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Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Miracle of Applying Faith in Daily Life

I have waited for this weekend eagerly because I so want to share this inspiring story with all of you, my readers. It is regarding one of the many miracles that I have witnessed ever since I based my life on faith and my prayers on my actions.
My colleague, Saswato, came to me three weeks ago with imploring eyes and a request of putting him in touch with some NGO's as he wanted to raise money for the treatment of a 1.3 year-old infant who is suffering from a life-threatening disease. The infant, a little girl named Shuvangi, is the daughter of Saswato's friend Sudip, who had been diagnosed with biliary artesia, a liver disease and doctors had already predicted that she would sink into a coma from tomorrow, the 10th of March. In lay-man's terms, it is a disease of the liver which is gradually stiffening her liver leading to a completely dis-functional organ which in turn, is leading to a complete break-down of the baby's life-machine.
Shuvangi Banerjee

As Saswato related to me how he and his group of friends have been running from pillar to post, urging, requesting, almost begging friends, relatives and every possible network of theirs to raise the humongous amount of money that would be required for the girl's liver transplant operation, I only kept thinking of the figure that he mentioned for the operation- INR 14 Lacs (USD 22, 862 approx).

This was the "discounted" figure which was benevolently offered by the Narayana Hrudayalaya, the original cost of operation being INR 32 Lacs (USD 52, 255). This gesture was shown to Sudip, the child's father as he belonged to a modest background with a small, honourable government job.

Without thinking much, I decided to speak to my Boss and the Director of my company, Soumen Sarkar. A father of a toddler son himself, an eager and benevolent donor of various causes himself, Soumen encouraged me to go ahead with my idea of raising some donations within the Nexval office itself.
Soumen Sarkar, Director, Nexval, at Hamari Muskan, Bowbazar
Soumen Sarkar, Director, Nexval, with the children at Hamari Muskan, Bowbazar

Announcements were made and promptly enough, most employees ambled to my cabin and donated the money in cash or opted for a salary deduction and touched my heart by thanking us for giving them the opportunity to donate to a good cause.

As donations poured in from our Kolkata and Bangalore offices, Soumen seemed not very happy with the figures. I wasn't sure what he had in mind. He gave me a few more contacts of consultants of our company and himself made a few phone calls. Faizi and Pradeep, two more senior colleagues, helped me put together the figures in an excl sheet and themselves donated generous amounts for the cause. Soumen then revealed to me that he was looking at a figure of INR 1 Lac from our donations so that he could double it up to INR 2 Lacs with the company's funds. I took a deep breath and silently took this news to Faizi, Pradeep and Saswato, who was almost in tears.
Saswato informed me that through benevolent sources, his friends' circle had been able to raise about INR 6 Lacs for the cause so far. Meanwhile, 10th March hammered away at us and we needed to bring the donation scheme to a close. I discussed with Soumen and we saw that we were still INR 17,500 short of 1 Lac. Soumen immediately took out his cheque-book and donated that amount from his personal account and asked me to proceed to the Finance Department for doubling up the amount from Nexval.

Today is the 9th of March and I got an sms early morning from Saswato, thanking all of us on behalf of Sudip who has started for Bangalore with Shuvangi and his wife. With INR 2 Lacs from our side and some more good samaritans of Kolkata, Sudip's kitty has now shot up to about INR 11 Lacs.

As I read the text on my phone, I said to myself that it is Sudip himself whom all of us must thank. He and his wife have set an example for all of us to follow. Sudip and his family have proved how faith can transform our lives. They have proved how mountains can be moved with prayers. They are the biggest inspiration to this city and epitomes of strength, perseverance and the fact that miracles are possible.

In her speech at the Harvard Commencement, J.K. Rowling points out that the highest quality a human being can achieve is that of "compassion". It is a requisite that only human beings are capable of achieving because of the great gift called "imagination" that we all are bestowed with. Human beings, only through their power of imagination, can put themselves in the shoes of their fellow-beings and understand each other's woes. Imagination is important in human life - not only for understanding each other, but for creating magic through this understanding!

That brings me to those thousands of people around Sudip who were able to extend their compassion, understand his journey and lend a hand. A million salutes to all of them!
My Buddhist mentors say that when one's inherent Buddha nature starts working, thousands of Buddhas manifest in his surroundings to help him. I am sure you now know why I thanked Sudip and his family the most. By not giving up on the face of adversity and by trying till the end, he has manifested his Buddha nature, which in turn manifested into all of us who have extended a hand of compassion and reached out to him and his family.

The operation is a critical one, but I am strongly convinced that all will come out well and we will perhaps be able to invite Shuvangi and her family to our Nexval Office in the future when we will see her healthy and happy.

Little Shuvangi needs our prayers now....more than anything else.....