Finding your Radhe Shyam.
Radhe Shyam lost his father, mother and sister the night the wall of the national park collapsed killing 31 people in Malad East, Mumbai. He, has a brother, sister-in-law and a six months old niece all of whom who miraculously survived the tragic night of the first of July.
Over the last one month Bro Paolo has been tending to the wounds of both the brothers one of whom who received a severe back injury. Each time they visited us they would recall the horrors of that night. Radhe Shyam still can’t sleep at night. He says that his dreams are filled with sadness and fear. The hole in his heart gets bigger when he goes to the piece of land he once called home, now nothing but a heap of rubble. Through these tears, Radhe Shyam and Uttam also see the ‘kind’ hand of God who spared their lives.
Now, it is time he moves on and even though he does not want to accept the home the government offers him in the polluted area of Mahul, he feels he has no choice. There is a sister whom he has to marry and a brother and his family whom he has to take care of. The injuries they suffered that night have now altered the choices they can make to earn a living; a chronic back injury does not lend itself to hard labour.
Radhe Shyam deserves to smile, even if it was for just an evening. So when I asked him what he needed for the new rented house (read one room tenement in the slums) he turned up with a list that had ten odd items; surprising for a family that has lost all their possessions and three loved ones. I thought that this simple man who loves God (what ever his faith be ) deserves more.
On Saturday evening, I had the joy of taking Radhe Shyam to Hyper City along with Shailesh from our parish. We thrust a trolley into his hands and guided him around the supermarket. At first he was stunned, he had never seen anything like this before. We had to guide him through the aisles explaining brands and why people have so many choices that he had no clue existed. Gradually he got used to being the ‘big shopper’ while he picked one cooking spoon, four plates and continued to be modest in his choices. He smiled and his happiness brought us joy.
What did we achieve from all of this? Just a big smile from Radhe Shyam and the hope that in his grief we were able to bring some joy.The truth is that we can’t change the world, we can barely change ourselves! But we can certainly try to make a little difference in someone’s life. There is a Radhe Shyam in your home, your neighbourhood , your office, your city or some corner of the world waiting for you. I found mine
Fr Warner ÐSouza