I help old people to walk. I am the one who support them while walking. It gives me lot of happiness. Can you guess who I am? Yes, you are correct I am a Walking Stick. I am the need of all old people who cannot manage themselves on their legs without help. I give them support so that they can walk with their heads held high.
The story of my birth goes seventy years back. I still remember I was a beautiful Neem Tree. There were many different kinds of trees around me. I had a lot of friends. We used to talk with each other. The chirping birds were our inhabitants. They had many nests on our branches. And early in the morning we used to get up by their melodious chirping. It was really very beautiful to see the small ones learn the flying lessons. I still remember those days. My friends used to say that I was the most beautiful and mighty tree in the vicinity. They loved and revered me. And I loved them too. I had a very huge canopy of branches. I was a kind of village in itself. Travelers used to rest under my shade. They used to choose me as I was very thick and sun rays could not easily pass through my canopy. I felt very humbled and special when the travelers or the birds or the animals came under my care. My heart use to swell with pride. The travelers used to get relieved with the cool breeze that I used to fan them. They used to relax themselves, eat their food, drank water and then again start their journey. It was such a pleasure.
Things have changed now. Man has become materialistic. People don’t walk places anymore. People in my time used to walk to different villages. It used to take them three to four days if the village is far. But things have changed drastically now. Everything has got wheels. Life has become more precise, practical, fast and luxurious. The number of birds has reduced and also the animals. Man has encroached everywhere; he has even snatched the habitat of these precious animals and trees. He is cutting trees for his own benefit. My brothers and sisters are being cut everyday for their tall buildings, malls and complexes. Man has been a very selfish creature. He does not think about anything except himself and his happiness. One day they will have to repay with the harm they have done to us.
I am a Neem Tree; every part of mine is very helpful to man. I inhale carbon dioxide in the morning and give out oxygen and in the night the procedure is reverse. My leaves and trunk are highly useful for medicinal purpose. Though I served man with every part of mine, one fine day I was killed. I was cut with a machine as they wanted to clear the path for building a flyover. It was very painful to see my sons and daughters my branches being cut in front of me and I could not do anything but just cry loudly. I was separated from my wife my roots. She was the foundation of my life. She gave her entire life nursing and feeding and taking care of us. She saved me and children from floods and storms she held us tight and united with the soil and thus helped us flourish for seventy years. I was so huge that they had to cut me into many pieces to carry me from my birthplace. The nests fell down and the unborn birds died before they could fly in the open air. Their parents cried with horror but could not do anything but just cry their hearts out. Every small insect which lived on my huge trunk got crushed. A rare kind of machine called a crane lifted my parts to drive me to a timber yard.
I was lying in parts; they had to make four trips to shift me completely to the timber yard. I was very angry with “MAN”. I hated him. But a voice, a rare one a very beautiful voice reached my ears. And it was God, he said, “Son! Don’t cry, you have served me well these many years, and I am very happy with your services you delivered to mankind. You have lived your life well and enjoyed it too. You still have many things to accomplish. Don’t cry as you were born to deliver. You were born to deliver your love and affection to my people. I know mankind has become selfish but one fine day I will make them realize what they have lost. I have chosen you, your wife and your sons and daughters for a unique job. I want you to be a helping hand to the old people. Many of them cannot walk. And their children have no time for them. I want you to become their support. Become their hope, their strength, their desire and a friend. You help them rise in their ripened age. Make them happy. Help them smiling when they have lost everything.”
I listened to God with my family and felt that we are privileged to have been chosen by God for a wonderful job. My leaves and the skin of my trunk and branches were peeled off and were sent to the factories which needed them. And then I was cut into thin and thick planks and then sent to factory which made walking sticks. They could make around three hundred sticks from me and my family. With the left out wood beautiful toys for kids were also made. I was polished with beautiful hue. And my family members too were looking very charming dipped in beautiful and vibrant colors.
When I was dry and ready to be packed, all the three hundred sticks were packed and sent a very big mall. There was a particular shop in the mall called, “Woody! Woody!” This shop housed all the crafts made out of wood. I met many old friends of mine in the shop. It was long time they were separated from me. Some of them were beautiful couches, some cupboards, some pots and some toys. They were delighted to see us after many days. I was very beautifully laid on the racks of the shop. I was shelved in such a way that I could easily be seen by the customers. Their hung a tag on my neck. My neck was decorated with a golden lining. I was looking very handsome and beautiful.
It was on the third day that an old man walked in our shop. He had seen me from outside, that is through the window. He was accompanied by his granddaughter a very cute little chubby girl. I knew he liked me and I am going to be picked by him. He came straight to me and bought me off though before buying me he tried to walk using me in the shop to check if I was fine for him. He finally paid the amount and took to my new abode. I was happy as well as sad. I was happy as I would be going to a new place to deliver my services to an old man. And thus I would be listening to God and make him proud and on the other hand I was very sad thinking of my family and my friends. I blew kisses to my family and friends and started my job. I have been rendering services to my master. His name is, Mr. John Steve. He is 75. He loves me as he carries me everywhere. Both of us go walking and spend a lot of time together. I love my job as I bring relief and happiness to this man. When I go for walking I meet my friends and family members who stay in the neighborhood. Life is beautiful……especially when we help the needy, and bring happiness and smiles to other faces. Thank you God! For helping me identify myself…A WALKING STICK…
-jayanti dattatraya shinge