#1000Speak for Compassion

Image Courtesy: 1000 Voices for Compassion Facebook Group


A noble soul (Yvonne Spence) from a certain corner of the globe started this chain sometime in the last quarter of 2014. Compassion. The only thing that can save the planet. Join this beautiful initiative and speak up for compassion. Over 1200 bloggers around the world have already joined in.

Join the Facebook Page and the Facebook Group for 1000 Voices for Compassion. 

Watch the video to know what this is all about.

Compassion by definition is the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. Compassion is really the act of going out of your way to help physical, spiritual, or emotional hurts or pains of another.

A few years ago, a young guy was passing by our lane. Suddenly he fell down on the road and started frothing from the mouth. The children of the locality who were playing there started shouting for help. The entire neighbourhood assembled and tried all they could to bring him back to senses. From sprinkling water on his face; to making him hold a key; to making him smell leather belts and shoes. By the time neighbourhood doctor arrived, he was up and walking.

Wasn’t that unconditional love for a fellow being? None of them knew who he was. None of them benefited by bringing him back to senses. But they did. And as they saw him walking out of the block, everyone was happy and content. In the whole process, the onlookers, especially the children, learnt what being compassionate means.

Today, innocent children are being slaughtered or gunned down, females being assaulted brutally, men killed for using their right to freedom of speech, teenagers pulling the trigger out of frustration…this and many more. Bloodshed all along. why are we so angry, frustrated, irritated and intolerant? Why do we not think before spitting venom, picking up sticks, pebbles, guns, bombs or showing off our self defense mechanisms? And after all this, we aren’t happy or content. We don’t need this. Neither you. Nor me. Do we?

Image Courtesy: Pinterest
Image Courtesy: Pinterest

We need to be compassionate towards our fellow beings. We need to be tolerant and mature enough to not ignite at the slightest remarks. Do not confuse compassion with feeling pity or sympathetic. Compassion comes from the heart. It is a genuine feeling you have for a person in pain. Many a times all the other person needs is a listening ear, a bear hug, or a pat at the back. If you can do so without judging them on the basis of their colour, caste, religion, nationality, economic status; you’re fulfilling half the purpose of your life.

I now leave you with this beautiful animal song from Savage Garden. This was what the firstborn shared with me when I told her last night that I will be publishing a post on Compassion today.

Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … you can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling — I don’t think it’s any of that — it’s helpless … it’s absence of control — and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers … and anger doesn’t provide any of that — I have no use for it whatsoever.”

[Interview with CBS radio host Don Swaim, September 15, 1987.]

~~~ Toni Morrison

To follow the posts on Twitter, search for hashtag #1000Speak.

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Life Is What You Make It – A Life Lesson

We are all quick to crib about the problems we have, the material things we lack and how life has been unfair to us. I have done that too. Many a times. But I deeply regret.

It took me almost four years to gather enough courage to meet one of my classmates from college who was just blocks away from my workplace till a few months ago. I had planned to meet him many a times. Twice I had hired an auto and halfway through decided to return back without meeting him. I lacked the courage to face him.

You must be wondering why someone needs courage to meet a classmate. So here’s why.

He was the most intelligent and the most energetic guy in the whole batch across all disciplines. You would never find him sitting quietly for longer than a few minutes. His energy most of the times left many irritated for he would ask question after question during a lecture and the lecturer as well as we would get irritated. After all, we were nowhere close to what he would be asking them. I remember how I had once begged him to allow me to concentrate on one of the electronics projects we were working on. His sole intention was to help. But we wanted to learn it ourselves.

After college, I wasn’t in touch with most of my friends. Life took over.

Orkut arrived. I still wasn’t connected. And then in 2009 I joined FaceBook. And slowly I started connecting with school friends, teachers and college mates.

I connected with him in June 2011. Twelve years after college. I was a completely changed person. He too was a completely changed person. But I wish he hadn’t. My friend was studying at a prestigious university in the United States when he met with a near-fatal accident. He had a serious spinal injury which rendered him a C4 quadriplegic. He hasn’t shared any details of his accident and I didn’t probe.

Quadriplegia is paralysis caused by illness or injury to a human that results in the partial or total loss of use of all their limbs and torso. The loss is usually sensory and motor, which means that both sensation and control are lost.

Yes, he was unable to use any of his limbs. In short, he lacks sensation neck down.

I got to know from one of my other college friends that she had visited him sometime after this accident and he was not able to move at all.

I could never gather enough courage to go and meet him in person. I was always worried of how I’ll face him. I am extremely sensitive and didn’t want to make it difficult for him. Hence I kept postponing.

This January when the other college friend of mine informed me of her visit to India and a wish to meet me and my family, I was extremely touched. We were not the best of friends in college. But we had shared three beautiful years in the same class, on the same benches, listening to the same boring lectures on linear algebra, quantum physics, electronic regulators and computer programming. Sometimes we even shared the same plate of Chole Bhature or a Samosa or a Bread Pakora with sixteen other partners in crime. The first thing I asked her was whether she’ll be meeting this friend of ours. When she responded in affirmation, I tagged along still fearing if I should.

Finally I met him this afternoon and I am glad I did. It was necessary for me. Not so much for him.

He is now the Vice President of a company he has founded himself and is doing pretty well. His family is extremely supportive. His brother quit his dollar paying job to join him. His father is always by his side.

He regularly takes physiotherapy and other exercise sessions and is now able to use his hands to some extent. I saw him operate his mobile phone with a pencil attached to a band on his hand. He moves around on his special wheelchair with lots of controls that he can handle himself.

I believe that this would not have been possible without his will power. When most people gave upon life at the smallest instance, my friend chose to survive and excel. He is a really strong willed person and I pray for his wellbeing. Really proud of how he has emerged out of it. The rise of the Phoenix in his own words.

I pray that nobody has to face such a condition. And I also wish that in case we ever have to go through something difficult in life, we must have the mental strength and will power to accept and overcome the same.

I also came to know of another batchmate who was studying in Australia and was killed in a racial attack. His family could not even get his body for the last rites. So much in the name of racism. Sad.

Compassionate we have to be. Tolerant we need to be. Kind we must be. Strong-willed we should be.

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Child Care and Working Mothers

Image Courtesy What To Expect.com
Image Courtesy: What To Expect.com

Motherhood they say is the best experience. True for most of us. At least for the majority I have interacted with. To many, it was a well thought of decision. While for many others it was accidental or forced by family and societal pressures. But all in all, motherhood is an experience in itself. You learn most of life lessons from this lifetime project.

And how much ever we debate a father (even if he is willing to) cannot do as much as a mother for their child in the initial years of birth.

I am a mother of two girls, aged nine and six. I had a full-time job and was a middle-level manager. So you can understand the responsibilities I had at work. During my first pregnancy I had 56 days maternity leave. I had to take a month’s extension on without pay basis to take care of the newborn. During the second pregnancy, the company had revised the policy and I was entitled for 86 days maternity leave.

I left both my girls when they were around three months old with young girls (20 years and above) whom I hired from various agencies. Total strangers with not much prior experience. Some of them were true gems. Here I would like to mention about the hefty commission amounts that the agents charge you. While the house help’s salary was as low as INR 1800 in the year 2006, the commission we had to pay the agency was about six months salary of the maid. This went up to INR 10-15K as the help’s salary and about 35-50K as the agent’s commission by the year 2013. The money I have paid to agents and domestic helps in the last 8-9 years could have helped me pay off my home loan in entirety.

I loved my job. While it kept me up to date on the subjects of my interest: Computers, Science and Technology for professionals and researchers, it also took care of my medical expenses through the insurance scheme for employees. Motherhood along with the job was managed pretty well with lots of help from the husband and the parents (all working), the house helps and understanding managers. I am much more at ease with this considering my younger sister who is in the Mid-East and cannot afford to even have a house-help due to employment policies prevalent in the region. There aren’t many good child care centers too.

Sometimes, the house helps we employed were not so helpful or trustworthy or clean or were not comfortable with childcare. There have been emergencies when a maid left on a holiday and didn’t come back. The agencies never provided a replacement immediately and so I have never had any leave encashments all through my career spanning 15 years. But nevertheless, my work spoke and so I still had my job. Of course, like most females I have had to listen to comments/remarks on my leaves from managers, friends as well as colleagues.

But this post is not about any of this. This is about how important childcare is and should be to any parent, any family or any country. Imagine having well-managed child-care centers or government-funded agencies that provided trained and trustworthy domestic helps or child care centers managed by the companies. I as a female can assure 100% dedication and commitment from every female employee. If you are sure that your child is in safe hands, you can concentrate on your work and help the company achieve its results efficiently. If not, you’ll always be divided between your workplace and the place where your child is.

For my second-born, I even tried a child care center named Roots to Wings. She was just 18 months old. One of the most difficult 12 days of my life. I left my daughter at 7.30 a.m at the gate of the center and tears rolled down as my kid refused to leave my hand. This I accepted because my job too was important for me. But on the twelfth day as I picked up the kid from the center she was crying in severe pain. The center manager told me that she seems to be unwell as she had been crying since afternoon.

I reached home and checked her nappy. That’s when I saw blisters all around her bums. She was in so much pain that she refused me to pick her up. I can tell you no pain is as unbearable as seeing your child suffer for no fault of theirs. The ayyah at the center had ‘used her marvelous brain’ and washed the used nappy and made her wear it again instead of checking for a new nappy which was inside her bag and was informed. Neither the teachers, the center manager or the ayyah bothered to check why the child was crying in pain since afternoon. They didn’t even bother to inform me. I thought I could never forgive that lady. But I understand, she wasn’t trained well for child care. I wrote to the parent company and within months the center was shut down. I understand from other parents that they too have had similar or more grave complaints regarding this center.

We keep reading and listening to horror stories of how domestic helps and child care centers harm young and innocent children. Childcare definitely the most responsible task and one must not take it up if they aren’t ready to put their 100% into it. Opening a childcare center is the most easiest way to make money these days. But what needs to be understood is that it must have dedicated employees who help it strive for better.

Information sourced from Reuters India: In U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, he says he will triple the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000. “In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have,” Obama said. “It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” Obama said. “And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America – by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.

A country can progress only if it’s children get proper development atmosphere. A happy and healthy child means happy and healthy parents who in turn prove to be valuable resources for the country and the world. High time we take childcare as a serious issue and find solutions to tackle it. Company sponsored or subsidized childcare centers within or outside the premises, government-funded or privately managed trained domestic help providers are a necessity for double-income families. I wish we see this as national issue and work towards the necessary solutions.

What are your views on this? Do let me know.