It was raining hard on the palm trees on roadside. There were the rows of palm trees along the roadside. The rain water dripped from the palm trees and it stood in pools on the paths. John came from America with his young wife Mary and he was staying in the third floor of the luxury hotel. He was seeing out from the window. The time is around twelve o’clock in the noon.The rain outside is very heavy and people walking on the roads are almost nil.
“What are you looking there, John?” The young wife asked curiously. She rose from the bed, came there and stood behind him.
“Nothing, the heavy rain and the palm trees on the roadside.” John said.
They came to Italy for a honeymoon trip. The rain disrupted their entire program.
All of a sudden, John’s wife Mary looked something under a palm tree outside.
“Look John, that old man! He was there under that tall palm tree.” Mary said.
John looked there. Yes, it was the old man in rain. He was sitting under a palm tree and he was trying to make himself so compact that he would not be dripped on. John tried his best to observe that old man closely. The old man was with his old fashioned spectacles. His clothes were dusty and he sat by the side of the road. The mule-drawn carts are going on the road and none had paid any attention towards this old man. The trucks are going and the truck drivers had covered their heads with the plastic sheets. There are some peasants plodded along in the ankle deep rain water. But the old man who sat there under the tree was without moving. He was appearing as too much tired to go any farther.
“I have to help him. He was a poor old man and if he was there for long, he will catch pneumonia and his life would be in danger.” John Said.
“Yes John, please do something immediately.” Mary said.
By that time, John was in the lift and he was going down. He saw a maid at the doorsteps. John asked her to bring an umbrella. She brought one at once and he headed towards the palm tree under which the old man was sitting.
Yes, the old man was still there under that palm tree. He looks like he was completely wet and he was shivering with cold wave
“Where do you come from?” John asked him.
“From Urbino,” he said, and he tried to smile.
That was his native place and so it gave him immense pleasure to mention that name and so he tried to smile. But he could not as he was fully drenched in rain water and he was very weak.
“It was raining hard and you are fully wet,” John said. “Oh, come with me quick to protect yourself grand pa”
“Let me sit here son,” he said, “I am not afraid of any rain. I saw many rains in life, you see, this rain is nothing before fierce life rain. I was the one who lost family and I was trying to help the people anywhere.”
“What were you grandpa?”
“I was a shepherd, my son. I helped people all my life and I love helping people in woes.”
He did not look like a shepherd. He was looking as a beggar at his dusty clothes and his pale dusty face and his old rimmed spectacles.
“What people were they you were helping?” John asked with curiosity.
“Various People,” the old man said, and shook his head. “I had to save cats, dogs and cattle. The people around us do not care much to these people.”
John was watching the old man and he wanted to help him, and the old man still sat there as if with comfort. The rain water from the leaves of the palm tree is dripping around him.
“Forget about the mission of saving. Do you come with me now?” John asked.
“How can I leave them? They are poor helpless people,” the old man explained. “I have saved one guy just now.”
The old man showed his lap where a little kitty was crouched comfortably in his warm lap. John was really moved at his helping nature.
“Come grandpa, you have to leave your mission for a while?” John said and gave his hand to help the old man stand.
The old man sat without moving. He did not come forward to catch his hand.
“Do you have no family?”John asked, watching the tall palm trees pouring water around him to make the pool on the path.
“No,” the old man said, “only the people I saved are my family as I stated. This cat, of course, will be all right. If I leave it on the dry floor after the rain stops, it can look out for itself, but I cannot think what will become of the other people, who have none to save them!”
“How old are you grandpa?” I asked.
“I am eighty-four years old. I have come fifty kilometers now and I think now I can go no further.” The old man said weakly.
“This is not a safe place to stop,” John said. “If you can make it, you can stay with me in hotel and tomorrow morning, when the rain stops, you can go on your way.”
“I will wait a while here,” he said, “and when the rain stops, I will go. Why you get trouble for this old man, please go my son.”
“I know no one was paying attention to your direction,” John said, “I think you will catch cold or pneumonia if you are wet very much. Come quick, let us go.”
John extended his hand towards the old man. The old man looked at John very blankly and tiredly, he said, having to share his worry with someone, “This cat will be all right, I am sure. Yet, I request you to save him. There is no need to be worried about me.”
“Come on grandpa! Get up.” John took his shoulder to make him stand.
“Thank you,” the old man said and got to his feet, swayed from side to side and then sat down backwards in the pool of water made from the dripping palm trees.
“Please take care of him, this master kitty,” he said dully, but no longer looked at John. “I was taking care of these poor people, please help this little gentleman, my son.”
These are the last words he spoke. John’s mission to save the old man under the palm tree was a failure.
The old man was now a heap of body with no life. John took the kitten in to his hands and hugged it with great care. He walked towards the hotel under the umbrella he was holding.