24 de novembro de 2010

Giving Peace a Chance

Giving Peace a Chance

Two months ago we shifted house and on the very first day we had problems with our neighbor, Mr. Singh, who lives on the top floor where the water reservoirs are.

Mr. Singh was forced to leave his native country, Afghanistan, when the terrorist group Taliban took over power in 1996. He saw horrors, tortures and murders that none of us can ever imagine. The struggle for life and survival of his family brought him to India and made him a very serious and tough person.

A few days before Diwali, I was sweeping the sidewalk in the morning and swept also the place where Mr. Singh parks his scooter. Seconds later he came with the scooter and four bags of milk that he had bought. While parking in front of the small entrance gate of the short four floors building, he noticed that his scooter was obstructing the passage and began pushing it so strongly that I was seeing the time it would fall over. Immediately I raised my thumb in a gesture of 'positive' and then signal him to 'stop'. I entered and left the gate open so he could also enter; then something magical happened, our eyes met and he gave me a smile I will never forget .

Despite having been born in Afghanistan, Mr. Singh is a Sikh (religion derived from Hinduism and known by the use of turban). He must be about 76 years old and his beautiful long beard is all white.

As the newest resident of the building I decided to buy three boxes of dried fruits and give one to the residents of each floor on the occasion of Diwali. What followed was something totally unexpected ...

The next day after having distributed the boxes, my doorbell started ringing. The family of Mr. Singh brought me a present, as did the lady and her son living on the second floor, and also the gentleman of the ground floor.

But that's not all, the most important thing is that before this, no one spoke to anyone, everyone was ignoring each other, but on Diwali day a miracle happened, everyone bought gifts for each other and all talked with each other in a friendly manner for the first time in years!

My happiness knew no bounds, a strong emotion took over my heart and tears welled in my eyes seeing everyone socializing on the stairs of the tiny building. I entered home and prayed, thanking God.

We all want peace, we all want to live happyly, but someone has to take the first step; as says in the lyrics of John Lennon's song: "All We Are Saying Is Give Peace a Chance".