The Silent Soldier
Life Positive|October 2020
The Silent Soldier
Gurjas Chahal’s encounter with a selfless soul enriches her life with the wisdom of humility and noble service
Gurjas Chahal

We meet wonderful souls at the most unexpected of places. I had seen one such person working at the lakeside, all busy uprooting weeds with bare hands, removing watercress in armfuls, watering the plants dotting the lakeshore, and working with full sincerity all by himself. A wizened face, worn-out, nondescript clothes, swarthy body, and muddy flip-flops—all suggesting he was some gardener appointed by the lake authorities.

Good deed for the day

One day, after a five-kilometre walk on the tracks around the lake, I paced down to my usual spot by a tree to do some physical exercises. At some distance from me, a group of men were crowding together around a patch, planting a sapling. I noticed there were many more young saplings with them for sowing. It looked as if they were carrying out some plantation drive. One of them invited me to join them in planting a sapling with my own hands and feel the pride. When I had done it, somebody suggested that mere planting was not enough; I must come to see it atleast once a week. I agreed.

Routine brings peace of mind

On the very next day, I was eager to see how my plant was shaping up. Its bed was dry. I looked around for something to pour water with. Near the lake by the big banyan tree, lay an old paint bucket which could be put to use. The gardener was working nearby. I guessed it was his. “Can I take the bucket for a while,” I asked, “for watering my plant there?” “Your plant?” he said in surprise. I told him about the plantation drive, of which I had been made a part of, the day before. He smiled and let me take the bucket. Taking water from the lake, I watered not only my plant but many others around it. The work gave me a lot of peace, and this became a daily routine for me.

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October 2020