Asia’s Darkest Day
I’m feeling nostalgic today. It’s not because this week’s pick is black and white, either. It’s just the story behind it that still means a lot to me.
This picture was taken the summer of 2004. Our group took a three-day vacation to the beaches of Chennai to relax and get some sun. The whole time we were there, merchants would walk the beach and try to sell us things. 🙄 Some made it a point to come by every day and spend time with us. The lady in the picture with the cloth was one of them. There was also an older gentlemen who had hand-carved stone sculptures of different sizes. They each spoke multiple languages, as they needed them to keep up with the different tourists that came by the beach. English was one language they were very familiar with, though they had not yet learned to read. Some of our group got the idea to give them some English papers we had with us in exchange for discounts on their items. They were excited for the trade, because they could practice better with them. In the meantime, I sat and talked with the two as they crisscrossed the beach every day. When it was time for us to leave, they seemed sad to see us go. The man even gave me a gift – a tiny granite carving of a turtle that he had made himself. It was small enough to go on a necklace. Awwww!
In time, I went back to the USA. I put the carving in a safe place and didn’t think of it much until a few months later. I was visiting family for Christmas and saw the news: a giant tsunami had hit eastern India. 😮 Chennai was right in the path of the waves, and much of the coast was devastated. The reports said many were killed, but some escaped. I had no way of knowing if my merchant friends had made it out or not. I wanted to jump on the next plane to India and help out (my visa was still good for another week or so), but school and work requirements made that impossible. I was left not knowing, and still don’t know what happened to them. But I treasure that little turtle carving now, and keep it as a reminder that I should make the most of life and my relationships, because I never know what tomorrow may bring.
Have you ever had a moment that reminded you to treasure your relationships? Where were you during the 2004 tsunami and how did it affect you?