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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Heart karma

In Melaka, Chinatown and Little India are separated by the Melaka River. There is one street in Chinatown, close to the river, where a few shop-houses are inhabited by people of Indian origin.

Earlier this year I was walking along this street when I noticed there was a grocery shop that hadn't been there last year. I wanted to buy some nuts so I wandered in to enquire. The proprietors were very friendly and we started chatting. After I left (with the nuts) I had walked past a few more houses when I heard a voice calling me.

The proprietor of the shop I had just left beckoned me to return. When I did he asked if I would like to come to dinner on Sunday. He said they were having another couple of Westerners and perhaps I would like to meet them. I agreed.

On Sunday at Ravi's house I met Normand and Ursula as well as all of Ravi and Vasantha's children. I have written about Ravi and Vasantha's family in earlier blogs. Now I would like to concentrate on Normand and Ursula who have become very dear friends.

They are of about my age and live a similar lifestyle. That is, they are retired and spend most of their time travelling. They have seen much more of the world than I have. Normand is a natural and lively storyteller and would often engage me with fascinating stories about their travels.

While Normand's spiritual heart is both beautiful and healthy his physical heart is not so strong. One day in Melaka he and Ursula were outside the Makota Medical Centre when Normand had a heart attack. He was admitted straight into the hospital and given heart surgery.

A few months later he is healthy and he and Ursula have now moved on from Melaka. He speaks very highly of the standard of care he was given at the Makota Medical Centre. The treatment cost him about $10,000. He estimates it would have been four times that much if he had been home in Canada at the time of his heart attack. He did not have insurance to cover the operation

I related this story to a friend in Australia recently who had asked about medical treatment in Asia. My friend then said, 'What if he had been in a village at the time of the attack?' I believe it was significant that Normand had the heart attack outside the hospital. The weakness in his heart is genetic he was stuck with it. But somehow, I believe, his karma had led him to be in the best place for him to have the heart attack. Normand is a truly beautiful human being. He deserves the best and that was what he got.

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