Sunday, March 22, 2009


I was standing at the Menaka bus stop. It was a hot afternoon. A man accosted me saying that God will bless me if I help him. I looked at him and found nothing was wrong with him. So I asked him what was his problem. He said his name was Mathew and he was from the nearby town Angamaly. He had too many problems. He started to cry, wipe his eyes , blow his nose and wipe his hand on his shirt. It was disgusting to see him because he was not really crying.

Again I asked him what was his problem. He said that he was working in Kala Bhavan as a musician and now he has retired. At present he has another job. His wife died 17 years back. His children are doing well. God will bless me if I help him with some money. I was puzzled.

Once more I told him there is nothing wrong with him.

Suddenly he asked me whether I had lunch. I told him I ate early and I was not feeling hungry. He insisted that I must be hungry at that time in the afternoon and said that he has some money and he will buy me a lunch. He took out some money and showed me. I firmly told him I not at all hungry.

Then he said that I am a very good man and I should be his father in the next life. I told him I was younger than him and therefore I cannot be his father. Then he thought for a while and said that at least I can become his son. I told him that that was quite a possibility.

I was getting quite fed up and I wanted to go from there but not before taking some photos. So I told him I want to take his photos and keep it in my album as a memory. He readily agreed. When he moved from the hot sun, he was staggering and was almost falling. I caught him and steadied him. Only then I realized that he was completely drunk at that time in the afternoon.

He insisted on shaking my hands. I was revolted. He wiped his eyes, blew his nose and now he was proffering that to shake. He would not let me go without shaking his hand. I shook his hands and ran to the nearest restaurant to wash my hands with soap.

Amazing are the ways of drunkards. He came to me asking for money and finally ended up feeling sorry for me and offered to buy me lunch.


Mel said...

My goodness, Joseph, you are a brave man indeed. There aren't many people I know who would have dared to carry on a conversation with that person. I'm proud of you for talking to him, even though he was embarassing himself so profoundly. I wonder what circumstance in his life, if any, has caused him to be that way?

Bless you, dear friend!

Leo said...

Charity requires patience and wisdom so that we are helping the person and not the problem. You have learned this lesson well. I like the pictures of life around you; the traffic, the flowers. Such a busy place!

magicpolaroid said...

Hi Joseph, U are very good person!!


You were indeed brave to carryone a conversation with this man, but I wonder why was he so drunk in the afternnon? what led him to go down that road. You are a good person Joseph. I enjoyed your write and the excellent photo's.

Take care.


Amrita said...

Very affecting post Joesephji.

A family friend ruined his life becasue of drink. He was very very wealthy man, inherited a huge property but bad company spoilt him.
He was a gold medalist and had a good position in the Accountant General Office.

My parents tried to counsel and help him, but he could not let go. Alchoholism is a disease. He died like a destitute. But he did not ,arry because he did not want to ruin someone else 's life, that was one good thing.

The Bible in the book of Proverbs says

Proverbs 20
1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise

Proverbs 23

30 Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.

31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!

32 In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.

33 Your eyes will see strange sights
and your mind imagine confusing things.

34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.

35 "They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt!
They beat me, but I don't feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?"

John Cowart said...

Hi Joseph,

Just visiting via your comment on Amrita's blog Friday.

Seems like drinking men act the same universally. During the winter here in Florida, droves of them come down from the north to escape cold weather and you can't go anywhere without being accosted. I think you handled this situation well.

Danielle&Hannah said...

Wow, Joseph.. I have had similar encounters but only with drug users. Sometimes people with addictions need to know that under the influence and straight are two different things.
You obviously have a heart for people. It is never a bad thing to be charitable or compassionate.
Addictions are self-inflicted and often related to deep and painful matters. I saw your post and thought, yes, life is what you make it... and sometimes you don't have much to be 'making' but it is imperative you embrace what you have and be the best you can be. There is no shame in your compassion, you never know what impression you have left with that man!

Catherine said...

Maybe, Joseph, this man just wanted an obliging "ear", to draw attention, and speak a little.
You've reacted with great patience, and goodness.

It occured to me the same kind of meeting attending the Mass. I noted a man, not very clean, acting weirdly, mistaking himself during the celebration. I was wondering if he wasn't drunk and if he didn't try to find a refuge inside the church.
The time when we shake hands saying "The Christ's Peace" to each others arrived !!!
Some didn't pay attention to him when he presented his hand. Others did. I made part of the ones who shaked his hand to share the Christ's Peace. In the doubt about his sincerity, I prefered to think he deserved some attention.

I washed my hands carefully too. But I had no regrets about mistaking myself.
Have a nice week.

Femin Susan said...

i enjoyed it much...any way it was brave of you to take that man's photo...and to share it with us...once such a thing happened to my grandfather to....
may be may more people are there alike this one...
take care

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
Well that is an interesting story, reminds me of the scripture that wine is a mocker and whoever is led astray by it is not wise; this may be a perfect example of that. Addictions strip away our dignity and leave us a fool. It is hard to see a man who has been reduced to one like this. Intoxicants may seem to be an antidote for the difficulties in life, often ends up a poison.
But there was something in him that wanted to do a good deed for you, odd, but it reveals something of his heart. Like others mentioned, just simply showing him the courtesy of conversation may have added a little dignity to him.
Difficult situation, I'm glad you shared it.
God bless,

manivannan said...

From the very begining, I had a wide smile reading this post and seeing that man's pictures...

Nice, gripping narration! Very enjoyable post!!


FCB said...

Hi Joseph, those kind of situations are always difficult because they take us off guard. We want to be cordial but then realize they are trying to take advantage of us. I think you did well, we always want to be of some use to someone but it is very difficult when drugs or alcohol is involved.