It was a cold winter afternoon in 1920. A large number of people were waiting outside an exhibition hall in the city of New York to purchase tickets. Inside the hall, the manager seemed to be highly pleased. A large number of people had arrived, many more than his expectations. A new kind of exhibition was being presented on that day.
The curtain went up. The stage was set up like a reception room in a house. A young man who sat beside a piano rose and bowed ceremoniously. He introduced a majestic middle-aged woman to the audience. It was Anne Sullivan Macy. Anne made a brief speech. Everyone listened attentively to her sweet-sounding words. Later another woman, beautifully dressed and pleasant-looking, walked on to stage. Anne clasped her hand. She just looked at the audience and stood revealed.
Later, that woman – Helen Keller – spoke. She struggled hard to let out each word. The audience too struggled to grasp what she said. Still they, kept their ears strained and sharp. A long applause resounded in the hall when Helen stopped speaking. These two were among the most famous people in America those days. Anne Sullivan was a bold educationist and civil rights spokesperson. Helen Adams Keller was her deaf and blind disciple. Despite being handicapped, she had made a name for herself as a writer, women’s liberation activist and a social worker.
The audience was immensely touched by Helen’s speech. Her words could be summed up this way: “My teacher told you how her one word touched the darkness of my mind and how I woke up to the bliss of life. I was dumb; now I can speak. I am obliged to the hands and hearts of others for this achievement. Through their love I came to see my mind; I could see God, I could find happiness. In fact, we all live for helping others and for being helped. By remaining united we can do a lot of things. Only love can break down the walls that stand between us and our happiness. The greatest commandment is to love one another. I would like to thank God at the top of my voice for all the love, happiness and hope that would be coming to me.”
Why did Helen Keller give such a message? Both Helen and her teacher needed money to live. They got ready for this show in the hope of being paid. The audience had come to get a glance of this ‘living miracle’ much more than hearing a lecture. Most of them were curious as if they were viewing a rare creation. But Helen Keller’s glory lies in the fact that she suffered all such humiliations and fought bravely for the rights of the physically handicapped people. She declared that the physically handicapped people had the right to live like the normal people.
Helen demanded humanitarian consideration and equality for them. Even today, the life of Helen who successfully conquered obstacles in life is indeed a source of inspiration and zeal for millions of people.
The eventful life of Helen Keller has ever been an inspiration for the physically disabled and for those who suffer discrimination of any kind. She advocated and struggled for their rights till the end of her life.
One of the most interesting vocation stories are with respect to Henri Ford.
Ford’s father was a farmer who wanted his son to follow him in his own footsteps. However young Hernri’s heart was with the motor engine and similar things with which he tinkered.
After furious arguments with his father, he left to chart his own course to create history by becoming one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs.
The lesson to learn here is that one has to see where one’s spontaneous inclination lies and then have the courage and conviction to back is up.
Much later in life, Henri Ford brought into ford a person who could concentrate on all other areas except for manufacturing which was Henri’s forte. Henri ford was regarded as a business genius in his time.
This shows that even geniuses have to indulge in complimentary synergies- supplement their own strength and complement their weaknesses.
Einstein was a a scientist celebrity in his time. Whenever someone would ask for his autograph, he would charge them either $1 for a regular autograph or $5 for signing some memorabilia.
However, it was not out of greed. All the proceeds from this, he gave to charity. He also donated his speaker fees for giving speeches. It’s reported that in his time, he would earn almost $1000 per speech.
Rowan Atkinson (well known as Mr. Bean) once saved a plane-load of passengers during a flight, after the pilot fainted!!!
The Mr. BEAN star was traveling from Mombasa to Nairobi in Kenya with his family on a private plane, when the pilot fell unconscious. At 4,877 meters, the comedian stopped the plane heading towards the ground, despite having no experience of flying an Aeroplane. Rowan’s wife SUNETRA frantically tried to wake the pilot by shaking him and throwing water over him while her husband took charge of the plane. Luckily for the family, the pilot regained consciousness after a few minutes and landed the plane safely!!
An Electrical Engineer to Comedian to a Life Saver…
This is a true story that had happened in 1892 at Stanford University.
An 18-year-old student was struggling to pay his fees. He was an orphan, and not knowing where to turn for money, he came up with a bright idea. A friend and he decided to host a musical concert on campus to raise money for their education.
They reached out to the great pianist Ignacy J. Paderewski. His manager demanded a guaranteed fee of $2000 for the piano recital. A deal was struck and the boys began to work to make the concert a success.
The big day arrived. Paderewski performed at Stanford. But unfortunately, they had not managed to sell enough tickets. The total collection was only $1600. Disappointed, they went to Paderewski and explained their plight. They gave him the entire $1600, plus a cheque for the balance $400. They promised to honour the cheque at the soonest possible.
“No,” said Paderewski. “This is not acceptable.” He tore up the cheque, returned the $1600 and told the two boys: “Here’s the $1600. Please deduct whatever expenses you have incurred. Keep the money you need for your fees. And just give me whatever is left”. The boys were surprised, and thanked him profusely.
It was a small act of kindness. But it clearly marked out Paderewski as a great human being.
Why should he help two people he did not even know? We all come across situations like these in our lives. And most of us only think “If I help them, what would happen to me?” The truly great people think, “If I don’t help them, what will happen to them?” They don’t do it expecting something in return. They do it because they feel it’s the right thing to do.
Paderewski later went on to become the Prime Minister of Poland. He was a great leader, but unfortunately when the World War began, Poland was ravaged. There were more than 1.5 million people starving in his country, and no money to feed them. Paderewski did not know where to turn for help. He reached out to the US Food and Relief Administration for help.
The head there was a man called Herbert Hoover — who later went on to become the US President. Hoover agreed to help and quickly shipped tons of foodgrains to feed the starving Polish people.
A calamity was averted. Paderewski was relieved. He decided to go across to meet Hoover and personally thank him. When Paderewski began to thank Hoover for his noble gesture, Hoover quickly interjected and said, “You shouldn’t be thanking me Mr Prime Minister. You may not remember this, but several years ago, you helped two young students go through college in the US. I was one of them.”
The world is a wonderful place. What goes around comes around!
“I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.” — Mother Teresa
In the early stages of her life, she was fascinated by the stories of missionaries. At the age of 18, she joined the Sisters of Loreto in Calcutta (Now, Kolkata) in order to start the charity works and spread the message of love in the world. She had renamed her name from Agnes to Teresa after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patroness of the missions. She was appointed as a teacher at St. Mary’s School, Calcutta. Sister Teresa became Mother Teresa on 24th May 1937. She taught from 1931 to 1948.
Call of Duty:
The condition of the poor people outside the convent school where she was teaching were utterly bad. It, indeed, hurt her very deeply. She understood the need of the hour to help the destitute. It was really a call from the God to turn her attention towards the poor from then on. With courage and divinity, she had started an open-air school for the slum dwellers of Calcutta. Though she had not got any funds at the beginning, things were gradually changing positively to help her service by many volunteers. Once financial support were coming in, she had got all the power to serve to the humanity in a better way!
She did not stop with the service of teaching the poor children. She had also taught the adults and gave medical treatments to the ill patients by providing the basic amenities such as hospitals and clinics. She has been better known for starting off “Missionaries of Charity” with her pupils. Shishu Bhavan, establishment of center for AIDS patients and many Homes had also been started for the orphanages. Her service is still being followed in many parts of the world. She is an ideal person to be a good social worker and set as an example to the entire world as the icon of peace and love.
Mother Teresa was one of the greatest human beings of all time! A gift for the poor and destitute. She had received many high profiled awards. Some of them were:
* Padmashree award in 1962
* Nobel Peace Prize in 1979
* Bharat Ratna in 1980
* The Pope John XXIII Peace Prize
* Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth
* Medal of Freedom
Mother Teresa’s original name was Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. She was the youngest child for her parents, Nicola and Drane. She was born on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Her “true birthday” was considered to be on 27 August, the day of her baptism. Having lost her father at the age of 8, her mother had taken much care, and developed her to had a good character.
Let’s recall the saga of Blessed Teresa in brief (‘Blessed Teresa’ was a title given by Pope John Paul II during the beatification of Mother Teresa.)