A few days ago, while on vacation, I got a throat viral. Illness on holiday can be a real bummer: you can’t really enjoy the good times when your diet is limited, when anti-biotics line up your table, when you have to call up your doctor twice a day to give an update. And yet, in illness, I found something more precious in life: it’s called humanism. Krishna, a young staff member at the hotel we were staying in at Hampi was so worried by my constant cough that he offered me an instant Ayurveda remedy. Have this morning and night, he told me. For three days he kept a vigil on me, his sunny presence brightening up my day. Every morning and late night, he would ensure that I had taken his prescribed recipe of hot water with tulsi and ginger. On the long drive back from Hampi to Goa, our driver Rizwan suggested a pepper based medicine, even giving me a demonstration of how it was to be taken. Having dropped us off, he sent me an sms reminder of how it was to be taken. ‘Barabar gale mein Jaana chahiye sir,’ he said.
Once home, my family took over: my wife Sagarika had tended to me through three terrible nights of continuous coughing, ensuring that I was never short of support. My daughter put a blanket for me when I slept, my son gave me health and fitness tips, my mother, sister, brother in law all chipped in. And Sudhir, the man Friday at our Goa home, would personally prepare the cashew feni and warm water concoction before I slept. In each of their actions, I sensed warmth and concern. We sometimes take the love of our family for granted. We sometimes forget the little things that strangers do for us. I may never meet Krishna and Rizwan again, but their generosity of spirit struck a chord. As 2016 draws to a close, I wish to think of them and many others who have touched my life in some small or big way. I pray that we all share and give more, think more of how we can make the world around us a better place rather than be trapped in a slough of despondency. Kindness and compassion often comes in small doses but it’s impact can be very great, often even transformative . A video I saw this year of a poor boy with a broken slipper who rushed to help someone whose tennis shoes had fallen off the train touched my heart.
We may not be able to change the world around us. But let us all resolve to help atleast one person less fortunate than us to have a better life. In the happiness of others, we will discover our inner joy. Wish all of you a peaceful and blissful 2017.