My friend’s Birthday…

Tom Thomas

April 7, 2011 was a day of celebration for me. It was the birthday of one of my best friends and roommate Mr. Tom – whohas been my friend by the last thirteen years. We were class mates in graduation. After B.Sc. Maths, he took two post graduate degrees – one in English Literature and the other in Library Science- plus a post graduate diploma in journalism. He had been working in Thiruvananthapuram (the capital city of Kerala) as an e-journalist by the last 5 years. Few months before, he joined in a French MNC and got his appointment to Kochi – the city I have been working by years. So, then onwards he became my room mate too.

At the beginning of April 7th (Midnight) I surprised him with a Small Gift and as the reply he surprised me in the evening by inviting me for dinner at a multi cuisine Chinese restaurant -the same place, I had welcomed him to Kochi on his first day in the City.  The specialties of that restaurant are the salient atmosphere, tasty food in a reasonable rate. Another noticeable thing is the large quantity of food they supply.

We ordered 2 soups, fried rice and curry. Half quantity of the fried rice was more than enough for an average man. After a soup it was too much. Tom was not able to finish the half portion of the rice. So he took 2/5th of the whole and asked me to finish it up. I was also in the same condition. But, I had no option but took the remaining 3/5th portion. Seeing my half-hearted and unwanted eating, he asked me to stop, if I really don’t wanted that much. But I finished the whole, since I had decided much before to never ever waste food.

In my child hood, when ever I wasted my food, my parents advised me not to waste the food. They often told me “You don’t know the value of the food. Because, you are the well kept kid in a middle class family and you never felt the real hunger. There are a lot of kids who don’t get even a single meal a day… ”

While riding back to our residence in the Kochi city, I remembered the day; I have taken my decision to waste no food.

*****

The Hotel in the Salem Bus Station …

It was the summer time- mid of of April, 2005. I was coming to my home from Bangalore for celebrating the Vishu with my family. Since it was the festival time in Kerala, no train tickets were available. Luxury bus tickets were also sold out. I just had 3 days leave, so I hurried to interstate bus station of Bangalore central and get a Tamilnadu Road Transport Corporation’s bus to Salem. I hoped to get a connection bus from Salem to my native place in Kerala. I reached Salem by 9 pm. From the office of the bus station, I came to know the connection bus would come at 9:30 pm only. So I went for the supper to a hotel near the bus station. After having my food, I went to washroom to clean up. When I looked through the window of the wash room – which is opening to the back yard of the hotel – I saw some street dogs fighting for the waste food from the hotel. At first glance, I found nothing special in it, as it is a normal view from the  waste dumping area of any hotel.

Suddenly I shocked by seeing a dark-skeleton-like kid of 3 or 4 years old, crawling to the food wastes and pushing away the faces of the dogs and trying to get some food. I have never before seen or imagined such a thing. I was traumatized for a moment. I wanted to do something for that kid. At least I wanted to took him out from the messy business and give enough food. But, at that moment I did not know what to do – I could not miss the bus. If so, I would miss the Vishu with my family. Same time, I heard the announcement of the arrival of my bus. After paying the hotel bill, I ran to the bus to get a seat-with a heavy heart.

I could not sleep that night. Sitting in the bus, whole night I was thinking about the dark – lean boy at the SalemBus Station. He was fighting to the street dogs for a little bit of food, at the age of three or four. It was a thing, I had imagined never before .

I looked around; all the passengers in the bus were sleeping. I felt some difficulty to breath as a heavy stone had placed over my chest. I could not control my eyes filling with tears, thinking of the unknown dark and lean kid. For all the starving people on the earth – and decided I won’t waste food ever again. Still I can’t define my feeling at that time and why did I weep like a kid? I understood the meaning of the words of my father. After that, I never wasted my food.

*****

I remember my mother often say “You can’t satisfy people by giving money, but food”. Recently my relative brother works in USA also told me the same thing. Yes, It is correct – The value of food is something special. As Herbert Spenser said in his famous theory known as Survival of the Fittest“, this world is for the survivors. To survive, everybody have to fight to their situations. This is world for winners not for losers. In the Salem Bus Station also I found the same…

” The fight for surviving… The fight for the life… The Struggling for the existence… and of course, the value of food…!!!

*****

Dear dark-lean kid at Salem Bus Station… I don’t know where you are now. But you changed my attitude towards life… Thank you very much. Now I feel ashamed for not helped you anyway. I know, it’s worthless to confessing now… But, I want to.

Advertisements