An old man was a regular customer at a toy shop. Every weekend he would buy a couple of toys from there. He had been doing it for years. The young salesgirl often remarked, “You must be a favourite with your grandchildren. They are lucky to have such a wonderful Grandpa!” Each time he would walk into the store, the sales girls there would rush to him and show him the new toys available.
One Saturday he bought a beautiful pink doll with a musical voice that said, “Grandpa loves you, Grandpa loves you!” Next Saturday, he bought a fluffy blue teddy bear and a toy train. The salesgirl asked, “Did your grand daughter like the doll you took last time?” The old man gave a broad smile and said, “Absolutely, she loved it.” The following Saturday he purchased a box of Scrabble and some Builder Blocks.
One day the sales girl of the store happened to visit the hospital to look up a sick Aunt. As she walked through the corridor on the fourth floor of the Private ward, she heard peals of laughter coming from a room at that far end of the ward. A voice yelled, “Toy Grandpa, Raju is pulling my hair! It seemed as if a lot of children were having a party. “Is this a hospital or a playground?” she wondered. Curiosity got the better of her.
She walked up to the room. A sign outside said – PLAYPEN. She took the liberty to peep into the room. The sight she saw inside, took her breath away. The old Grandpa was sitting on the floor with children all around. One little girl was hanging playfully over his back. He was playing scrabble with two boys, while helping another to string a bow. Yet another little girl lay in his lap, playing with a rattle. At the rear end of the room were a group of five girls playing with dolls. Strangely, all the children looked sick, yet happy! Suddenly she caught sight of a pink doll that looked familiar. Then she saw the fluffy blue teddy bear and then the toy train and many more….
Just then, Grandpa looked up and noticed her, “Oh! Nice to see you girlie! What brings you here?” The girl stuttered, “You bought toys for these children?”
Grandpa, smiled and said, “Yes, they are all my grandchildren.” On a quieter note he said, “You see this is the children’s cancer ward. All this children are terminally ill. Like me, they also have a short lease of life left. I know how they feel. So, I come here to play with them.”
The salesgirl learnt that the in-house child patients were allowed to play at the PLAYPEN for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Grandpa came here everyday to play with them. All the children, called him ‘Toy-Grandpa’.
Toy-Grandpa said, “I had saved a small amount of money. I put it in a bank. The bank gives me an interest on it. Every Saturday, I spend the interest amount to buy toys. That way I spend my interest to buy something that is of interest to them. It’s just a conversion of interest, nothing more! And by the way, I love it as much as they do.”
Life, they say is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away!