My friend of 25 years, Uday, was detected with cancer four years ago. Around the same time his wife lost her eyesight owing to a serious medical issue. Their son, unable to handle the situation, left the house, leaving the whole responsibility on their daughter who did her best to support her parents. I knew Uday as a dynamic personality from a suburban middle class family who had single-handedly established his own enterprise.
A missed call from him during Diwali made me call him, three years since we last talked. He told me how he had undergone all the treatments doctors had prescribed him, and despite having been given merely six months to live, he has prevailed for four years and hopes to continue doing so. In spite of all his struggles, his voice sounded more confident than the last time I spoke to him, when he was completely dejected.
He told me how his daughter was looking after them, but what he told me thereafter moved me a lot. He was approached by a trust run by Muslims to bear all the costs of his medical treatment. Moreover, a Muslim friend of his, whom he had not met since the last 18 years, was sending him some money every month. I was astonished to know that there are people who go beyond the boundaries of religion to help fellow human beings. Strange are the ways in which the Universe helps the needy. Even though so many people are trying to divide and rule us in the name of religion, how wonderful to know that certain human beings rise above all these influences and give love and support without discrimination.
By Nirmal Minawala, Mumbai
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