Life is a conscious contact with our environments. The more conscious we are about our surroundings, the more alive we are. Indeed, life is full of contacts and meetings. We have the open book of nature before us. It is full of beauties for seeing eyes and the understanding mind. Man is crown of the creation. Nature is beautiful because of the man.
We come in contact with different kinds of persons, low and high. We rub our shoulders with the strangers in the streets and busy places. They come into life for a brief-while and then swing apart. We go our way; they go their way. But some meetings are such that we can never forget them. They become a part of our memories. Such was my meeting with a strange gentleman. We were together for a shot while.
It was noon. After lunch I went to a Pan (Bettle) Shop alongwith two friends. The old chap, the shop owner diverted the customers with humorous tales and remarks. Suddenly I saw the stranger standing by me. He stood silently and constantly smiled at us. The gentleman was clad in clean white shatwar kamees. He had sparkling eyes and a shaggy black beard. The man was well built and appeared educated. He kept mum. his sunny face and smiles made us realize: life is a comedy for one who thinks; a tragedy for one who feels’. He was self-contented and irradiated the joy about him.
The gentleman could not be a beggar, nor a tramp. He spoke fluent English. We offered him pan and cigarettes. He shook a big head. I invited him to come with us to the office canteen. He silently followed us. He was reserved and reticent I asked him to sit on the bench and he complied. I ordered lunch for him. He laughed away and declined our hospitality. I asked him some personal questions but he kept on smiling. He opened his mouth for a while and asked for water. The waiter put the jug and glass on the table. I had observed something wrapped in a piece of white cloth, in his hand. I little doubted that they could be the crumbs of dry bread (roti).
He unwrapped the bundle, dropped the dry pieces into the glass of water and soaked them. Then he began eating them and gulp down with draughts of water. His face brightened up. He looked up again and again as if he was thanking God. He was full of contentment. He folded the remaining crumbs into the cloth. He excused from the lunch. I ordered the waiter to take it away. The gentleman shook hands with me without speaking a word, gave a big smile and walked away silently.
I was greatly impressed with the silent and saintly personality of the stranger-an embodiment of perfect joy and contentment.