Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Help the poor without a thick pocket


There is a legendary figure in our land called “Kayamkulam Kochunnoonny”. “Kayamkulam” was his native place and “Kochunnoonny” was his name. I do not know when he lived; but he lived before so many years, even before the British rule in India. Some say that he is only a legend and some others affirm that he really lived.

Kayamkulam Kochunnoonny was a robber. He robed only rich people. If he was convinced that the person though rich was good hearted towards the poor, he spared them.
That is the key to his character.
He was a lover of poor people. He himself was not rich. He was troubled by the plight of the poor around him. He was angry at the cruelty of the rich. The wide gap between the living conditions of the rich in his place and the poor disturbed him to a point where he dedicated his life for providing for the poor.  But he was a poor man. He was not wise like Karl Marx to write a thesis on the class struggle. He was not a rich king to order his rich citizens to feed the poor in his country.

So he turned to robbing the rich and distributing the bounty among the poor.
He went on robbing the cruel rich and took the rich goods to the poor. He threatened the cruel rich masters and asked them to behave properly towards the poor.
Thus he became a savior to the poor and a class enemy to the rich. The poor prayed for his long life and rich cried for his blood.
There are a lot of stories describing his adventure and charity. Stories present all good qualities of Kayamkulam Kochunnoonny towards the poor and towards the kind hearted rich people. He was a man of sense and humanity.
The end of his life was tragic. The rich influenced the King to arrest him and kill him. Still he lives a hero and a savior in the heart of hundreds of poor people.

As I wrote in another blog, I find immense joy in giving gifts to poor people. But I am not Kayamkulam Kochunnoonny and I cannot go on robbing the rich to feed the poor. I myself am not a rich man now to distribute a portion to the poor regularly. I may be able to extend a helping hand now and then. But I want to do more.

Before three or four years, one of my old relatives presented a black saree to my wife. (saree is our traditional dress for women). We do not use black colored dresses. Black is good, but that won’t suit to our complexion. There are fairer people in India, for whom a black saree would be beautiful. So our first impulse was to reject the offer politely telling the discomfort we have with the color. Suddenly an image of a poor lady came to our mind. Without any hesitation we accepted the gift with thanks and smiles.
We saw in it an opportunity to help a poor lady. It is an opportunity to become a modern Kayamkulam Kochunnoonny.

We took the black saree from there and gifted it to the poor lady. She was extremely happy, because she wished to have a black saree for a long time. She was fairer than us and it would be fine with her.
We have done an act towards the fulfillment of our life. It is happiness than anything else.

One day, before a year, one of my friends came on leave from USA. He presented a beautiful shirt to me. It was violet in color with wide white stripes. The collar of the shirt was white, the hand cuffs were white and all rest in violet with white stripes. It was a good shirt. My friend bought it from a store in USA with me in his mind. He brought it down to India to gift it to me and me alone. I accepted it with thanks and a word of blessing.

I have been an introvert from my childhood and my favorite color was white. Still I used to wear color shirts, but only light colors. I never wore dark colored shirts in my life. This violet is not my color. It is darker than any light color. Moreover, I have taken a decision to wear only white colored shirts from the age of 50. So I knew that I am not going to wear this shirt. But friend had bought it with a good price just for me. I was pleased with his love and care.

I decided to extend his love and care to a poor young fellow who live in a suburb. The poor young fellow looked at me as if I have gone insane to gift such a costly new shirt to him.

I lost nothing and gained a lot.

At another occasion I got a new peach colored shirt as a gift. I was extremely happy. I knew I was not going to wear it. But I was thinking what I should present to a young man for his wedding. He was poor and I must give him something. Here comes a new shirt, beautiful, elegant and costly. Proudly I presented it to the young bridegroom.

I have a hundred experiences like this to tell you about giving money, wrist watches, shoes, food, clothes, calculators, digital organizers and vegetables and so on….
My role is similar to that of a postman.

This is how I collect gift for the poor. I accept anything as a gift from anybody who likes to give, whether I like it or not, whether I need it or not, whether I am going to use it or not. I am thankful to the giver, for he has given me an opportunity to bless the life of a poor person.

I am not a Kayamkulam Kochunnoonny. I cannot go on robbing the rich and distribute the bounty among the poor.  I do not like to ask people to donate to a charitable fund. Still I can do something to improve the life of the poor without spending any money from my pocket.

To help the poor we do not need a thick pocket, we need only a kind heart.

"I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (The Bible, Acts 20:35)

Further reading:
Professor Jacob Abraham                                                                            

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