I have always wondered as to how big is our heart ? Is it linked to the wealth we accumulate in life or is it the other way around. The current Covid crisis has proved to me that in most cases generosity of our heart is inversely proportional to the wealth we have in life.
I would like to share a few stories to validate my hypothesis. First the heart breaking story of an expat staying in a gated community who asked as to why we should pay salaries for housekeeping staff when they could not turn up during the lockout ? I was stunned. An expat who may be paying almost a lakh of rupees even as rent every month to stay in a villa is questioning a few thousands as monthly salary for a house keeping staff in a gated community.
Interestingly, he is not alone in this attitude to life. I have heard that a lot of residents staying in posh localities in Mumbai and Bangalore have not paid their domestic maids not only for the period of the lockout but even for March when would have worked for most of the month. My wife and me called all the staff who worked with us in Mumbai and this is what they shared. The best thing was they did not ask for any help and on the contrary enquired about our well being and were reluctant to take any voluntary support from our side for their sustenance.
Another senior consultant who works for a top consulting firm and possibly earns in crores a year did not pay Rs. 1000 collected for staff recognition from each villa to reward them for their yeoman and selfless service during the lockdown. This gentleman ( although I am reluctant to call him a gentleman) is a religious fanatic and invites Godmen and God women to his residence once in a year to show to the community how religious he is. Is this what all our religions teach us ? A true question to ponder !
On the other end of the spectrum, I hear and read of countless inspiring men and women from ordinary walks of life who are willing to give their life earnings to serve others during this crisis. The story of an auto driver in Pune who used his life long savings of Rs. 2 lacs ( saved for his marriage) to feed migrant workers in his city and even postponed his marriage and equally supported by his fiancé for this noble cause.
You hear of the farmer in Kerala who donates all his produce of vegetables and fruits every day to the needy as he feels he can do his little bit for the under privileged.
A temple pujari in Chennai is making masks and distributing free to the common people since he does not have any work as temples are closed and he feels he can contribute a bit to serve others.
You hear the children in a society in Mumbai cleaning all the cars every day and contributing their earnings to the well being of those who need that money. Every such story teaches me a simple lesson in life. You do not need money to be generous and caring to others in life. What you need is a big heart ? Our heart size is not determined by the wealth we accumulate in life but but the love and care we get and we give others.
A small deed to even one person around you without expecting anything in return will do a world of good to us. We need not share photos or selfies in social media for the little things we do in life. It is like the famous quote of Oscar Wild who said – ” We are not born in this world to keep account of the small things we do.”
Time and day to start is today and now. A small gesture to even one person around you will change their world. Try it.
S Ramesh Shankar
21st May 2020