Perspective: Raw, Ugly & A Reason to be Grateful

Abhishek Paul
2 min readAug 31, 2018


There’s a lady I see almost everyday. She sits on the foot over bridge that I take to work. She lives / waits on the charity of the the folks rushing by. Most of them ignore her. She doesn’t raise her voice. The first time I noticed her I was shocked to see that she had no fingers on either hand. I gave her some money and went on my way. To say she gave me perspective on my life and problems is an understatement. She is a regular reminder of how fortunate I am. But, this isn’t about me, is it? It’s funny how self centred we can be.

When my giving became a more regular activity, I tried to give her a brief smile. She would respond with a bigger and more genuine one (my smile was very apologetic). She would also fold her hands — just the palms in her case, to show her appreciation.I felt undeserving.

Sometime later I added a greeting asking her how she was (I felt ridiculous asking a woman in her condition such as question!). But she, bless her soul, did not seem to mind — in fact, she responded brightly and even asked me if my family was doing well! I don’t know what she’s made of — but I sure wish I had some of it.

I don’t want to romanticize her condition. I know she’s miserable sitting in the hot sun everyday and waiting for someone to drop a few coins in her bag. I know I haven’t done anything for her either.

But by choosing to overlook her condition and smile at me, she shows me how precious my family, health, job and just life is in general. She has given me a reason to be a little less selfish and show a little more kindness. To be less complaining and more grateful. Whenever I fall short, as I often do, all I have to do is walk over that bridge once again and be reminded that kindness and love should not depend on my circumstances.