F and M

A LETTER arrived in the mail some time ago from a financial institution, telling me that the person named therein had sought assistance for a house loan to extend his residential accommodation. That they had been authorised to refer to me to substantiate the applicant's credentials and, credibility. Could I please respond confidentially, to the queries overleaf? Confidentially be thrown to the winds. The person named therein happened to be uncle F. No blood relation, but a dear "uncle" nevertheless. Having answered all the questions in the questionnaire, " to the best of my knowledge " a man of honour and integrity" and that his "family enjoys an excellent reputation among the elite, as also among the less privileged ones of our community in Delhi. Without doubt, I recommend the advance".

My spontaneous and favourable response was not without reason. F and his wife M, have over the years endeared themselves to scores of people like me who landed in town lonely and forlorn, knowing not a soul-friend or foe--always on the look-out for a welcoming smile. Their "open house" attracted a cross-section of humanity to share in their cauldron of bubbly laughter, gutsy wit, genuine warmth and affection, and of course, occasional pot-luck.

A household that had so much to give, which could prove to one and all that one did not need to possess in plenty to be able to share and give in plenty.

That's how it was-and their bonhomie and large-heartedness extended to all and sundry, with no distinction whatsoever made on grounds of caste or creed, rich or poor. Having know them for some time, I also discovered their love for animals, particularly of the canine kind-a love that I shared. Which led to their adopting little Gypsy, our apso Ringo's baby. Through F and M, we found new members for our growing family of dog-relations-- dog lovers who provided good homes to the offspring of our own menagerie.

My story of F and M wouldn't be complete if I were to ignore the heights they, especially M, have reached in mastering Hindi over 40-odd years of life in Delhi. It is common place to witness M at the piggery telling the butcher, " Humko poke paile karo man!" or for that matter to find her in the bazar on a rainy day, extending her generosity, inviting a dripping stranger on the road to shelter under her umbrella. "Aamra andhar ayenga?" Or worse, "hamra chaati pakdo, men!."

F and M have long retired from active service-but not from community service. Ever ready to help the needy, among other things they do is their regular visit to the "Home for the Aged". To cheer and succour the old in their twilight years-- to share the festive spirit with them, to sing Christmas carols at Yuletide, and most of all, to give of their abundant love and affection.

Which goes to prove, that someone up there ensures that there is still enough good around, through people like F and M, amidst all the travails and the maladies prevalent in the 'Kaliyug' that we live in and despair about.

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