It was 5th Nov. 2008. The day was Monday. I can never forget the date or the day. The memory of that day is still afresh in my mind like an event of yesterday. On that day, an unforgettable event took place in my life. That was the day when I met Mother Teresa, popularly known as the ‘Saint of the gutters’, face to face at her home in Kolkata. The encounter left behind an indelible imprint, which the waves of time will never erase from my memory.
I was then a student of class VIII and had gone for an excursion to Kolkata together with twenty other classmates of mine. We reached Kolkata on 3rd November by train. As soon as we landed in Kolkata, the leader of our excursion group, Shri Prakash Shah, tried his best to make an appointment to see Mother Teresa.
Unfortunately she was out of station visiting some of her institutions in South India and was not expected to return within few days. We were all disappointed. However, the next day 4th November, at about 7 O’clock in the evening, we received a call from Mother Teresa’s house telling us that Mother had returned unexpectedly and would be available to see us in the next morning at 8.10 a.m. We were all delighted at the news.
I had heard so much about her. Everyone considered her a ‘living saint’ and’ ‘an angel in human face’. I had a great desire to see her in person. I could hardly sleep that night. I was going to see one of the most famous personalities of our century.
She was the only person in the world for whom Presidents, Prime Ministers and Kings waited in reverence. She could walk into White House or the 10th Drowning Street in London freely. All these thoughts filled me as I went to bed. Somehow the night dragged on and I could hardly wait for the morning.
Next morning at about 7.50 a.m. We reached Mother Teresa’s Headquarters, and waited for her for some time in the parlour. All of a sudden Mother entered the room. We all stood up in reverence. She was barefooted. She looked worn out and tired. Her face and forehead were full of wrinkles.
She was small in stature and stooped a bit. She wore a white sari with blue fringes. She spoke slowly but spoke with zeal. I guess that she must have been over seventy. Yet she had a lively spirit. I was very fortunate. She stood just in front of me and all of a sudden she placed her right hand upon my head.
I felt like a flash of lightning passing through my entire body. I felt a shiver. I just looked at her and knew that she was saying a prayer for me. I was so taken up with her touch that I didn’t hear well-what she said to us.
But one line struck me which even today reverberates in my mind. “Little children, God live in you. Never let Him down in your life”. These words continue to echo and reecho in my mind even after many years.
She then led us to the chapel and asked us to pray for the world, the sick and the poor. Finally, she gave us a small picture card on which she had already signed and exhorted us to be good students who care for others. Her simple words and simplicity impressed us all. We all felt that we had seen a ‘holy woman’ and ‘an angel in flesh’. It was, so far, the most memorable event in my life.