Bliss in Ignorance... A Fool's Refuge

John was a regular visitor to charity institutions. His life felt incomplete without talking to people in need and trying to make them feel better. He did not donate anything in cash or kind. He spent his time with children, elders or general people in distress that he came across in real life on in some institutions. In an orphanage he always used to meet Peter, a boy who was very enthusiastic in craft and art, but otherwise very depressed person. After talking to Peter time and again, John realized that Peter was always ill-treated by his caretakers as well as his limited friends around. Though, the inmates liked Peter's work, they generally avoided him when it came to real involvement as a friend.

A few months later Peter was liked by a couple who was going to adopt him. Peter wa very skeptical and uncomfortable with the couple who was going to adopt him. Though the couple seemed to be financially good and understanding, there seemed to be some problem. John was somewhat optimistic that the experience in a new world might help Peter become a happy & strong person after facing new challenges and expansion of life. Sadly within some months Peter returned back to the orphanage. When questioned he told that he was living no different life than in the orphanage and infact the couple was being cruel to him. The couple on the other hand complained about Peter's depressing nature and inability to understand situations in the normal way.

John and Peter's relation was becoming stronger day by day after Peter returned to the orphanage. He related well to John and seemed to understand what John tried to explain him. Peter was 14 and since the orphanage had a limit of having kids only under age of 15, John was getting worried for him. Peter on the other hand was also getting worried about the job he would have had to do after being out of the orphanage and to be in a total alien world with no one to understand him as well as John did. John was a widower (his wife and son had died in a plane crash) but he was still passionate about his own life, lost wife and boy. He had never wished to have a liability like a child since he felt he was a free as a soul (without his soulmate). Suddenly, he started pondering over the idea of adopting Peter, which he didn't want to do only out of pity or sympathy that he was feeling now. If he had to adopt, he wanted to first love the boy like his own and then do that.

Finally after some months of self programming (training), John became convinced that he loved Peter enough that he couldn't let him face the world alone, especially with the challenge he faced about understanding simple things the way they are. He thought Peter had enough of bad luck in his life and it was time he could enjoy life and become more comfortable with it. Since Peter consulted John and followed every advice John gave, John believed that it would be easier for him to make Peter happy after adopting him. But before doing so, John clarified to Peter the priority for his own passions - his work, and his eternal love for his lost wife and son. Peter understood John's state of mind and was very grateful to John for considering to adopt him.

Some months went by, and John started realizing that Peter was changing. He was taking John, his family and friends for granted and used to behave very carelessly and erratically. Many a times Peter would blame John for ignoring him for his work or his quiet moments in the memories his lost wife and son. Apart from being depressed and moody, Peter was making normal life of John go haywire with his tantrums and demand for attention. John in turn tried to explain Peter in many ways, sometimes with the help of his friends, of how there were somethings that John couldn't give up. When not understood, John took the final step of not giving any of time for his peaceful thoughts of his lost wife and son but couldn't limit his work hours due to the pressure to take care of himself and Peter. But this also didn't help.

Some months later, Peter's closest friend from the orphanage visited him after years. John was happy that maybe this meeting would help Peter understand his situation better since Peter's friend himself was also having a serious trouble with the parents who had adopted him. John also took Peter and his friend out for a short picnic, a dinner and was happy to see Peter happy until he sat down with Peter and his friend to discuss about Peter's problem. Shockingly John realized that Peter's friend had played an influential role to increase Peter's negative thoughts about John. Peter's friend himself was always incapable about handling his own situation had brainwashed Peter and his way of thinking. Peter and his friend now blamed that John had adopted Peter so that he could have a helper in the house. The claimed that John is a self-obsessed person who was constantly involved in his own work and thoughts of past life. They made endless nonsensical allegations that shocked John, his family and friends.

John was broken after hearing all this at the risk of all sacrifices he had made. Instead of showing gratitude, Peter and his friend had abused John of selfishness, when John had sacrificed many things to make Peter happy. Things were beyond repair since John gave up all hopes because he didn't feel the need to do anything more for Peter ever again. The kind of treatment he had recieved for the greatest selfless move he had made in life left him devasted. He was sure that he could never love or trust Peter ever again. In all this mess, Peter and his friend were still amassing support for their claims by trying to convince John's friends and relatives about the lies they themselves believed in. This made John realized that Peter was not just suffering from a mental illness causing depression or mistrust about everyone around, but also a high level of stupidity which never allow his creativity or good intentions to flourish.

John finally decided that no matter what anyone believed, enough damage was done in his life. It was time to tell Peter to understand the situation well or to leave his house for good. He very well believed that Peter could never be trusted again after this deed and it was impossible to love him as a son again. John also spend a hard time in having discussions with his friends and relatives about Peter, who anyway never believed in what Peter and his friend had told them. They all had to reach to a decision of what had to be done about Peter. Surely enough a tough struggle lied ahead. After several discussions and analysis about Peter's life in the past and present, a decision was taken. John called and told Peter that if he had to live with John, he had to live under certain rules that John put up otherwise Peter had to leave home and find a house of his own. John also told Peter that he had lost all the love and concern he felt for him, and if Peter continued to stay with him, he would have to struggle a lot to revive them, with no surity about their revival. John had made a big mistake in his life, but Peter had made a bigger mistake. After growing old, instead of analysing the failure of his own relations with most of the people he came accross in life, he tried to judge himself from the fewer relations that succeeded.

The further life of John and Peter are unknown because the above story was a metaphorical representation of what we all face everyday in the role of Peter or John. Maybe sometimes we fail to appreciate those who unknowngly help us selflessly, and since we are not selfless enough we cannot actually believe such a selfless deed. On the other hand, sometimes we do help someone selflessly and end up getting kicked in the butt. Whatever the case we have to walk on, but walk on understanding and correcting the mistake we make earlier. Maybe none of us is as selfless as John or as stupid as Peter, but we must always remember to choose the people we should be kind to. We should also control our kindness depending on the response or understanding from the other person. At the same time we should always be carefully observant of what people around do for us, sometimes when we ask them for help.... and sometimes when they just help us understanding that we need it!

Photo credits: Nikhil Gangavane.

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