THAT’S LIFE

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Shubhan Jain | Empowering Goa

“I was waiting for my train at Satara station when something caught my
attention. I saw a man whose leg is amputated. I started observing
him. He received a phone call where he was speaking of his concern for
not being able to withdraw any money from ATMs since they were just
dispensing Rs 2000 note as he had only Rs 1800 in his account. Though
he tried multiple times to withdraw money, he failed due to the above
predicament.

I then started a conversation with him. I asked him where he was travelling. He replied, ‘wherever the train takes me’. I, fortunately,had the time to converse with him for an hour as my train arrived late.

He is Mr Hari Anthony Rao, born in 1947, hailing from Indore city (the
same city from where I come from). Once a lieutenant commander of the
Indian Navy and later discharged. Together with his beautiful wife
named Katherine, he had a son and a daughter. His son was serving the
Indian Navy while his daughter was in the airline industry.

Hari Anthony Rao, can speak English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, German,
Spanish and understand Gujarati, Marathi, and Uttarakhand dialects. In
the year 2000, the family planned to come together to celebrate
Christmas. On 22 Dec 2000, His wife, daughter and son met with a car
accident and all the three members passed away at the scene. Hari was
completely devasted  after the incident. He went into a depression where
he regularly visited the church for their help and support to keep his
mind and soul from falling apart.

In 2011, Hari was diagnosed with bone cancer due to which his right
leg had to be amputated. The treatment cost him Rs 45 lakhs for which
he had to sell his house. Now, he stays in a small room all by himself
with only a pension to sustain his life. When he was at the peak where
he had everything in life, his relatives were very forthcoming.However, their  attitude changed as he started facing the rough patches of life where they showed no empathy towards him. This
made him stay and live far from them.

That night at the station, he was starving but did not have money to
feed himself. Being a student, I was feeling very helpless since I was
not able to financially support him. However, I bought Vada pav (Food
item) to feed him.

I took his phone number and address so that I can meet him whenever I
get the chance.

During the whole conversation, I called him sir to which he said no.
His humble mind did not long for any special treatment. I asked if he
felt sad. He then replied, ‘God has granted me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change and also the courage to change the things I
can’. He has spent his whole life serving people, and that is how he
has managed to forget his problems. He taught me how we could live
happy despite having troubles in life.

He taught me that nothing is permanent in life as everything changes with time.

‘If you cannot change your fate, then change your attitude.’”

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