A room with inside view

In the month of February 1948 Mother Teresa shifted her own residence.
She had found a small room at 14, Creek Lane on the third floor. The house was owned by one Mr. Michael Gomez. Mother Teresa had not much to fill the room with.
All she had was a wooden box with little inside namely, a framed picture of Virgin Mary, a few papers, a mat and two sarees. She took out the picture but where to instal it? The room was bare. So, she set the box to wall and placed the picture on it to stand by the wall.
Mrs. Gomez saw the predicament of Mother and spared a table and a chair. Now there was something to sit on and put things on. There was no need for a bed. Mother would sleep on the mat.
There was no money, food or security for Mother Teresa. She would care little. Her only companion was her irrepressible spirit to work for the poorest and the suffering. Her lonely figure represented the all ‘Missionaries of Charity’ was about.
Gomez family lived on the ground floor. The family consisted of three members Mr. Gomez, Mrs. Gomez and their daughter Mabel.
It didn’t take the family long to know how lonely and resourceless its tenant was. All members of the family tried to help her in whatever way they could. More often than not the family shared its food with Mother Teresa. Gomezs were indeed proud to be associated with Mother once they realised the mission she had undertaken and was striving hard for.
By now Mother Teresa had drafted the rules and the regulations of the Missionaries of Charity. Although she was the lone member of the Mission yet she was strict about the rules.
One of the rules was that Sisters of the mission would not go out alone. As she was the lone member she would ask Mabel or Mrs. Gomez to accompany. They would oblige as far as and whenever possible. Mabel was always willing to do so. For her it would be a kind of excursion.
Rained out woman
One day Mother and Mabel went to Moti Jheel as usual. On such occasions they would invariably return by noon. Mabel was to be back by that time for her lunch. The parents would not like their daughter to be away from home for longer periods for safety reasons.
It was heavily raining that day. The two failed to return by noon. Gomezs started worrying. They waited and waited anxiously. 2 p.m. and still there was no sign of Mother and Mabel.
It was still pouring down. That doubled the anxiety of Gomezs. Then, the couple saw Mother and their daughter returning soaked in rain and mud plastered on their legs. Mr. Gomez was horrified.
He complained, “Mother, you shouldn’t have come in this heavy rain. Two of you could’ve taken shelter somewhere instead. You will catch cold or something worse can happen.”
Mother Teresa apologized for being late and causing great worry to them naturally. And for putting poor Mabel too in trouble.
Then she explained, “We had gone to Moti Jheel slums when it started pouring down. Then we saw a dreadful scene which made us forget about our getting wet and returning home in time. It was pitiable. I felt like crying. It is still giving me shivers.”
Gomezs looked at each other. Mrs. Gomez took Mabel inside to get her change into dry clothes. Mr. Gomez asked Mother Teresa to change her wet saree before revealing her story.
Mother Teresa obliged. Then she narrated the shocking story. There in the slums of Moti Jheel, they had found a woman standing in knee deep water holding baby to her bosom in a roofless hut. Her baby was shivering as it was suffering from fever. The woman was holding an upturned clay pot with one hand over the head of the baby to save it from the down pour. The blowing wind was making the cold severer. The poor woman was covered with a tattered saree which left most of her body exposed. A fistful of rice she had in a rusted tin had been washed away. A bundle of rags and a mudstove floated on the water nearby. Her story was pathetic.
The woman had defaulted to pay the rent for two months which amounted to Rs. 8 at the rate of Rs. 4 only per month. The man who owned the jhuggi had threatened her with expulsion or removal of the structure. The goons of the jhuggi lord had come that very morning and removed the roof of the Jhuggi. The poor woman was staying put in the jhuggi for fear of losing her right over it if she deserted it for whatever reason. She was hoping to get back her roof once she paid the rent dues.
Gomez couple heared the story shocked.
Mother eggd, “Michael! We must do something to help her. A child shouldn’t die for eight rupees.”
She packed available food left overs in a bag. Slinging the bag over her shoulder Mother said, “Come, let’s go Michael. God will help.”
The two contacted some people and explained the situation. With some contributions they were able to scrap together Rs. 8/-. With that the rent due was paid and the woman got back her roof. It should be noted that Rs. 8/- was not a negligible amount as it looks today at that point of time. A rupee had 50 times more purchasing power than compared to today.
Such incidents made her more determined to stay and carry on her battle to serve the poor and the helpless.

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