The story began in December 1983…

June 6, 2007

The story began in December 1983… the sun had just set a couple of hours ago. A 16 year old boy found himself amongst his peers sitted on one of the back seats of a performance, his eyes tightly closed, as if trying to concentrate.

The speaker continued to speak through the microphone, but he could not hear any of the spoken words. No, he was engaged… in a conversation.

“If you meant what you just said,” he said in a soft voice, “then I really want to be your friend…”

He could not believe his ears. Someone just extended him a friendship he could not resist. That someone just believed in him.

“I believe in you,” his new friend said, “I accept you.” That was the only thing he could remember.

He did not know it then. Never did he imagine that encounter with his new found friend would change his life forever.

That night, he went home as if a changed person. As he laid on his bed, he whispered, “Good night, my friend. Thank you for the friendship.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

We should never belittle the daily encounters we have – no matter how little they may seem.

Whether they are the aunties (housewifes) we meet at the market, or the roadsweeper, or the principal at school, or the old man who happens to smile at us. They may just be (or have) the answer we have been searching for.

I once had an encounter with a man in a foreign land. I was walking towards one direction and saw him coming directly towards mine. He seemed to me to be an old vagabond, and a very dirty one too. Dressed in rags, beard unshaved and carrying loads of what looked like newspapers and plastic bags. With tanned skin, an untidy beard and entangled hair, he had nothing special in him when I saw him from afar, no, everything about him was just so ordinary. But, looks, can be very deceiving.

Our distance drew nearer, I had a better view of that old-timer. He looked 70, badly tanned (perhaps due to over-exposure to the sun), had an untidy beard and entangled hair.

As we were just about to pass each other, the slightly humped old man looked up slowly, as if to acknowledge a passing stranger – something only a gentleman would do, a gesture that may never be found in our generation today. It was then I saw something..

What I saw was beyond my expectation. No, I saw something that changed me.

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