One evening I made the time to visit this old gentleman, fondly called – Juzik .
He was taken by surprise and seemed delighted to see me again. He invited me to join him for a cup of tea…and here I saw him up close – a little hair just about covered his scalp at the sides….he was hunched and with each movement I could hear a creak of his old bones.
His face ..all worn and wrinkled had the map of his life, yet he still had that sparkle in his eyes to match his friendly smile. He chatted about his favourite topic – his illness .
His fingers and toes were gnarled in painful twists….hardened bones with soft skin and worn out muscles holding them in a wrap…He informed me that his finger tips burned as they ached .I thought for a while…..this man has had these aches and pains for company and no…they were not his friends!
Before I knew it… I found myself comforting him with a few reassuring words. He was over 90 years of age and what do I tell him? That they were beyond repair?. He was an unpretentious and a polite gentleman..generous and soft spoken. As I spoke… I could see him sit up…his aging ears trying to detect my words… his twinkling eyes that were framed by thick eyebrows ..were reading my lips too!
‘Warm water fomentation with a teaspoon of Epson salt’ was all I suggested. (I wasn’t the type to suggest roots or herbs!) He nodded.
He started to read his newspaper hunched over his seat by the dining table. We chatted about his life. He had worked in Mombasa, Kenya for Barclays Bank…and soon he took me into his world ..I noticed his shuffling gait.
Balancing himself on his walking stick…he moved into the inner room and sat on his favourite chair which was even older than himself.
Here he told me more about the simple life he chose to live (inspite of being wealthy). He opened a drawer by his bedside ……and there I saw it all — HIS FAITH!! Pictures of Our Lady..The Divine Mercy of Jesus..his rosary and a few saints! He told me that he liked to have his prayer room in his drawer! He prayed he said deeply from his heart if he had an intention to pray for…waking up hourly at night to ease the burden in his heart to the DIVINE MERCY of Jesus! I was astonished!
As I left… he moved back to his favourite spot by the window.. leaning with his back to the wall ..sitting comfortably with his legs up like a true goan soaking in the full view of his garden … reading his newspaper while enjoying a bit of the cool evening sea breeze.
I learnt that day that men do pray -SILENTLY! May God help this man of deep faith and ease his pain so he can enjoy the twilight of his LIFE!
P.C: Shameen Dabolkar