Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the great philosopher and former President of India, made his first visit to the United States when John F. Kennedy was the President. The weather was dark and stormy in Washington and when Dr. Radhakrishnan alighted from the plane, it began to pour cats and dogs, as the expression goes.
The young American President greeted his Indian counterpart with a warm hand¬shake and a smile. “I’m so sorry we have such bad weather during your visit,” he remarked courteously. The philosopher-statesman smiled. “We can’t change bad things, Mr. President,” he observed. “But we can change our attitude to them.
“A few years ago I was in Delhi, I was invited by Doordarshan to visit their studios. There I met a wonderful man. He had lost both his arms in an accident. But he had a positive attitude. He trained his feet so that he could take up the job of composing in a press. With a smile on his face and a feeling of joy, he said, ‘I earn Rs.500 a month. I am not a burden on anyone.’
“There was another man whom I met in Pune. He was sitting by the wayside, and he had no legs, only stumps beneath his hips.
‘What happened to you?’ I asked him.
‘Nothing!’ he replied. ‘I was born this way.’
‘May I ask, who takes care of you, my friend?’ I enquired.
‘My mother – and above all, God.’
‘Do you find it difficult, inconvenient to move about?’
‘Do you find it difficult and inconvenient that you don’t have wings?’ he asked me. ‘Don’t you think it would be far better if you could fly on your own, rather than wait to catch a plane?’
‘Life is a matter of habit,’ he added. ‘If you start complaining, there is so much to complain about. It is the attitude that counts.’