It is one of the most impressive old structures among the heritage buildings along the sea front, looked after with total dedication by a tall Anglo-Indian gentleman with a booming voice. The building would have gone to the dogs if not for this one man. And yet I remember him twenty-two years ago; a watchman for an orphanage, he was an alcoholic and lived more in the gutters where he fell asleep after his last drink than in the room which the trustees of the orphanage had given him.
He was Mr. Nobody.
One day he decided to change. It was a long haul from his little room to the hospital rehab centre. I was there often dragging him back to the centre from the local bar he strayed into. Finally he made it and then came this job as caretaker and then manager. Those were tough days. Today when people visit the building they know who is behind its restoration and maintenance. Now he is Mr Somebody.
It was the same with my friend from Orissa. He was a poor farmer’s son who lived in a small thatched hut. His job was to work from morn to dusk with his father in the fields. He was a ‘nobody’ if ever there was one. One day he fell sick. The doctors told him his disease was fatal. He lay in bed waiting for death when a man of God entered his room, prayed for him, and he was healed. Suddenly he was a changed man; his one mission was to tell people about God.