I wanted to start this post off with a story. One day, quite a few years ago, I was 17 years old and was in the whole tensed scenario about which college to pick. My mom and I at this point were practically having heated debates every day about which career path I need to choose for myself.
See she comes from a medical background and well, let’s just say that for the longest time ever, I knew of no other career path other than becoming a doctor. I was madly in love with biology. Meaning, while I did tolerate Botany the best I could, Zoology somehow seemed to speak to me. I understood the language of sentient beings. Since the VII grade, I remember being so great at Biology, it was no surprise to anyone around me when I announced I wanted to become a gynaecologist at the age of 16.
I started reading 1st-year medical books lying around at home (thanks to ma) and was able to hold intelligent conversations around medical practices pertaining to the time with people who were recent MBBS graduates.
Suddenly things shifted because of a certain trauma. My maternal grandmother fell really ill and my mother was just on her way to meet her when I found out my naani passed away. I was traumatized and somehow, the situation was such that I had to break this news to my mother, who just landed at the airport, too ecstatic she was able to meet her mom. I still remember the conversation we had. She called me sounding all excited to finally have landed and she was telling me how she would want to be in her hometown until her mother was alright, and I remember the drop in her voice when I broke the news about my grandma. That drop in her voice shattered me. That day I realized I never wanted to be in that position ever again. Having to break the bad news to anyone.
Now, you have to understand that my brain is kind of funny. It loves to find patterns to supplement my debate. Therefore, I started finding out instances in real life that support my argument of ‘I am not mentally strong enough to become a doctor’. To the point that even those lung cancer advertisements in cinema theatres about a terminal case such as Mukesh’s were becoming examples I was giving to mom in favour of my argument! “Ma, I never want to be in a position to say to Mukesh’s family that we couldn’t save him’.
My mom being the supporting woman she was thought I was going through a rough time because of the sad demise of my grandmother and therefore am allowing all these to cloud my judgement. It’s only fair. I have only been talking about becoming a doctor for 5 years now!
Anyways, we seemed to have a big ruffle every time this topic came about and I was trying my best to hold on to my ground because I have never known anything so strongly that why I didn’t want to pursue a path that I always thought was the right one for me. One day, after one such heated debate we both moved into our own rooms to cool down. I decided I wouldn’t speak to mom for a while. And I was very blatant about it.
What struck me the most was my mother taught me to cook at a very young age. Despite that, she chose to make dinner for me that day. She knew I was very well prepared to tend to my hunger by myself, but she chose to shower me with love instead. You might argue, it’s her job to do so. But I would like to point out that for anybody as headstrong as my mom, it’s their choice to do what they want to do. Nothing can force them to do what they don’t want to do ever. This was an act of kindness on her side.
I call it kindness because I actually took to the dictionary to see what kindness really was. Cambridge dictionary actually describes kindness as the quality of being generous, helpful and caring about other people.
That one deed made me pause and think about how I needed to find a way to communicate my needs in a better way to her and help her understand why I was taking a stand for myself. And so I did and to my relief, my mother was very supportive of my decision and the rest is history! I actually am the girl that got 3 medical seats on merit in 3 of the country’s topmost medical colleges but chose to honour my decision to walk away and explore a field no one in my family every knew anyone from- the hospitality industry.
The point I want to make is “Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” Jackie Chan said it best. I never realized how important that dinner was because it was a dinner that made me pause and look at mom as a human being too, that needed to be assured that her baby girl was going to do well in her life. It was an act that helped build a bridge instead of the usual erecting of walls amongst us.
And so, I am reminded of a famous quote by Scott Adams which goes, “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” And I believe it was Princess Diana who said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Let’s make the world a better place.