Monday, December 31, 2007

The Littlest Firefighter

The 26-year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But, she still wanted her son's dreams to come true. She took her son's hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life? "

"Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up." Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true. "

Later that day she went to her local fire department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix. She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her six year old son a ride around the block on a fire engine. Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat- not a toy one, but one with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast."

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his fire uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedic's van, and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible. One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? It's just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital, extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window and 5 firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room. With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him. With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?" "Yes, Billy, you are a fireman now," the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and closed his eyes one last time. He passed away later that evening.

This is a true story, but names were changed to protect the family. "Billy" was the first child to be helped by the 'Make-A-Wish' Foundation, an organization that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening illness. The story is from 1981, and it was 'Make-A-Wish' that made the contact with the Phoenix Fire Department.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jim, Frank & George

Some years ago, three brothers left the farm to work in the city. They were all hired by the same company at the same pay.

Three years later, Jim was being paid $500 a month, Frank was receiving $1,000, but George was now making $1,500.

Their father decided to visit the employer. He listened to the confused father and said, "I will let the boys explain for themselves."

Jim was summoned to the supervisor's office and was told "Jim, I understand the Far East Importers has just brought in a large transport plane loaded with Japanese import goods. Will you please go over to the airport and get a cargo inventory?"

Three minutes later, Jim returned to the office. "The cargo was one thousand bolts of Japanese silk," Jim reported. "I got the information over the telephone from a member of the crew."

When Jim left, Frank, the $1,000 a month brother, was called. "Frank," said the supervisor, "I wish you'd go out to the airport and get an inventory of the cargo plane which was just brought in by Far East Importers."

An hour later, Frank was back in the office with a list showing that the plane carried 1,000 bolts of Japanese silk, 500 transistor radios, and 1,000 hand painted bamboo trays. George, the $1,500 a month brother, was given identical instructions. Working hours were over when he finally returned.

"The transport plane carried one thousand bolts of Japanese silk," he began. "It was on sale at sixty dollars a bolt, so I took a two-day option on the whole lot. I have wired a designer in New York offering the silk at seventy-five dollars a bolt. I expect to have the order tomorrow. I also found five hundred transistor radios, which I sold over the telephone at a profit of $2.30 each. There were a thousand bamboo trays, but they were of poor quality, so I didn't try to do anything with them."

When George left the office, the employer smiled. "You probably noticed," he said, "that Jim doesn't do what he's told, Frank does only what he'd told... but George does without being told."

The future is full of promise for those who show initiative.


Grandma's Hands

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was fine.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but to check on her, I asked her if she was alright. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice strong.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked, lost somewhere, "I mean really looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled, took a pause, and said "Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken,dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. Someday, I too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face... just like my grandma's hands.

The photo shown above features the hands of the photographer's Grandmother, Mom, Sister, Niece and Great-Niece. Its titled 'The Five Generations of Women'. Wonderful, isn't it?


Monday, December 24, 2007

The Woodcutter and the Axe - new version!

Once upon a time, there was a software engineer who used to develop programs on his Pentium machine, sitting under a tree on the banks of a river. He used to earn his bread by selling those programs in the Sunday market. One day, while he was working, his machine tumbled off the table and fell in the river. Encouraged by the Panchatantra story of his childhood (the woodcutter and the axe), he started praying to the River Goddess.

The River Goddess wanted to test him and so appeared only after one month of rigorous prayers. The engineer told her that he had lost his computer in the river.

As usual, the Goddess wanted to test his honesty. She showed him a match box and asked, "Is this your computer?" Disappointed by the Goddess' lack of computer awareness, the engineer replied, "No."

She next showed him a pocket-sized calculator and asked if that was his. Annoyed, the engineer said "No, not at all!!"

Finally, she came up with his own Pentium machine and asked if it was his. The engineer, left with no option, sighed and said "Yes."

The River Goddess was happy with his honesty. She was about to give him all three items, but before she could make the offer, the engineer asked her, "Don't you know that you're supposed to show me some better computers before bringing up my own?"

The River Goddess, angered at this, replied, "I know that, you stupid donkey! The first two things I showed you were the Trillennium and the Billennium, the latest computers from IBM!" So saying, she disappeared with the Pentium!!

Moral: If you're not up-to-date with technology trends, it's better keep your mouth shut than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!


True love

My husband is a software engineer by profession, I love him for his steady nature and I love the warm feeling when I lean against his broad shoulders.

Two years of courtship and now, five years into marriage, I would have to admit, that I am getting tired of it. The reasons of me loving him before, has now transformed into the cause of all my restlessness.

I am a sentimental woman and extremely sensitive when it comes to a relationship and my feelings. I yearn for the romantic moments, like a little girl yearning for candy. My husband is my complete opposite; his lack of sensitivity, and the inability of bringing romantic moments into our marriage has disheartened me about love.

One day, I finally decided to tell him my decision, that I wanted a divorce.

"Why?" he asked, shocked.

"I am tired. There are no reasons for everything in the world!" I answered.

He kept silent the whole night, seemingly in deep thought. My feeling of disappointment only increased. Here was a man who was not able to even express his predicament, so what else could I expect from him?

And finally he asked me "What can I do to change your mind?"

Somebody said it right. It's hard to change a person's personality, and I guess, I have started losing faith in him.

Looking deep into his eyes I slowly answered: "Here is the question. If you can answer and convince my heart, I will change my mind.

Let's say, I want a flower located on the face of a mountain cliff, and we both are sure that picking the flower will cause your death. Will you do it for me?"

He said: "I will give you your answer tomorrow."

My hopes just sank by listening to his response.

I woke up the next morning to find him gone, and saw a piece of paper with his scratchy handwriting underneath a milk glass, on the dining table near the front door, that goes...

"My dear, I would not pick that flower for you, but please allow me to explain the reasons further..."

This first line was already breaking my heart. I continued reading.

"When you use the computer you always mess up the Software programs, and you cry in front of the screen. I have to save my fingers so that I can help to restore the programs. You always leave the house keys behind, thus I have to save my legs to rush home to open the door for you.

You love traveling but always lose your way in a new city. I have to save my eyes to show you the way.

You always have the cramps whenever your 'good friend' approaches every month. I have to save my palms so that I can calm the cramps in your tummy.

You like to stay indoors, and I worry that you will be infected by infantile autism. I have to save my mouth to tell you jokes and stories to cure your boredom.

You always stare at the computer, and that will do nothing good for your eyes. I have to save my eyes so that when we grow old, I can help to clip your nails and help to remove those annoying white hairs. So I can also hold your hand while strolling down the beach, as you enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful sand... and tell you the colour of flowers, just like the colour of the glow on your young face.

Thus, my dear, unless I am sure that there is someone who loves you more than I do... I could not pick that flower yet, and die."

My tears fell on the letter, and blurred the ink of his handwriting, and as I continue on reading,"Now, that you have finished reading my answer, and if you are satisfied, please open the front door for I am standing outside bringing your favorite bread and fresh milk."

I rushed to pull open the door, and saw his anxious face, clutching tightly with his hands, the milk bottle and loaf of bread... Now I am very sure that no one will ever love me as much as he does, and I have decided to leave the flower alone.

That's life, and love. When one is surrounded by love, the feeling of excitement fades away, and one tends to ignore the true love that lies in between the peace and dullness. Love shows up in all forms; even in very small and cheeky forms. It has never been a model. It could be the dullest and most boring form. Flowers, and romantic moments are only used and appear on the surface of the relationship. Under all this, the pillar of true love stands - and that is life.

So what are you cribbing and complaining in life? Find the best in your parters, appreciate and acknowledge it - today, now.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Perfect husband and wife

A man and his lovely girlfriend got married. It was a large celebration. All of their friends and family came to see the lovely ceremony. The bride was gorgeous in her white wedding gown and the groom was very dashing in his black tuxedo. Everyone could tell that the love they had for each other was true.

However, a few months later, the wife came to the husband with a very unique request.

"Dear, I read in a magazine, a while ago, about how we can strengthen our marriage.." she offered, "each of us will write a list of the things that we find a bit annoying with the other person. Then, we can talk about how we can fix them together and make our lives happier together."

The husband agreed.

So each of them went to a separate room in the house and thought of the things that annoyed them about the other. They thought about this question for the rest of the day and wrote down what they came up with. The next morning, at the breakfast table, they decided that they would go over their lists.

"I'll start," offered the wife.

She took out her list. It had many items on it, enough to fill 3 pages, in fact. As she started reading the list of the little annoyances, she noticed that tears were starting to appear in her husbands eyes.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Nothing" the husband replied, "keep reading your lists."

The wife continued to read until she had read all three pages to her husband. She neatly placed her list on the table and folded her hands over top of it.

"Now, you read your list and then we'll talk about the things on both of our lists" she said happily.

Quietly the husband placed his sheet before her.

"Honey," he started to speak "sorry but I don't have anything on my list. Really, I do think that you are perfect the way that you are. I don't want you to change anything for me. You are lovely and wonderful and I wouldn't want to try and change anything about you."

The wife couldn't stand her husband's watery-eyed gaze anymore. She turned her head, and wept. Touched by the honesty and her husband's unconditional love, which woman would not?

In life, there are enough times when we are disappointed, depressed and annoyed. We don't really have to go looking for them. We have a wonderful world that is full of beauty, light and promise. Why waste time in this world looking for the bad, disappointing or annoying when we can look around us, and see the wondrous things before us?

We are happiest when we see and praise the good and try our best to forget the bad. Nobody's perfect but we can find perfectness in them if we change the way we see them.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Easy Eddie

This is a rather big narration of two different stories. But these two stories have something in common so profound that it may shake you totally. Beware!

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie."

He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family lived in a posh mansion with with all conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block!

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie provided his young son with whatever he could - clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object for his beloved one.

But the best part was, that despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong! Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son: he couldn't pass on a good name, and a good example. Finally one day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. He knew that the cost would be great.

But he testified.

And not surprisingly, within the year Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street.

But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power to tell
just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. When we was up in air, he was shocked to discover that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank!

He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. And his own fleet was now totally defenseless.

Moreover, he couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do.

He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many plane as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II , and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. Today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.


Well, Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Be proud of who you are

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.

He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "those who can… do; Those who can’t… teach."

To stress his point he said to another guest "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?"

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You really want to know what I make?"

She paused for a second, then said "Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the congressional medal of honor winner. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I-Pod, game cube or movie rental. You want to know what I make?" She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.

"I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions. I teach them to write and then I make them write keyboarding isn't everything. I make them read, read, and read. I make them show all their work in math so that they use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator. I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about english while preserving their unique cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe. I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag, one nation under God, because we live in the united states of America. Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life."

Bonnie paused one last time and then continued, "then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You still want to know what I make? I make a difference."

"What do you make Mr. CEO?"

His jaw dropped. The group was silent.

Each one of us is unique in what we do. Every single job is important. Don't discriminate - ever.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Flight of an eagle

The eagle gently coaxed her offspring toward the edge of the nest. Her heart quivered with conflicting emotions as she felt their resistance to her persistent nudging. “Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?” she thought. This ageless question still remained unanswered for her.

As in the tradition of the species, her nest was located high upon the shelf of a sheer rock face. Below there was nothing but air to support the wings of each child. “Is it possible that this time it will not work?” she thought. Despite her fears, the eagle knew it was time. Her parental mission was all but complete. There remained one final task – the push.

The eagle drew courage from an innate wisdom. Until her children discovered their wings, there was no purpose for their lives. Until they learned how to soar, they would fail to understand the privilege of having been born an eagle. The push was the greatest gift she had to offer. It was her supreme act of love. And so, one by one, she pushed them and they flew.

David McNally wrote these words in his book: Even eagles need a push. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. Although most people truly want to reach their full potential, they don’t always have the initiative and the discipline to get started on their own. One of your greatest responsibilities as a leader is to enable your people to be all they can be. Many times “the push”, with a little encouragement, is all they need.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Mousetrap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered.

He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning:

"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap... alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house - like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital , and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died.

So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember - when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.


True promise

"How long will you be poring over that newspaper? Will you come here right away and make your darling daughter eat her food?"

I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter Sindu looked frightened. Tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with Curd Rice.

Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age. She has just turned eight. She particularly detested Curd Rice.

My mother and my wife are orthodox and believe firmly in the 'cooling effects' of Curd Rice. I cleared my throat and picked up the bowl.

"Sindu, darling, why don't you take a few mouthful of this Curd Rice? Just for Dad's sake, dear. If you don't, your Mom will shout at me."

I could sense my wife's scowl behind my back. Sindu softened a bit and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. "OK, Dad. I will eat not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should..." Sindu hesitated. "Dad, if I eat this entire Curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?"

"Oh sure, darling."



I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine and clinched the deal.

"Ask Mom also to give a similar promise," my daughter insisted. My wife slapped her hand on Sindu's muttering "Promise," without any emotion.

Now I became a bit anxious. "Sindu, you shouldn't insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items. Dad does not have that kind of money right now. OK?"

"No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive."

Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity. I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child to eat something that she detested.

After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation. All of our attention was on her.

"Dad, I want to have my head shaved off this Sunday," was her demand!

"Atrocious!" shouted my wife, "a girl child having her head shaved off? Impossible!"

"Never in our family!" my mother rasped. "She has been watching too much of television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!"

"Sindu, why don't you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head."

"No, Dad. I do not want anything else," Sindu said with finality.

"Please Sindu, why don't you try to understand our feelings?" I tried to plead with her.

"Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice," Sindu was in tears. "And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for. Now, you are going back on your words.
Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?"

It was time for me to call the shots. "Our promise must be kept."

"Are you out your mind?" chorused my mother and wife.

"No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honor her own. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled."

With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful.

On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom. She turned around and waved.

I waved back with a smile. Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, "Sinduja, please wait for me!"

What struck me was the hairless head of that boy. "Maybe that is the `in' stuff," I thought.

"Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!" Without introducing herself, a lady got out of the car, and continued, "That boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son Harish. He is suffering from leukemia."

She paused to muffle her sobs. "Harish could not attend the school for the whole of the last month. He lost all of his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates.

"Sinduja visited him last week and promised him that she will take care of the teasing issue. But I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son! Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter."

I stood transfixed. And then, I wept.

"My little Angel, will you teach me what love is?"