The Language of Love!

Rajrupa GuptaMusing16 Comments

        When I found that Write Tribe is hosting a contest spreading kindness and love I couldn’t resist myself. I absolutely had to share this story of my life. It all had happened so long ago, yet the memory of it is still fresh in my head. And it always brings a smile on my face. It also taught me that the language of love is universal. All you need to do is to listen to understand! This Valentines Day when all are busy celebrating love I thought of bringing forth this unusual kind! 


I think I was five when I first met him! I was in the first standard and he took me to the school. In his tricycle rickshaw. I hated him! He was dirty! His teeth were brown. There were thick layers of dirt under his finger nails. And he was always sweating. In school they taught, cleanliness is next to Godliness. It meant he must have been the furthest from God. I resented my father for trusting him with me! I was so scared that he would kidnap me! Perhaps then my father would learn a lesson!

He slept in the abandoned mansion behind our house at night with few other rickshaw pullers. If I craned my neck enough, I could see him rolling chapathis sitting in the stretched veranda, from my room. In the morning he would break a thin branch from our Neem tree that had stretched over the boundary wall to the garden of the mansion and brush his teeth. He never used toothpaste; but it was not because of not using toothpaste, his teeth were brown because he was always chewing paan and spitting brown all over the place.

I was the youngest, the first grader, so my classes ended an hour earlier than the other two older kids who shared the rickshaw seat with me. And therefore I had to spend one hour with him trying to converse with me in broken Bengali.

Every evening, I stubbornly declared that I wouldn’t take his rickshaw the next day. But baba didn’t budge.

Meanwhile, somewhat amazingly, my grandma formed kind of a bond with him. They became close enough for him to start calling her Ma. Every evening after dropping me home, he sat with her for a long time discussing things I had no interest of knowing.

Slowly, somehow, even more amazingly, I started to notice small changes about him. He appeared cleaner, though still with brown teeth, but the dirt under the fingernails were gone. His hair appeared combed and he wore a clean shirt and pant which I suspected were my father’s.

I didn’t know when exactly, but one day suddenly in the middle of a particularly talkative conversation I discovered that I didn’t hate him anymore, that he had gained my trust, if not love, through his tolerance and compassion which were probably brought about by my grandma.

During the summer vacation, he went to his home in Bihar. Grandma told me about his small daughter who lived in his village in Bihar with her mother. Though I never really missed him, I was happy when he came back. His wife and daughter came with him.

Soon afterwards the wife took on maid’s job in many of the households in the neighbourhood. With my father’s help the daughter was admitted to a primary school. He continued to take me to school and live in a room of that abandoned mansion.

A year later we moved out to a different locality. We didn’t see him anymore.


Years later, I had started the secondary school, when one day he came to our new house. He wanted to see my grandma. He said, he had got his own auto rickshaw and wanted my grandma to break open the coconut to inaugurate it. Grandma was so overwhelmed that she cried and put a blessing hand on his head.

Later when I asked her what magic she weaved to bring this about, she said, “I saw him as another human being, equal to me. I loved him. I listened to whatever he had to say, even though I understood very little of his language. I encouraged him to hope, to aspire for a better future. I am grateful that he gave my words so much importance, even though he understood very little of what I said. And I am grateful that I could inspire him enough to work for it.”

It was amazing. They were the two people most unlikely to become acquainted. Yet, here they were. One recognised the other as the person behind all his little achievements and betterments while the other felt grateful at this recognition. Yet they understood very little of what the other spoke. What they say is so true, love needs no language, with compassion and patience anything is possible.

What was his name? I realized I don’t know! I always called him “Rickshaw Uncle!”

 Love,

This post is part of the Write Tribe Valentines Day contest: The Language of Love.

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Riot of Random

16 Comments on “The Language of Love!”

  1. This is the best advice and life learning lesson shared by your grandma, love knows no boundary. "“I saw him as another human being, equal to me. I loved him. I listened to whatever he had to say, even though I understood very little of his language. I encouraged him to hope, to aspire for a better future.” –
    I am truly touched:)
    “I saw him as another human being, equal to me. I loved him. I listened to whatever he had to say, even though I understood very little of his language. I encouraged him to hope, to aspire for a better future. I am grateful that he gave my words so much importance, even though he understood very little of what I said. And I am grateful that I could inspire him enough to work for it.” –

  2. It's so nice of your Rishaw Uncle to ask your grandma to break the coconut. This incident shows love and respect transcends all barrier of class , age , gender etc. A lovely memory of your childhood. At times listening to someone enhances the bond.

  3. Just to let you know that I was here – over a year late – but I’m reviewing the entries to make sure the results of this contest are announced finally. My apologies for the inordinate delay. Keep writing, Rajrupa.

  4. Pingback: The Language of Love #Pledge2BeKind - A Contest - Everyday Gyaan

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