“Excuse me! Could you tell me which is the house of Peter & Bella Fernandes” I asked the man behind the counter of that little Cigarette shop at one end of a narrow street in Camp area of Belgaum City.
The man pointed towards a small house that had a blue exterior with an old Raleigh bicycle Parked in front of it. I thanked the shopkeeper and moved towards Peter’s house.
Peter & his sister Bella were related to our next door neighbors Maxi & Alice Fernandes. I was in the city on a vacation at my Granny’s place. Alice had sent some things for them and I was here to deliver them.
“Coming……..!” A heavy, low pitched voice answered the doorbell before a short, just about 5 feet tall, stoutly built, middle-aged, bald man with dark complexion opened the door.
“Yes……! Who do you want please!” The question was devoid of any expression and the look in his eyes was as cold as ice. I collected all my power to say who I am & what am I here for.
A smile appeared on his face and the door was opened with a carefully worded welcome remark “Oh ! Hello! I am Peter ! Please come in! Bella……,” he called for his sister “Look, somebody is here from Maxi’s
Bella greeted me with a cheerful smile. I left their place after about one hour of chit chatting with a promise to return for more. Peter spoke very seldom while Bella just didn’t stop talking ! What a contrast, I thought !
A few days later I and Peter planned a short visit to Goa. He had some business to attend and I wanted to see the place.
We visited a lot of places of tourist interest during the two days we were in Goa and now it was time to return. We were to take a night train back to Belgaum.
All was well till evening, when I developed a severe headache as we prepared to leave Goa. As the Railway station was close by, Peter suggested that we walk our way. I was quite uneasy with the tearing headache but still chose to follow him. I bought a few Aspirin tablets on the way.
We had our dinner in a restaurant near station. I was about to take medicine, when Peter suggested that I take it once we are on the train.
The headache was getting stronger by every passing minutes and I definitely did not take his advice kindly. But there was some thing in his voice that made me follow his advice.
I must mention here that all this while, to add to my woes, Peter was explaining to me a few good-health lessons for life. He was suggesting that taking medicines should be avoided at all costs.
Soon we were in the train and now I was feeling that if some thing is not done immediately, my head would split into two halves.
Peter’s health bulletin continued without a break. He said Medicines do no good to our health. In fact they weaken our immunization system. One should avoid taking medicines for minor disorders like headache, body ache etc.
The headache was now so severe that I felt Peter’s voice was reaching me from far away through a hollow tunnel. I thought I would faint any moment.
Peter made my bed and asked me to lie down. I was so weak , I just followed his advice. But I knew one thing for sure that if at that moment I had any strength left in me I would have thrown Peter out of the running train.
None of his sermons made any sense to me. I was wondering how any body could be so insensitive ! I will never ever see this person again once I reach Belgaum, I swore to myself !
Peter took out a muffler from his bag and tied it around my head and asked me to relax. I don’ know how long & what was he talking to me as I soon fell fast asleep.
The next thing I remember was Peter’s heavy voice waking me up as we were about to reach Belgaum.
We reached Belgaum at 5.00 AM. The dawn was just breaking & it was pleasant outside. Peter suggested that we would walk our way home. I was feeling absolutely fresh & fine & we enjoyed our walk in the cool morning breeze.
It was only when I was telling granny about Goa trip that I suddenly remembered about that dreaded headache I suffered last evening. And with that I remembered all those sermons of Peter which had sounded so unbearable.
Friends, it was a miracle ! There were no traces of that severe headache any where ! Suddenly all those things that Peter had said were making sense to me. I felt those Aspirin tablets in my pocket, took them out & threw them in the dustbin.
It has been 24 years since the above incident happened. It has also been 24 years that I have very seldom taken any medicine for headaches, body aches etc.
It has also been 24 years that I have been grateful to a simple unassuming soul called Peter Fernandes who taught me a wonderful lesson when I needed it most ! And probably will be till I breathe my last !
I remember you Peter!, one of my countless number of revered teachers, with a deep sense of gratitude, on this day i.e. 5th September, which is celebrated in India as “Teacher’s Day” !
In gratitude !
Nitin Kulkarni © 5th September 2003
Nitin Kulkarni; a global person with Indian abode; keen follower of human processes; a catalyst in human relations; disciple of serenity, simplicity, & excellence; is on an experiential learning expedition in life. Founder of “PAM”, the “Positive Attitude Movement”, he is also the facilitator of PAM’s universal expression “Nascent Dew Drops” , a free weekly E-zine of inspirational and motivational stories from real life experiences.
His other articles can be viewed on the web page Nitin Kulkarni’s work or can be requested by sending him an email. Visit his web site http://www.nascentdewdrops.com or log on to http://www.topica.com/lists/Nascent_Dew_Drops/ to register with the “Nascent Dew Drops” mailing list ! “Nascent Dew Drops” can also be subscribed simply by sending a blank e-mail to mailto:Nascent_Dew_Drops-subscribe.topica.com .