On my way back from a fun trip to Rishikesh with my friends, I met a lady who not only changed the way I looked at life but also gave me countless little laughs as fond memories. Since my bus was delayed, I took my camera and went on to click some random pictures. Amidst the activity, I bow down to tie my shoe laces and that is when I see this group of ladies resting at a corner. Something sensed and I walked up to them to ask if they wished to get photographed. On being asked, they nodded an exciting ‘Yes!’
I began clicking their pictures and chit chatting with them. And, that is when I noticed Shanti who had her left hand terrifyingly swollen.Shanti was the chirpiest of all. My curiosities lead to a deep intense conversation with her.
Shanti is 70 years old and lives in a village in Najafgarh. She is a patient of Breast Cancer since past 10 years. The happy and evergreen nature of Shanti took me by surprise as the pain and suffering of the fatal disease did not shadow Shanti even a tiny bit. Overwhelmed with the fact that I photographed her, she allowed my curiosity intervene into her personal life and her struggles.
Shanti was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago and the doctor who was treating her made a very clear statement that her life would reach its last fold in maximum 5 years. We can imagine the quivering situation Shanti must have undergone but neither did the doctor’s statement nor did her medical reports break Shanti’s courage and determination. Shanti is a firm believer in god and she believes that no man or no disease has the power to take away a man’s life until the supreme almighty decides to do so. It is ten years now since the ailment and Shanti had lived five added years than what the doctor had stated. The only thing that bothers Shanti a jiff is her 10killogram heavy hand.
It is not the winning or losing that matters in the end…
I was driven away with the fact that if I wouldn’t have noticed her hand, I would have never would have come to know that she suffers from such a deadly disease; such was the charm and liveliness of the 70 year old Cancer fighter. I asked her that what message she would like to communicate to the young generation of today who give up too easily. She said, ‘I just want them to understand the worth of life and that it is not the winning or losing that matters in the end, it is the lessons that we learn during our tour on this wonderful planet. Everybody who is born has problems, one cannot escape that. You should always remember that you have got only one life and you must make the most of it’.
She told me about the times her doctor mistreated her by making cruel comments to her family members by telling them not to spend so much money on the costly injections as she will be dead soon. Such miserable comments or judgements do not affect Shanti. She said, ‘We all are mere human beings, the power is with the God and that God is happy with me. Shanti believes in Karma and says, ‘Those who hurt me or try to harm me will be taken in account by my God’.
Despite Cancer weaving its roots inside her, Shanti leads a very happy life with her family. She does all the household works and continues to live a normal lifestyle. She says that nothing should stop one from finding his/her way to happiness. I asked her that even after rooting such courage and determination, doesn’t she face blue days where everything starts feeling temporary. To this Shanti fired back a question at me which answered everything. She asked me, ‘Aren’t we all temporary here?’
Ashwathi is an enthusiastic traveller and dancer with a passion for movies and music. Hailing from an Army background, she considers herself fortunate enough to have experienced the diverse cultures that India boasts of. She is a graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications and has worked in print, radio and television.