Richness of hearts

One can experience a miracle, see a miracle — but I have heard a miracle: the sound of musical notes of a flute which transported me to a world of deep calm and peace. For more than a week or so, I would wake up to the mellifluous music floating in smoothly and caressing my senses in a beatific way.

I was curious to know its source. After my brunch one day, I took a walk in the direction I presumed the music was coming from. There he was, sitting under the shade of a tree with the flute in his hand. I quickly reached him in joyful excitement to tell him that his music was divine; I wanted him to see my grateful smiles and the sparkle in my eyes. Just then, sensing my presence, he looked up and asked in Telugu, “Evaru” (Who?). Only then did I realise that he was blind. My heart lurched.

A man in his early sixties, wearing a dhoti and a shirt, he was sitting cross-legged against the tree. I went closer and spoke to him in Telugu. He smiled warmly and our conversation picked up. I gathered that his wife and son were labourers in the nearby construction site, and that he too had been a construction worker right from his young age. However, he had lost his vision due to some medical reason and had been asked by his son not to work anymore.

“Though I can still manage many things on my own, my son is lovingly adamant,” he said. “In fact, I wanted to go back to my village and live on my own. But no, these people want to tag me along wherever they go.” I could hear that tinge of pride only a feeling of security yields.

As we were talking, a young girl came running with an aluminium plate in her hand. Smiling at me, she handed the plate to him saying, “Thaata, idigo thinu (Grandfather, here is your food, eat it),” and went back running to get him water.

Sensing his hesitation to eat, I touched him on his shoulder and told him to have his food. Relishing it heartily, he told me how, as a child, he had been attracted to the flute and how he had taught himself and continued to practiced every day to date. “How many times I misplaced my flute, how many times a few mischievous children stole my flute I cannot tell, but each time my son bought me a new one with a warning that he wouldn’t buy it again if I lost it — as though I don’t know him!” he laughed out aloud.

I took leave of him saying that I had truly enjoy his practice sessions and that he must continue nurturing his god-given gift. I wished him and his loving family well. I returned home with an inexplicable feeling of warmth and elation.

No matter how thin you slice anything, there are always two sides — this world is such I thought as I heard the next day that a rich businessman had been physically abused and thrown out of the home by his son and daughter-in-law over a property dispute.

As the soothing flute notes fell on my ears, I said aloud as a benediction, “You are one lucky father. The richness in your life is in the form of your loving son!”

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