An ode to a fighter!

How could I stop myself from writing this sad yet inspiring story – story of a man who fought the fierce battle of life, all alone. For the cacophony of emotions, it triggered inside me and for the long lasting impact it had on me, it ought to be shared. It may serve as an eye opener for many of us – who complain of the problems so trivial, who end up being sad by the things so petty, who decide on quitting so soon and who keep finding negatives in every small aspect.

He is my dad’s friend, who happened to recently shift to Pune, to a society close to our house. Delighted by the news, dad invited him home for breakfast, last Sunday.

Man in his mid-70’s, he seemed quite cheerful, enthusiastic and active for his age. Friendly and extremely talkative facade of him made it easy to mingle and get the conversation going. One thing lead to another and slowly his story began to unfold.

He was diagnosed with rare type of cancer in its last stage and was recommended treatment only at a renowned hospital in Mumbai. He used to reside at a place, around 6 hours’ drive from Mumbai. Considering the heavy-duty aftereffects of chemotherapy, it seemed quite difficult to manage from a place so remote. But he decided to go for it. He would drive all the way to Mumbai, all alone, for his therapy, undergo the treatment and even drive back alone post the therapy (and I need dad to accompany me even to a dentist). Then he would take complete rest and rejuvenate himself for the next therapy session. This continued till he completed all his chemotherapy and radiation sessions. There were ups and downs in his physique, but he had no other alternative but to get up and get going in order to keep the physical, financial and mental equilibrium maintained.

There was more to add. Amidst all this, he lost his son in law, which imposed a severe blow on the family. Responsibility of his daughter and her young toddler came on him. Keeping aside his sufferings, he stood by her, moved in to her place to help her out and left no stone unturned to support her in her rough time. Meanwhile, he was diagnosed with another rare type of tuberculosis. This made it hard for him to swallow food, which consequently made him lose loads of weight, making it difficult even to stand on his own and walk. He would literally have to crawl around, in the house. But never did he give up. He kept going, continued his treatment with patience and finally after lot of struggle he recovered. He is now so fit, quite enough to start socializing all over again. The person who himself would have needed immense help some time back, now smilingly offers you help. And this is no hyperbole.

People usually get sideswiped only by listening to the word cancer. In addition to medical, need all the physical and mental support to get over it, and all this is quite explicable. But nothing could quiver this man’s spirit and strong will power. This strong will power helped him recuperate from all the grave diseases and situations life had thrown at him all at once.

The way he narrated his story with an unbroken grin and not even slightest hint of complain, spoke quite a lot about his positive and equally practical approach of looking at things. To accept what comes our way, work hard to get out of it and move ahead is what we can do, were his words.

How we look at the problems in our life and prepare our inner self to deal with them is of utmost importance. If we think weak of ourselves, weak we will be. If we think strong, strong we will be. If we think grave are the problems, graver they will be.

If we start thinking positively, in a strong demeanor and top it up with immense patience, nothing can stop us from adding a happy ending to our story.

Life doesn’t give us an opportunity to choose our story, it is the story that chooses us; but the choice of being a hero of it, is totally left to our discretion. Hats off to one such hero!