True Service Story


Grandfather, Naina, and Ajit started very early for their Sunday picnic. They took the first train to the village Hemapet. Two hours later, they found themselves at a tiny railway station.  They got down and stopped outside.

A large well-built man wearing a dhoti-kurta and sporting a huge turban greeted them with folded hands. He led them to a bullock cart and much to Ajit’s delight lifted and placed him on the cart. The cart trundled on for almost an hour till they finally reached a large came out greeted Grandfather and began fussing over kids.

They spoke a dialect that Naina and Ajit found difficult to understand. An hour later, after they had had their breakfast, Grandfather took them to a huge peepal tree around which there was a platform. They sat down there and Grandfather started telling a story.

Around ten years ago, there was a young man whose name was Aakash. He was studying to become a doctor. After he completed his MBBS, he worked hard and won a scholarship to the USA. He got his Master’s degree there and decided to return home.

Along with him some of his friends had also gone for higher studies to America. They stayed back but Aakash returned. Aakash’s father was not happy with his son’s decision. He was very proud that his son had earned a foreign degree.

He wanted his son to make America his home, earn a lot of money and finally invite his parents and sister to settle down there. But Aakash was adamant. ‘My country has spent so much money in educating me. I have to repay this debt. The only way I can do it is by serving the people here. Moreover, India and its villages need good doctors far more than rich countries like America do.

“What happened, Grandfather? Did Aakash come back to India?” asked Naina. “Yes, the child he did. Initially, he worked in a government hospital in the city. A year later, an epidemic broke out in the nearby village. When Aakash learned about that he instantly packed his bags and left.

He didn’t even inform his parents. “Why?” asked Ajit. “Because I think they would have stopped him. In my science book, I have studied that during epidemics, sometimes the doctors who are treating the patients also get infected.” Said Naina.

“Yes, Naina is right. Anyway, a week later. Aakash’s father got a letter from him saying that he was busy treating the patients and that the situation was very grim. But Aakash did not mention his address, fearing that his father would land up there and try to take him back.

Two weeks later his father received a phone call saying that Aakash had been admitted to the city hospital in a serious condition. His parents rushed to see him. He was in a very bad state. He could barely speak. “Why are you torturing yourself, as well as us, son?” His father asked him while his mother started sobbing. “I can’t help it, father. I can’t bear to see people suffer.

Your friends are enjoying life in America, earning pots of money, and living in comfort, and look at you here – fighting for your life. I can’t understand what you are getting by doing all this. If you don’t care about yourself at least spare a thought for your poor mother.

Just see her condition. She has gone half-mad worrying about you.  Father, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to convince you about my actions. All I can say is that I have the satisfaction that I have been able to save so many lives. Forgive me if I have tortured you.

But…but please try to understand that I could not help it. I can’t watch people dying all around me and not do anything. After battling for a month Akash died in his mother’s arms. The entire village was there at his cremation and there was not even one eye which was dry.

The villagers decided to pay homage to Akash. They launched a drive to collect donations for building a small hospital in the village. They approached the local MLA who agreed to organize a hefty donation thinking that the hospital would be named after him.

However, the villagers were adamant. They took the money, built the hospital, and called Akash’s parents for the opening ceremony. Akash’s father inaugurated the hospital.

“Come, I want to show you something,” Nanaji said, and taking their hands in his, he led
them to a building, a few hundred meters behind the peepal tree.”

They stopped in front of a blue board. “Naina, please read what is written.”

“Akash Memorial Hospital – in memory of Dr.Akash Rai, who saved this village from death.”

MORAL: Selfless service is the noblest form of service.

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