From the village, the trail went up another few kilometers. By this time, John already started to feel a sense of serenity he had been craving for past several months. Suddenly, around a corner of the trail, there appeared an old lady carrying a hand-made wicker basket on her back. Looking at the complex lines on her face, she could be anywhere between ninety and hundred years old. Amitava spoke a few words in the local language to her. She stopped, unbuckled her back-basket, took out a couple of golden yellow apples and handed one to each of them to taste the sweetness. Amitava explained to John that the lady would collect all those wild apples to sell in the market of the town at the foot of the mountain. However she refused to take any money, while requesting them to offer a prayer on her behalf in the temple.
While changing his flight in London en route to this country, John had picked up that day’s issue of the newspaper Guardian. One of the headlines blared “A recent analysis of the financial wealth of the world revealed that 1% of the world’s richest now own the 50% of world’s wealth”. For a while now, the major economists from reputed academic institutions have been warning about the future consequences of such a disparity in the global wealth distribution. They could foresee the breakdown of the social order, violence, and war breaking out amongst neighboring nations.
But on this autumn day, surrounded by the nature turned into a rainbow due to colorful fall foliage amidst the tranquility of the Himalayan Mountains, John learned the true meaning of sharing. A poverty-stricken lady from an ancient civilization with her face adorned with lines of wisdom taught him that the lamp of humanity would always flicker at different corners of this world amongst the poorest of us, even though a handful of rich would remain only materialistically wealthy.