Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nambiar's compassion

Nambiar has been working on this beat as post man for several years. It was not certainly a posh area dotted as it was with many slums and lower middle class houses of government housing board. The area of his beat was also not too large and extensive to cover in his old bicycle. There were no heavy parcels for him to carry as these people hardly got any gifts. What they received were mostly money orders from kith and kin and post cards filled all over the card mostly in illegible writings. It was given to his lot to read and explain the content. Though a Keralite, he was born and brought up in Tamilnad and could easily read and write Tamil. He knew most of the people by name and always had a kind word or two to exchange. They were guileless people and regarded him with respect despite his tattered khaki uniform and much worn shoes.Of late his vision was giving him some trouble and he had been putting off a visit to the hospital..On summer days when the sun was hot they offered him cool water from mud pot or even buttermilk. Nambiar never regarded his duty as an imposition but as a social work enjoying meeting the people and listening to them and their woes.

Nambiar was nearing retirement age..His only son had gone to some Middle East country on a small job and there was practically no contact thereafter. His eldest daughter fell in love with a boy from Kerala who had no steady job and married him despite Nambiar’s reservations about the chap. He had learnt that they were leading a happy life though passing through difficult times without steady income. She came once after marriage but had not visited him for almost five years. He had two more daughters studying

Nambiar felt his pocket to see whether the hundred rupees note he had was safely there. .He was to take his wife to the doctor but put it off to first week when he would have received his salary. He was to take some medicines urgently. She has been ailing for nearly four years and he had spent most of his savings on her treatment. He found it difficult to make both ends meet and was always short of money.

As he was entering a narrow alley to deliver a money order, he saw Bhagyam lying on a bench outside her hut. An old woman past 70 looked emaciated shrunken eyes, pale colour she gave the appearance of one whose end was not far away.

“Nambiar”, she hailed as he was moving away. “Is there any money order for me from my son?” she asked .This was the daily refrain and Nambiar would stand patiently by her side and tell her consolingly that it should come anytime if her son had remitted. He would even mentally curse that wretch for leaving his old mom to fend for herself. In his memory she had not received any remittance after the first year or two. The tragic part is that old woman’s daughter had left to her mom’s care a young daughter of ten years when she died of cancer. Her husband had deserted her long back.

This day he could not wrench himself away from her as he saw tears flowing from her eyes and she started sobbing. He sat by her side and said softly “Bhagyam, do not cry. Is this a new development for you to feel sorry now? What is bothering you so much?”

“Nambiar,I would have preferred hell to this life and taken poison but for this wretched girl budened on me by my daughter. She has not eaten a morsel of food for the last two days. I don’t mind my starving but I cannot be a witness to this young thing silently suffering. Please see inside the hut. She is lying folded with hands on her stomach. “she cried loudly.

Nambiar could not suppress his eyes from becoming moist. Without a thought, he took the only hundred rupee note from his pocket and gave it to her telling “Get something to eat immediately. Manage a few days with this money. I know one person in my beat who is running a poor and destitute home. I will ask him to take you both. He will ensure your granddaughter comes up in life. Don’t worry. Come on, get up and get some idlies for the girl and yourself.”

As he got up, he thought of his suffering wife and muttered to himself that he had to choose first the more needy and that he would find some way to get his wife medicines. She can wait for a day with no great harm but Bhagyam and her granddaughter cannot.

“One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion”. Simone de Beauvoir


  1. Touching story..
    But how many people are there like NAMBIAR... hard to find people who think of others tooo ..

    Wish we had more of these human beings for the wrold to become a better place to live in..

    My dad would always say when we moaned about something or he cud not get us .. that live in what you have cause there are a lot of people who are worse off then you..

    Be thankful to god for what we have ..

    HAts off to Nambiar..


  2. wonderful story!
    Very difficult to find Nambiars in our world.
    Empathy seems to have disappeared amongst us. Blessed are those who think of the have nots and do their bit.

  3. Wonderful touching story with a moral for everyone to follow

  4. Very well written n heart touching one..Still in this corrupted world people like Nambiar r thr!!!

  5. Story touches my heart.

    The world is made up of both kinds of people. there are people like Nambiyar that u mention in your story and there are others, who dump their old parents in old age homes.

  6. We usually say about choosing between lesser evil
    But here the scenario is different, the post man was in real dilemma yet he doesn’t seem to have had huge confusion…

    By the way, glad to see Simone De’s name here… ;)

    I was xpecting that nambiar would get a money order or something out of the blues and his misery will be over..but this is much better.. This is perfect ending I would say…

  7. Very touching story !!!!

    Have a nice week-end
    enjoy ....

  8. i remember something which i was muttering myself today. Suits here too.. "nallutraar karaindaenga, eNNaara thuyar vilaikkum eethenna ulagiyarkkai"..

  9. Dear Partha,
    Good Evening!
    So kind and considerate....Mr.Nambiar is such a wonderful human being...
    In Thrissur,we have a post woman.I used to talk to her......very smart and efficient!
    Blessed are they who have a heart that cares for others!
    Very good story,Partha!
    Wishing you a lovely night,

  10. Wish we ever learn from such stories...Only if we could ignite one "Nambiar" inside us...can we expect to see more Nambiars around us...In this busy life, how many of us really stop to talk to somebody in need...uhmm...

    Indeed such kind hearted people are what keeps the thought afresh that "Yes, still there is HOPE..."