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The stranger in Pain

Posted by Priyanka Nag on 8:25 AM
I have just returned from Malaysia today. After a 3 months stay in Singapore, I could finally make it to Malaysia, Kuala Lampur. Just a small 3 days trip with my friends.
On the second day of our trip, we had decided to visit the Genting Highlands. Early morning we started off for the adventurous trip, only three of us- Sree Lakshmi(my room mate in Singapore), Nishita(my co-scholar from SCMS-UG) and me. We boarded our bus to Genting. Sree and Nishi sat together and I sat alone, taking a window seat. After a while, an elderly uncle, Indian looking, of about the age of 60+, occupied the vacant seat next to mine. 
He initiated the conversation by asking me which country I am from. After I answered that I was from India, he said he was from Sri Lanka. My thinking of him being an Indian was proven wrong. He was a very friendly man. After the initial ice breaking, we started speaking about ourselves and our lives. He told that he had finished conquering the entire globe with just some 4 countries left to visit. I was amazed. The very idea of touring the entire world amazed me.
He then started explaining me the reason why he tours so much. And then he began his story...... He was a happily married man with 2 children, a son and a daughter; the entire small family living together until the problems in Sri Lanka made him and his wife come to the decision of moving out of the country for better job opportunities for themselves, and better facilities for their children. 
The moving out was easy, but when things got settled back in Sri Lanka, and he wanted to come back, that wasn't easy. He couldn't convince his family to come back with him to Sri Lanka. Today his son is in Netherlands, his daughter is in Switzerland and wife again in some other part of the globe. His son is married and having a child, his daughter is married and settled and his wife is happily teaching in some University (apologies for not remembering the name). Today his world consists of himself and the house maid. He has his mansion in Sri Lanka and a perfect maid to take care but no family to be with. His food is ready at the prefect time in the dinning table, but he has no one to share the food with. The family meet once in a year, and thats all he has of family life. His loneliness drives him to get out of that big, empty mansion and tour around the world. He tours all around the globe, all alone. While telling me all these, he actually broke into tears.
I realised that touring was not fun for him, it was simply a way to get out of his loneliness. This made me think deeply about what we are heading to in life. Running behind money, comfort, we are actually forgetting those people who had sacrificed all these for our upbringing. If this is what we give our parents, do you think we will get anything better in our old-age???
Every tear drop in his eyes actually spoke of his craving to be with his children, to get the family together again. Friends, staying away from our loved ones may bring us loads of money, but will never bring us happiness. Just a few minutes talk with me, and a few smiles of comfort from me clearly showed the happiness and satisfaction in his eyes to have been able to share himself. I couldn't stop my tears that time and I can't stop my thoughts till now. 


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