A reader contributed this touching story of an elderly Indian man who was found wandering around her neighborhood. The man is suffering from a terminal illness but refuses any form of financial or social welfare because he wants to remain free. Any money that he gets from concerned passersby he donates to the temple or buys food for others. Read this inspiring story about freedom and strength in the face of adversity here.

“I am free to go anywhere, despite my shortcomings …”

Two ladies in front of me were helpless and stunned watching this crippled, tattered Indian man struggled down the stairs at an overhead bridge. I lost my senses and my mind went blank momentarily.

The ladies passed him some money, while I approached this gentleman who could hardly straighten his back and asked if he would allow me to arrange social services and assistance for him. He rejected. Why? I wanted to know and insisted on finding out, walked with him, trying my best to convince him the benefits of staying in nursing homes and of course asked many questions about his daily survival. This is his answer,

“Thank you. No. I like my way of life now. I go anywhere I want. I have no family, no family members. Even people give me money, with the money I take, I buy bread and distribute to others in temples. I sleep anywhere I go. I don’t need assistance and will not go nursing home. I want to roam. My illness is going to take my life anyway. I’m happy now.”

I teared, offered him $10. He reminded me of my elderly female neighbour who passed away last month, who insisted on not going to a nursing home, she said “I want to die in this house where I’ve lived for decades.” Her wish fulfilled.

Unconvinced, I seek opinions from mum and aunt. They both shared one same perspective, “without freedom is a torture, if I can still walk and go anywhere I want, I will never want to be restricted and live like a robot in a nursing home. Time up, wake up. Time up, sleep.”

This is why many rather die for freedom.

Plain Jean
A.S.S. Reader

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