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Moved by a miracle - Deccan Herald
Moved by a miracle
Akhila Vadivelan, March 5, 2017
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DeccanHerald
I t was a lazy winter afternoon in Manhattan for me, on Christmas Eve, 2016. I was away from my family in India, and Christmas is not generally celebrated by the Hindus.

I fought laziness and took a stroll down Fifth Avenue, which was beautifully decorated and a true treat to one’s eyes. I was drawn by the architecture of St Thomas Church on the 53rd Street and took a couple of pictures; to my surprise, the doors opened and I was invited inside for the carols. I took the brochure and walked down the aisle, when an old English gentleman stopped me and directed me towards a seat next to his wife. I thanked him and took the seat.

The first question he asked me was if I was a Sri Lankan. Brown people are either Indians or Pakistanis or Sri Lankans for the whites. I further introduced myself, made small talk, and realised they had Sri Lankan friends. We exchanged email addresses. At the end of the ceremony, I just felt the need to walk with the couple. So I asked, and they readily agreed. We walked down Fifth Avenue and reached the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, took a couple of pictures and spoke about various things from capitalism to Lion King, the broadway show, which I couldn’t afford then. Our next stop was supposed to be at 42 Street-Bryant Park, but that wasn’t the case. I got to witness one of the most beautiful things on 51st Street and Sixth Avenue of New York City.

The elderly English couple met a young Sri Lankan couple and instantly their eyes were filled with tears - they hugged, showed so much joy and affection. I was just staring at them in amazement, waiting to know how they were connected.

Life always takes you through different turns and only sometimes you meet wonderful people. They need to be cherished. Twelve years ago, on December 26, 2004, the young Sri Lankan boy’s family fell victim to the monstrous tsunami. The English couple was vacationing in Sri Lanka but escaped its predicament. They met the boy in a rescue camp and were amazed by his abilities and the environment he had to study in to get into the university. It was their magnanimity to offer help to young Veer, who was now successfully settled in Canada. They had stayed in touch only through emails and Facebook all this while. The elderly couple had come down to New York from North Carolina for the holidays, and he from Canada, and through mere coincidence they had met each other after 12 years.

What could be a better Christmas present for both of them? Just being around them for an hour during dinner at an Indian restaurant gave me so much joy, so much inspiration from both the ends. On one side was a young boy who had to start from scratch in a developing nation, and had now settled in one of the developed nations, and on the other side was the benevolence of the lady who raised big sums to help the needy. I was in awe. I was longing for a story, but this one overdid any other experience for me in the US. I’m glad I took so many turns, or rather, life took me down so many turns to witness beauty in the true sense.


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