. Even when life proved to be an intolerable burden, she did not choose the escape route. Her hunger may seldom be satiated, but seeing her family eat, she is sustaining herself.


Maturity is the ability to make a decision and be able to stand by it. After taking a decision to contribute and help her family, she never regressed, but continued on and on. Is age on her side? No, at 80 plus, most of her faculties would protest at the mere thought of work.

Yet, there she is, everyday, selling her ware, sitting on the pavement of one of the most crowded cities.  When many youngsters spend their lives in futility and in unnecessary exploration of endless possibilities and not fully do even one, this old lady is braving through her life’s crisis, by choosing to solve her problems on her own. Solemn respects to this grand old lady!


Reading about her in the newspapers and other media, many people requested for her address to help her monetarily, because when there is kindness in people’s hearts, there will be a garden with kind thoughts as roots, kind words as flowers and kind deeds as fruits. By helping the needy, one can fill one's heart’s garden with warm sunshine and nurturing rain.  May the love of God flow down to her through people who are there to give it with open hearts…

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