CAMIL PARKHE | Thursday, 26 February 2015 AT 07:37 PM IST
Mother Teresa Home in Goa is located at an important junction in Panaji, connecting the 18th June Road and the road leading to St Inez. And yet, the existence of this typical Goan tiled house is hardly noticed just as the silent works of the nuns of Missionaries of Charity who reside there. St Don Bosco School located nearby is an ideal landmark to help a visitor to find the Home for the Aged and Destitute run by the Missionaries of Charity sisters. Many years back I was a frequent visitor to this institution when along with my college friends, I offered my services to the poor, disabled and senior citizens inmates there.
On Sunday mornings, our group of three to four college youths used to arrive at the Mother Teresa Home equipped with aprons, pairs of scissors and razors, our mission being giving a new or somewhat civilised look to the male inmates who most often looked barbarian with their long dishevelled hair and unkempt beards.
The sisters there, a majority of whom were Keralites or Bengalis, would entrust us with the inmates and get themselves busy catering to the large number of destitute women, children and elders living there. The next two to three hours, we would give the inmates haircut, shave their beards and also cut nails of their fingers and toes. One by one, the inmates would step into the chairs placed before us and by the time we finished our job, they would have a complete new look as they would get haircut and shaving done only once in three months. At that time, as a teenager I had not even started shaving myself on a regular basis and so as a precautionary measure I offered my services only for giving haircuts.
During these visits, I saw how the Missionaries of Charity nuns tirelessly worked for the poor, destitute, abandoned elders and persons with chronic diseases. And yet, they always managed to retain smiles on their faces. After our visits back home, we used to cleanse ourselves thoroughly with soaps and disinfectants, lest we contact any diseases after spending time with the inmates of home for the aged and destitute. However, like those nuns, none of us ever wanted to know about the religion or the caste of those whom we were helping.
The last time I visited the Mother Teresa Home in Panaji was in mid-1980s when Mother Teresa arrived in Goa for the first time after she was conferred the Nobel award. At that time, I had gone there as a reporter of a local English daily. I shook hands with the Nobel laureate, spoke to her a few sentences and lingered around her for some time, hoping to get a good copy for my newspaper. But I was disappointed. The Living Saint spoke very little almost in a whispering voice, about loving everyone, especially those in need. Next two days, I covered Mother Teresa's visits to Mapusa and other places in Goa and experienced the same. The short, old frail woman was most humble, always wore a smile on her face and often held hands of those who greeted her.
The question now raised is whether this woman was serving the poor and the destitute with a motive to convert them to Christianity. The Mother spoke very little and let her actions and deeds speak for her. Her thoughts and actions for the destitute attracted the most powerful political leaders and personalities like Princes Diana towards her. The fresh controversy about her motive for social work has indeed revived memories of Mother Teresa and once again underlined her work for the poor and destitute.
Disclaimer: The opinion expressed within this blog is personal opinion of the author. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the blog do not reflect the views of Sakal and Sakal does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.The author can be contacted at @camilpark on Twitter.