Sambasivam turned 63 on Monday. More than his birthday, 17th of March reminded him of his grandson Ajay’s birthday, which falls just a week later on 24th. Ajay turns 10 this year and Sambasivam wished to gift him something, that he would treasure. He thought for a while and decided to get him a bicycle, which was evading him for the past one year. But unfortunately, Sambasivam had just 500 rupees with him. Just to meet his expenses, he was managing accounts in a private company after retirement, that gave him a monthly salary of 5000 rupees. But, whatever money he had last month, was given to his close friend, towards his daughter’s marriage.
Right from the age of 21, Sambasivam stood on his own legs. He came to Madras looking for a job and once he got one, there was no looking back. He never relied on anyone for monetary help. He was able to make both ends meet, just with his income. He got his daughter married to a good guy and his son was working in an IT MNC. His dignity made it impossible for him, to ask his son for the money. He said to himself, “I would do that only on my death”. But how to get his grandson a bicycle?
A similar situation occurred to him, during his daughter’s marriage. He was running short of some money, after spending all the money he got through PF and Gratuity. A timely savings by his wife in the past, enabled him to get over the hurdle, without hurting his dignity. But, she was no more and Sambasivam did not wish to look at anyone for money.
Thinking a lot about this, he was taking a stroll along the beach. The breeze was soothing and it reminded him a lot of his wife, Pushpa. They used to spend quality time when she was alive, chatting and walking on the beach side. He missed her a lot and there was none to share his emotions. Next to his wife, the love of his life, was his daughter Veena. But, she had settled down in Germany and came to India approximately every 2 years. He talked to her once in a week over the phone, but he could enquire nothing more than her well being, his son-in-law and grand-daughter.
‘Sundal’ vendor on the beach, reminded him again of Pushpa. She used to love it a lot and every time they come to beach, he would make sure to carry some coins to buy her the ‘Sundal’. He went to the vendor and got ‘Sundal’ for two rupees.
Someone touched his shoulder. On turning, he was greatly surprised to find his friend, Rajan. Both of them were very close friends from childhood. He last met him some 15 years back, when Rajan was in a bad financial state, unable to medically treat her wife. He made a timely help by giving him 5000 rupees, that he used towards his wife’s hospital expenses. He later moved to Hyderabad on a promotion and did not keep in touch.
It was a pleasant surprise for Sambasivam. They both were chatting about many of their friends and did not realize that 3 hours had passed by. Just before leaving, Rajan gave him 5000 rupees and said, “I could not forget your help for my lifetime. It really saved my wife. Now I am in a good state and thanks to you for everything. Don’t refuse this, please”.
There was a kid passing by Sambasivam, who was telling his friend, “You know, my grandfather got this bicycle for me!!”.