On the journey towards becoming a helping professional, I have received blessings from people across various locations within my country to whom I have gotten the opportunity to provide some ‘free of cost’ services. Some labelled it ‘philanthropy’, for some it was ‘kindness’, and for some ‘selflessness’. But if you ask me, it is ‘the motivation to earn the wealth of happiness’. The most amazing part of it is that I get the chance to earn this wealth even during my non-working hours. Blessed to have grown around kind people, I have learnt and realized that kindness is not just an ‘act of selflessness’, it’s a way of living through widening the boundaries of ‘self’. As I sit down to write my story, I am lost in thoughts, the memories of my ‘good deeds’ is refilling my bag of happiness as I am experiencing it in-the-moment. The most fulfilling experiences are the most difficult to pen-down. So I chose to share one experience, which I never knew was ‘being-kind’, for me it was just maybe ‘right’. I was enrolled in a yoga teacher’s training one-year course. The course was pretty strict in terms of punctuality, attendance, examinations, and awarding the teacher’s certificate. Well, one such policy was ‘you enter the class after the prayer starts, you are marked absent’. To understand the repercussions, the other policy was ‘two absents and you are out of the course’. My house was a little far from the place where these classes were held, and so I used to pool the vehicle and go with one other batch mate. According to the route she would pick me up every morning at 5:00 a.m. and we would head towards the class together. One morning, as the clock ticked 4:55 a.m., I, as usual, got out of the gate and waited. It was 5:05 a.m., I checked the watch but the car wasn’t there. Well I waited further. The watch now showed 5:10 a.m. which meant it was high time to leave. I decided to call my batch mate. As I called, I found out that she hadn’t woken up as her alarm somehow did not ring. She told me to leave by my vehicle as she would get late. I said okay, and hung up the call. I rushed inside to take my scooter keys. However, as I came out, leaving her alone did not seem right to me. I decided to wait for her to get ready. I sent her a miss call and a text message to call me back. I waited patiently for her to respond. When she was ready and was about to leave she called me, I could sense the panic and rush in her tone. I just politely told her ‘waiting at the spot’ and hung up the call before she could respond. As I got in the car she geared the engine of the car and began screaming in panic ‘why did you wait for me, why didn’t you leave, are you mad, we both will be getting absent, you would have reached on time’. All throughout, I listened to her smiling quietly. Then I spoke slowly “I know I could have reached, and I had got my scooter keys also, showing it to her which I had forgotten to keep it back. But you seemed a bit tensed, I don’t know whether my company would be of any help but I just did not feel like leaving you alone. And I am enjoying your ride, so relax! She did not respond to me at that time, probably she was busy concentrating on the driving, attempting to somehow reach on time! Of course it was not possible to make on time, and we were late. Tears started rolling her eyes. As for me, I felt bad that our attendance was gone which would have made our task of successfully completing the course really difficult. But I slowly whispered in her ears, as we sat outside during the prayer- “We will finish the course with just one absent!” On our way back home, she apologized to me saying that my attendance was gone because of her. Well, here is a glimpse of our conversation (not the exact words perhaps):
Age-wise, I and my elder sister had a gap of 1.5 years, Grade-wise it was 1 year. We went to the same school and were taught by almost the same set of teachers. Apparently we shared the same section and so her class-teacher always became my class-teacher the next year! I call my sister a ‘born genius’. She had the best handwriting in her class, she won medals in almost all competitions she took part in, and she scored A+ in almost all subjects. Teachers would describe her as the ‘ideal’ student. My mother was known in the school by my sister’s name and I got ‘special attention’ from teachers when I introduced myself as ‘her sister’. Unfortunately, this ‘special attention’ felt like a ‘special burden’ to me. I was not ‘Bad’ or ‘Weak’. I scored average marks, my handwriting was legible, I moderately participated in co-curricular activities, and I was respectful and obedient! The unfortunate part was that for the teachers I was my sister’s ‘SISTER’. Hence my handwriting was “ok, but not as good as...”; my painting for the class bulletin board was “ok, but not as good as the one hung last year!” and so on for all the other things at school!! Once, in my third grade, I had made a thermocol Christmas tree. It was my best creation and I was so satisfied and happy. I took it to school, taking utmost care so as not to damage it on my way. I waited eagerly to show it to my class teacher. She looked at it for a while, looked up at the bulletin Board and commented “This one can go in there (pointing to the small board beside the main one), and I was thinking if you could get the one that your sister had created last year that could be placed here in the centre”. Was I to be happy or sad? After all, even if my sister’s work was put up, it was from ‘my side’. With that logic in fact, two and not just one painting from my side were to go onto the board!! I was neither sad nor happy, I felt frustrated. And by now, I don’t think I need to explain my frustration further! I always yearned for the praise and approval which my sister received. Once in my 10th grade, I wrote a wonderful essay in French (a third language for us). It had taken me 5 hours to write a one page essay, but when it was completed I felt proud. Excited as I always was, after any of my creation, I gave it to my sister to read it. She was not just amazed, she had difficulty understanding the vocabulary used and had to refer to the dictionary multiple times. My excitement grew and I eagerly waited for my work to be reviewed by my teacher. The comment that I received read “Is this your own work or your sister’s?” This was a red scar on my beautiful blue ink!! How did I feel- Sad, angry, frustrated? None! I felt ‘winning a battle’.