The lonesome heroes

I couldn’t help but feel proud of him, mixed with a tinge of jealousy. Jealous because my normal Joe of a friend, who’s a wonderful father, a responsible husband, a hardworking employee, has now become a hero in my eyes - JAGDESB SINGH

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Photo: Michal Jarmoluk / Pixabay
By Jagdesh Singh | OPINION |

His old motorcycle could hardly change gears in the middle of the busiest road of Kuala Lumpur. Peak noon, the sun blazing down on us, the traffic is as clogged as any Friday lunchtime when devout Muslims converge all at once for their prayers. I sat at the back blabbering about how I hate the traffic, the same script I’ve been using since the year 2000 whenever he picks me up for our lunch together. Meanwhile, he’s navigating through the traffic with a huge box of apples straddled in front of him. Imagine, for a moment, two overgrown Punjabi men, and a huge box of apples at the front, on a motorcycle that resembled a dying horse gasping for air.

We went for lunch. Chatted for a bit, laughed about things that never get remembered for. Then, we rode back to my office, with the same box of apples. What is this box of apples for? And why is it so important for him to carry it on a motorcycle around the middle of Kuala Lumpur City for lunch?

You see, unbeknownst to me and almost anybody else, he has been buying boxes of apples every Friday over the past few months, with his own money, to distribute them to the homeless at night before he leaves for home in a suburban town 50 kilometers away.

I couldn’t help but feel proud of him, mixed with a tinge of jealousy. Jealous because my normal Joe of a friend, who’s a wonderful father, a responsible husband, a hardworking employee, has now become a hero in my eyes. He’s as vanilla as anybody can be. What he’s doing is the simplest of gestures, but the effort taken can seem daunting for a lazy ass like me. I mean, my sorry excuse for not being able to sacrifice a couple of hours of my time helping the homeless is because I want to avoid the traffic jam nightmare and head home to recuperate from after a long week in the rat race.
But not for my friend.

“We don’t have to come up with big ideas and involve the whole village to do something as simple as feeding the poor, buddy”, he tells me while refusing for me to take a picture of him. He doesn’t believe in sharing his deeds with anybody else, not even with his family. He’s just happy he’s able enough to do the little he can, all on his own, at his time and leisure. The last thing on his mind is posting a video or a picture of himself doing charity on Social Media.

He then shares with me something else that brought tears to my eyes. He tells me that he slips out of his home very early in the mornings during the weekend, like a mouse, for about an hour or more. He goes to the General Hospital, plonks himself in the Emergency room or the children’s ward, and meditates while helping out whoever and whenever he can. He chats with patients, even helps with feeding, or say a prayer upon request. And then he leaves quietly back to his life, nobody else the wiser.

I know of many others out there, from all communities, who do these wonderful kind deeds and service. Some do more than my friend. Equally as quiet, equally happy to contribute wherever and whenever they can. But never would I have imagined that my closest of friends would be another one of these angels, the kindest of souls. He has now become a hero in my eyes. Someone that I now look up to instead of looking at as a friend. These souls may inspire you and me, but they certainly are proof that humanity is well and alive, and we have lots of hope for our future.

Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.

 

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ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here 

 

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