A New Leaf

Far from the city situated a small community dedicated for elderly people. This place acted as home for those who were abandoned by their children or relatives. It had a cozy atmosphere and the people here adjusted to live with each other because of one person Chandru, a handsome man in his early thirties who worked as the caretaker and stayed with them. Everyone treated him as their own son because he cared for them truly and served affectionately. He volunteered himself to work here without salary as he himself was an orphan and all he needed was to be loved. The owners, Rahul and Keerthi were a couple who grew in an orphanage and their idea of building a facility for the old people brought them together. They indeed felt Chandru to be a lucky charm because after he joined them, their funds increased and became steady every month. Thus, they expanded their land space and hired the best cooks possible. Chandru suggested to buy the nearby plot and taught the dwellers to start organic farming. Meditation rooms, sports area, workshop classes were designed in an elegant way. Every day was a celebration. They laughed, played, cried and lived as a family. Chandru’s efforts did turn the place into a mini paradise.

It was a rare event when the residents’ dependents visited them. Few of them turned up occasionally and provided sweets or clothes but were least interested in their well-being. During these times Chandru would intervene and make the situation light bringing upon smiles on their faces ultimately. On one such occasion, forty-year old Rajkar waved goodbye to his parents and while he was about to leave, noticed Chandru and called him.

“Hey Chandru, come here”

Chandru came running and stood before him with folded hands and a timid look.

“Keep this” and he pushed few hundred-rupee notes in his pocket. Chandru with a calm expression on his face returned it back to Rajkar.

“Sir I am very content with my job here and all my needs are met. This is not required. Please don’t take it otherwise”, he refused politely.

Rajkar was surprised to see such a different person in this era.

“Take care of them and yourself as well” he left with these words.

Many people make donations, but it is rare thing for them to come in person. One such person was Mr. Sudharshan, a dignified businessman who visited the community every month and spent his entire day with them. Rahul, Keerthi and Chandru would greet him wholeheartedly. He took part in their daily routine as well. They watched movies, played some games and had food together. Everybody admired him and looked forward to his visits. While leaving, he would say the same line,

“Rahul just give me a call for anything, anytime.” Keerthi felt blessed and always thanked GOD  for bringing such a generous person in their lives.

The major expenditures were the routine health checks done for the residents. Surprisingly city’s top doctors volunteered to examine them, and surgery or operation suggested were done with zero payment. The hospitals informed Rahul and Keerthi that their trust supported many people like them, and they need not worry about the treatment expenditure. Rahul was overwhelmed and Keerthi suggested to help other homes that required financial aids by using their saved funds.

Chandru always had more concern towards Mrs.Jaya who was suffering from amnesia and thus required regular sessions with the neurologist. During one of the meeting Chandru asked

“Doctor, do you see any improvement in her?”

“Chandru, I can see she can remember the events happening now. But unable to remember the last ten years of her life. Her brain still has remembrance of her son when he was twenty years old and the memories are stuck there. Age is an important factor here; we cannot go for intense sessions and forcibly make her remember. Talking more about the past is also not advisable.”

“Yes, Doctor I understand.”

“Ok Chandru I will leave now. Take Care.”

“Thanks Doctor”.

“By the way Chandru . . .are you happy here with this job? Do you really think this is the best place for you? I don’t want to interfere in your personal life, but I do care for you and hence asked”.

Chandru did not expect this question and paused for a while. 

“Doctor I don’t consider this as my workplace. It is indeed my home and am living with my family. I appreciate your concern but am happy here, “he answered happily.

The Doctor understood the deeper meaning behind Chandru’s reply. He gave a gentle pat on his shoulder and left.

On a bright morning, Chandru realized Mr. Anandhan did not join the morning walk and went to check upon him. He knocked few times and since there was no response, he opened the door and went inside. Mr.Anandhan had passed away peacefully in his sleep. Everyone was informed so they all gathered around him. Rahul immediately contacted his only daughter living in the UK. After expressing her grief, she informed them that she would not be able to travel and hence they should proceed with the formalities. Keerthi was furious and denied her money for the procedures to follow. Chandru took charge as his son and performed the final rights. This made many of them change their minds to decide that their last journey be performed by Chandru.

After making everyone retire to bed, Chandru goes to sleep. It wasn’t easy for him to forget the past as it comes haunting him creating nightmares. As he closed his eyes the scenes started flashing again like every other night.

“Chandru !! Chandru !! Chandru !!”

The name filled the air as the crowd waved high banners wishing him luck. It was a splendid night for the viewers to watch the much awaited M3 car race in the U.S which allowed people from all over the world to join. For the past two years Chandru emerged as the winner and his fans were eagerly watching him for the third time. He is one among the few Indians who were licensed to participate in these races.  With all the cheers around Chandru won again and the media surrounded him. It was 3 am for Chandru when his father called from India to congratulate him.

“I knew you would make it my boy” his father was happy and excited.

“Thanks Dad, your support would make me conquer more” and their conversation continued for a while.

Chandru’s full name is Chandrakanth. His father was famous for their chain of restaurants in India. After completing his Master’s degree, Chandru expanded their business all over the world. He is a perfectionist in everything he does.  TIME magazine recognized him as one of the youngest entrepreneurs in India. Chandru’s passion were cars and they owned twelve different models. Life went on smooth and his father was in the process of seeking him a suitable bride. It was in the year 2016 when an ordinary night made Chandru’s life take a U-turn.

Chandru’s school friends planned a trekking trip to Kerala to which he was looking forward to. The inauguration of their new restaurant in Dubai got delayed and he missed his direct flight. At the last moment, he managed to reach Chennai and planned on a road trip to Kerala. His driver waited for him in the Chennai airport with his favorite Rolls Royce Phantom. Since it was getting late Chandru decided to drive himself. He placed his mobile on live tracking for the rest of his friends to view and kept chatting all the while. Chandru was excited and was driving at 130 mph. While he was almost nearing Anaikatti resort there came in another car from the opposite direction unexpectedly.  Within seconds Chandru’s car hit it and toppled along the roadside and fell into the nearby bushes. Chandru’s car was tilted and he was merely bruised. He lifted himself and came out through the door with some difficulty.  He did feel dizzy but managed to walk towards them. As he went near, he noticed a man in his thirties severely injured and seemed dead already. It was evident he was thrown forcibly through the front glass. Chandru’s hands were trembling and he started breathing rapidly. His steps went crooked and tried his best to look around. Another lady was lying on the ground. Her face was covered with glass pieces and he felt further horrified. Chandru has never seen so much blood in his life. He was about to faint and suddenly noticed a feeble voice crying out. He regained some strength and went near the back door to see a little girl tapping on the window. He managed to pull her out and tried to talk. His eyes were shutting down slowly as he failed to notice his neck had been hurt. By this time Chandru’s friends had seen the emergency and reached the place with an ambulance. 

The girl was nearly twelve years and the paramedics could save her. After few hours Chandru regained consciousness and found himself in the hospital. His father was speaking with the doctors outside the room and his friends were beside him. He screamed frantically.

“Is the kid fine? Is she admitted in this hospital? I need to know. Oh GOD I just killed two people. Am surrendering to the police, just take me away. I don’t want to live.”

“Chandru please, first stop screaming. She is fine and you can see her in a while. This is not your mistake; their car had taken the wrong side of the road to reach the petrol pump sooner and you did not anticipate this move. Nobody could have.  You are also hurt, so please take rest” others tried to calm him.

“What are you guys saying? Two people died because of me and an innocent girl is now an orphan. I need to see her first” and he pulled his IV line getting ready to move. Seeing the chaos, the doctors rushed in and tried to pacify him. As the situation was getting worse, they sedated him for the next few hours. After two days, he was still reluctant to see the girl and walked to her room. To his surprise the bed was empty. As he turned around searching for someone to enquire, he saw the little one running with tears towards the window, opening the glass door and even before he realized she jumped out. Heartbroken Chandru stood still and was unable to react. He noticed few nurses talking.

“Yesterday they had revealed about her parent’s death. She was weeping all night. Poor soul could not accept the truth. I think her relatives did not turn up hearing the news, pity her. “

For a moment Chandru lost control and felt the urge to end his life as he thought it would be impossible for him to live with this guilt. Just then he remembered his mom’s face which he had seen only in photos since she died in an accident when he was a year-old baby. His father’s words kept ringing in his mind.

“When the car tumbled around, your mom was covering you tightly and literally sacrificed herself to save you”.

Chandru went back to his room and broke into tears, “Dear mom, wish you had taken me along and now we would be together in heaven. This incident would have never happened”. His friends came in and tried to console him.

He was discharged from the hospital within a week. Chandru felt weak and fearing to face the world he locked himself in his room. He analyzed the options available for his next steps. He could get past the incident and continue his normal life. Another way is to feel guilty all his life roaming around aimlessly. He intended to make his life meaningful. How powerful is a tiny cell that it divides and grows making 23 pairs of chromosomes each taking up different roles in the body.  This does explain how precious we are to our creator. GOD has given one life but the way we live  differentiates us in this world. After thinking deeply Chandru started to check upon the victims’ family. Meanwhile his father’s influence made to the media that there was a container lorry incident that night. The car belonged to a man from Kerala who travelled to Chennai with his wife and daughter to attend a wedding. They were in a hurry to reach back that night and a simple mistake costed their lives unexpectedly.

Few months passed by and Chandru was prepared to discuss about his decision.

His father felt relieved to see his son and hugged him closely.

“Chandru I hope you feel better now. Tell me if you want to move to the U.S or any place of your choice. I really need you be happy my son. You have always made me proud being a topper in school and college. I was impressed by the way you handle our business dealings. I am so proud to have raised you as an honorable man in the society.”

Chandru did feel the lump in his throat and finally started to speak.

“Dad am moving to the Gandhi Old Age Home.”

“What are you talking son? I am really confused.”

“Dad it is not possible to hide the reality. Three souls are no more on this earth. I don’t want to discuss if am the reason behind it or not. That person has an elderly mother in her early seventies. After hearing this shocking news, she was affected with memory loss. Her distant relatives manipulated the situation and sent her to this place. I will be working there spending the rest of my life not just to serve her but the others staying there as well. I strongly believe this is the purpose of my life.”

“Are you punishing yourself son?”

“Not at all Dad. When it is not possible to erase the past am trying to make the future look better.”

He came closer and held Chandru’s palm into his hands. He had the same emotions when he carried Chandru for the first time. Even though the decision was tough to accept, he was delighted that his son has found a flawless path.

“I am sure your mother is happy watching from above”, tearfully he hugged him.

Soon after Chandru left, his father Mr.Sudharshan made sure there were enough funds entering the Gandhi Home and sponsored all their expenses. 

It was 5 am in the morning as the alarm rang. Chandru woke up to start his day.
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1 Comments

  1. Sara Elliott

    Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing such a touching story. I really felt for Chandru, and all of the heartache he experienced. His back story explained why he was such a selfless character.

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