Friday, February 20, 2015

Role reversal..

Today is United Nations World Day of Social Justice, and over one thousand bloggers worldwide will join their voices to speak through their blogs about compassion. I am one of them. Let’s flood the blogosphere with compassion, kindness, non-judgement and good! Please use hashtag #1000Speak to help spread the word.


Parents are supposed to be role models for their kids, but often kids teach us some valuable lessons too! I attended a parent-teacher interaction at my elder’s one school. His exams had got over and the discussion would be about the child’s performance and other things. When my turn came, I introduced myself and the teacher’s eyes kind of lit up when I mentioned my child’s name.

“Oh, so you are S’s mom? I have been waiting to meet you”, she said.

My son is hardly the mischief monger types and the expression on the teacher’s face clearly was happy, so there was no reason to be concerned!

“You have an adorable child,” she said. “And I must complement you on bringing him up so well.”

Felt good to hear, but I didn’t think I had done something extraordinary. Perhaps she was trying to be pleasant, I thought as I thanked her.

“No, I mean it,” she said, as if she had read my mind, “It is rare to see such compassion at this age.”

Now, I wanted to know what she was talking about! But I didn’t have to ask.

“I have a differently-abled boy ‘A’ in class”, she said. “He sometimes tends to get violent, throw things around and create quite a racket. Sometimes it gets difficult to contain him. No one in class wanted to sit next to ‘A’. Every time I put someone next to him, a parent would come requesting that their child not be made to sit next to the boy. It was almost as if they thought his problem was contagious.
 It was quite a dilemma for me, because making ‘A’ sit alone, would make him feel alienated and I didn’t want that to happen. That is when your son stepped in. He volunteered to sit next to ‘A’. I saw him help ‘A’ with little things, like turning to the correct page while reading, helping him to work out a difficult sum, or sharing lunch with him.  He even spoke to the class one day, explaining how things are already so difficult for ‘A’ and asking them to stop making fun of the poor boy. The bouts of temper and his tantrums have gradually come down and if he listens to anyone in class, it is your son! I am so proud of him.”

I did not know what to say. But I felt incredibly proud of my boy too! He had just taught me a lesson in compassion!

Compassion. Isn’t that such an important value? When we stop making negative judgment about people we encounter. When we look for good in everyone we meet. When we know that everyone’s journey is different and we must learn to respect their journey. When we realise that we know nothing about the battles they fight. When we know that life cannot be too kind or too fair to everyone, and hence taking time to be kind and courteous to all we meet. When we wish to see that people around us do not suffer.

More than anything, being compassionate is a statement of love. 

Pure unadulterated love.  

 Thank you my little one for one of life’s greatest lessons!


Read many more stories of compassion via a linky at Roshni's blog and at #1000Speak.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Weirdly wired..

Once upon a time, very long ago, people visited each other when they wanted to connect. They would go to weddings and functions, meet up during festivals and when they thought about each other. Alexander Graham Bell then gave the world a magical gadget, called the telephone that helped people stay connected when they could not physically meet each other but so badly wanted to. And then all the smart Alecs in the world kept improvising it giving the world smart phones, smarter phones and the smartest of phones, stretching the very limits of imagination.

While people like ‘yours truly’ were still gushing about and making a big deal of how they could access the internet, make presentations, and enjoy video calls, the world zoomed past by their beautiful long noses into a more fantasy filled realm, which by the way, was more real than you could ever imagine.  

People could now not just take pictures on their smart phones but also print it super quick just by connecting to an app and a printer. Another app could convert their smart phones into remote controls and switch on the TV, or the music system. Yet another could connect their fitness bands to their smart phones, race cars, fly drones, or play legacy games. 

People could now glue themselves to their seats and yet know who was at the door, just by looking at their smart phones. When on a journey, they would not have to ever bother about losing their luggage, that they had just locked using their smart phone which also gave them a GPS update should it lose its proximity to them. Their smart phones also connected to their cars, telling them what was wrong with their cars should it develop a snag. Their smart phones were always at their beck and call should they need anything from mechanics to doctors, an app for everything.

But amidst all this, the true magic of the gadget was lost. A G Bell lay turning and twisting in his grave, thinking if he did indeed the right thing in giving the world his invention. People could print pictures but memories were becoming jaded. People could live stream the visitor at their doors, but the joy of opening the door to an unexpected guest was gone. Maybe, there would be no unexpected guest visiting their home after all, in the era of the smart phone, whatsapp and facebook had them all covered. An app could double up as their doctor, but could never compare to the love of being tended to with care.

Everyone had turned into solitary little islands connected to the world only with the smart phones they held in their hands. A phone that was smart enough to connect to everything in the world except to the hearts and minds of people for whom it was originally intended. Bell wished that someone would invent an app to actually connect to that. 

Maybe then, a son would know how his mother pined for him, a man would know the anguish in the heart of his beloved, or a friend would know how sorely he was being missed, just by connecting to an app.  Or better still; the app would miraculously bring their loved ones together even as they thought about them. Exactly like in the times of yore, when all they had to do when they thought of someone, was just go and meet them.

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