[ Thoughts on Life #1 ] Compassion and Selflessness

The chaos of traffic and scorching summer heat went beyond my breaking point. With a blaze of anger I punched the seat infront of me. The sound was loud enough to turn all eyeballs in the bus towards me. I shyed away my face from the unwanted staring and looked at the traffic signal outside. I saw two kids begging at the crossroads under the cruel afternoon sun. A weak  malnourished women, perhaps their mother, followed them as they knocked on the windows of waiting cars. Soon the signal turned green and our bus accelerated away . But the thought of those kids and their mother begging on the streets stuck with me like a chronic headache. It wasn’t the first time I have seen beggers on Indian roads but this instance was unique, it was pinching my mind. I was grumbling about my discomfort while there were people less fortunate struggling to keep themselves alive. The realization was overwhelming. I felt, I had to do something. I had to change this injustice. But the very next moment my conscience understood that it wasn’t possible overnight. I eased my distress by concluding that change can be brought  only if I had ‘ big power’ and ‘ big resources’. The momentary revolution within myself was suppressed by the strengths of pessimism.

I was wrong. But most of us , at most instances shut our eyes to injustice with the same false justification. A false narrative, an excuse to run away from discomfort. Have we as a society lost compassion? Is sympathy easier than empathy?

When stuck in such a dilemma, should we surrender ourselves to the status quo of comfort or pursue a struggle against injustice at the possible cost of our time and money; specially when you known the difference it can perhaps make is limited. What is the right thing to do ?

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