– By Savitha S (Formals Team)
I walked gaily along with my friend, Rita. School was a place of merriment for me where my friends and I would spend the day mocking everyone during class hours. The major attraction for us in our school was the canteen where one had an array of foods, ranging from ‘samosas’ to ‘puris’, to satisfy one’s appetite. The canteen was run by a man and his crippled son whose legs had been amputated following a major accident. His physical infirmity was the center of mockery in our school, and my friends and I took immense pleasure in ridiculing him. One of my juniors said, ” Stop making fun of him. He is also a human. Only his poverty is an insurmountable hurdle for him, without which he would have been a child prodigy today. Have you seen him play the mouth organ? He is so deft at it.” “Ohh! Here is a brooding philosopher”, said one of my friends and we burst into uncontrollable laughter.
So life, a bed of roses, went on, and we continued harassing the young boy at the canteen. I fancy that I saw tear trickle down his cheek, but it only made me ridicule him further.
One day, as Fate could have it, my life took a devastating turn: I was prancing about, in a state of oblivion, on the wide streets when suddenly, a speeding car knock me over. Before I could realize what had happened, I was out cold and only woke up to find myself in the hospital, with my hospital bed laden with “get well soon” cards from well-wishers. No part of my body had been spared from those ghastly white bandages. But, the worst was yet to come: The doctor told me that one of my legs had to be amputated and that I would be on crutches for the better part of my life.
Tears streamed down my eyes like a flowing river. I wept for days at end and wouldn’t eat or sleep. The moment I closed my eyes, I could picture myself as a cripple, with people around me mocking my infirmity. This continued for many days and then, suddenly, one day, I had an unexpected visitor. I watched as the familiar cripple walked into my hospital ward, with a “get well soon” card and a bouquet in his hand, while balancing himself on his crutches. Seeing him, I burst into another bout of tears and begged him to forgive me for having made fun of him all these years. He gave me an innocent, reassuring smile and for the first time, in 2 weeks, I slept like a log.