It was April 2018 in Salem and I was addressing a packed marriage hall filled with students/parents for a career counselling session. The hall was filled to the brim and people started sitting on the floor and standing from the podium, I saw a man who must be in his mid-40’s wearing a Lungi and a shirt. He grabbed my attention because of his attention level and would nod his head to every single statement that I would make. Sitting next to him was a young boy who had accompanied him and was busy taking notes. After the session got over, I was surrounded by anxious parents and was bombarded with questions for the next 30 minutes. Throughout this time, this man along with a young boy was standing at a distance and was obviously waiting for others to leave. I was about to leave and just when I started, this man walks up to me and said “Sir, I want to speak to you for 2 minutes”. Even before I could respond, the volunteer who was escorting me outside told him assertively “ Sorry sir, not possible. We are already delayed”. I said its ok because I saw him standing for almost 30 minutes waiting for others to leave and deep in my mind, I had decided that he is going to come and ask me for some help. I walked up and said “Sir, sorry but you have to be really quick. I need to rush”. He smiled and said “Not more than 2 minutes sir” and continued “Sir, I am a mason and earn about 750Rs a day if I get work. I am married and have two school going children. This boy is my sister’s son and he lost his father couple of years back and my sister is also very sick. He had just finished his 12th standard…” and even before he could complete the next statement…my EGO stepped in and cut him short. “Sir, don’t worry. Once he gets his 12th mark sheet, please contact me or my Foundation office and I will ensure he gets the admission of his choice if he is shortlisted”.
He was quick to respond and said “Sir..Sir…sorry. I was not here to ask any kind of help for my nephew. He is my responsibility and I will somehow manage to educate him. I was very moved by some of the stories that you had mentioned from your foundation. I wanted to speak to you to check if I can be of any help. I cannot contribute a lot financially but for sure can send Rs 1000 every month. The amount is very small but that’s a little over my one day salary and I will ensure it reaches you promptly every month”. You should have seen my face… I just didn’t know how to respond…there was a bit of embarrassment, shame and a variety of emotions ran through my head and something deep inside told me “You judged him way too quickly”. At the same time, I was overwhelmed by what he said and thanked him for the gesture. I tried my best to convince him that he could help us in many other ways apart from a financial contribution knowing his condition but he wouldn’t agree and started transferring Rs 1000 since then month after month. Its been two years and he promptly transfers Rs1000 every month.
Today when I got an SMS that Rs 1000 has been credited, I called him and said “These are extraordinary times and I am sure you will have financial needs at this point in time. It’s perfectly fine for you to stop the monthly contribution and we can continue once this Corona situation improves” and back came the reply “Sir…My mother has always taught me to honor the commitment given. Don’t worry sir…The God almighty will take care”. I was simply moved by what he said…on one end the Govt is requesting people not to cut salary for our domestic help or drivers etc and we still have some who are questioning the logic as to why I should pay when someone is not working. On the other end, we have Angels like this man who is willing to go to any extent to honor a commitment. They say Gods come in the form of humans and some of them are lucky to have a God’s name and most importantly they behave like one. This person’s name is Murugan and he is by far the richest man I have ever met… #Richestman #MaatramFoundation
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