Expressing Compassion and Empathy

It’s been a while that I was brain-storming on what should be my next blog. I asked my near and dear ones too, and most of them suggested me to write something on this “Lockdown” situation. I was wondering what should I write about circumstances created globally by Coronavirus, which is not already written.

The one thing that I always felt since this condition has surfaced, is “Gratitude”! I felt most of us are very fortunate. We must be very grateful for this fact that we have the option of working from home and our essential needs are met.

Since the time this situation came up, the first thought that came to my mind was, if my Dad was with us today and continuing his business, how he would have coped with this situation. As, my Dad’s business was not one of the essential services. Either it would have closed completely or open for a very less time. Certainly not sufficient to pay the fixed costs of business. While mentioning my husband, Paresh, about this he said, “Are you just thinking of your Baba? What about the workers working in the shop?” This thought shook me that there are endless people who are suffering in this current situation. Right from street-side food joints, ice cream parlours, cab drivers, beauty parlours to the retailers selling non-essential commodities and numerous small scale businesses; everyone is deeply affected in this situation. Recently, I was talking to a senior Cameraman, we worked together for some shows many years back. We both were freelancers working for TV entertainment shows. I asked him, how is he coping with this situation? To which he said, “Yeh saal to gaya!” He’s managing on his savings. I was thinking that this year will be long for him and infact, many more like him, who must be feeling the heat now. Everyone’s talking about donations to daily wage workers, cab drivers, maids and labourers. But the ones who are forgotten are the freelancers like cameramen, the small-scale businessmen, the SMEs. They are too proud to take help from government or NGOs openly like labourers because that is embarrassing for them. But they are used to a certain lifestyle and they are watching it fall apart as finances are drying up.

This thought led to an another similar thought to me. Lately, it was declared that the famous, “OktoberFest” is cancelled for the year 2020. It was a wise but unfortunate decision taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Germany. This is one of the biggest cultural gathering held in Munich for about 16-18 days in September and October every year. Last year, I was there and enjoyed “The OktoberFest” for the very first time. I was amazed to see the enthusiasm amongst the public for the event. Thousands of people come together to organise this event and millions of people from all over the world come to attend it. It gives a livelihood for countless people. Numerous individuals and many breweries depend on this event for their subsistence. We cannot even imagine their plight as this event wont happen this year.

I cannot end my article, without mentioning my school friend Dr Anshuli Trivedi. She and her husband work in a government hospital in Bhopal, MP. She has to visit a densely populated area like slums and identify people who might be infected with Covid-19 and take their sample for testing. In this task of serving the inhabitants, the people themselves don’t support her and her team, which makes her task even more challenging. She has a 7 month old daughter who is currently with her grandparents in Jabalpur. Its more than a month now that she has not met her daughter. My heart was filled with respect for her and all the doctors including the medical staff who are not thinking about themselves and their family but are devoted towards serving the public.

Sometimes, we are too busy cribbing about the insignificant things in life, forgetting to see the larger picture. The problems that we are facing, in reality, are not even problems. I feel in this fast-paced mechanical life we have got this opportunity to pause for while, sit back and think, retrospect the past and be hopeful about the future. Instead of feeling void and empty let us spend some time with ourselves, make use of this time in doing things that make us happy from within, something we always thought we would do if we get time. Aren’t we relaxed thinking that we do not need to get up early, get ready for work or prepare lunch boxes? Our life had become perfunctory, performing in a framework. This situation has acted as a pause button in our films called life, where we got the opportunity to get out of the frame and perform differently.

Lockdown is a strange situation and a difficult experience for all us. Parents are facing the challenge of managing school work at home. My son Aarav is in the first standard of a public school in Munich. Periodically, he is receiving study material from his school teachers. Once his teacher Frau Trausnitz called me to ask how Aarav is studying? I apprehensively said, he isn’t very proactive in completing his homework. To which she replied, “Don’t worry about completing his worksheets.” She further added this situation is complex and unfamiliar for all of us. Parents cannot provide a school-like environment for children. Amidst all the stress, do not worry about their studies. The worksheets are meant to keep them busy productively. I was relieved to hear this from her. I too felt that we, do not recognise but children are too feeling the stress of their parents, managing with the limited resources, the stress of keeping children safe, keeping them busy productively and making sure that their studies not been affected. These vibes of parents affect the innocent minds of our children and in turn, they behave indifferently. The next moment my mind was relaxed and I thought that spending fruitful time with my children is more important than making them study forcefully.

The inconveniences that we encounter daily are much easier to overlook than the challenges that many of us are facing and will continue to face in the coming months. The Lockdown situation as we all know has affected the economy globally and it will take time to resume normalcy. Till that time, let us all do our bit by abiding rules, helping in whatever way we can. Nothing is perpetual, this phase will also pass by. Patience, Hope, Compassion, Empathy and Gratitude are the virtues we need to practice.

यु लागता हैं वक्त कुछ रूठ सा गया हैं…
ऐसे हालत में दिल टुट सा गया हैं…
जिंदगी ऐसे दिन भी दिखयेगी, खबर ना थी…
जब छुट्टीयो में भी मन नही लग रहा हैं !

बिखरती उम्मीदो को आओ समेटें हम
दुसरो की टुटती डोरियों को थामले हम..
हर किसी को हैं इस वक्त से कुछ ना कुछ गिला….
आओ एक दुसरे को समझे और संभाले हम !

8 thoughts on “Expressing Compassion and Empathy

  1. Being a teacher and a parent myself.. i can very well correlate the situation of the kids and family. We all are sailing in the same boat. Our kids being the bravest.. Giving words to a feeling and showing gratitude.. commendable👏👏👏 Our kids are the equal warriors like any other doctor,nurse, or corona helpers…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very beautifully written Meenal. It is a difficult time for everyone. For some more than others. And as you said, “Patience, Hope, Compassion, Empathy and Gratitude are the virtues we need to practice.”

    God bless us all!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said Meenal… It isba difficult time for all of us….. Some people are even struggling for food ….. It is the time to follow humanity

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Gratitude, I agree, is definitely something feel for people, things and circumstances. We have been fortunate than others. The dependents on daily earnings are surely affected the most! The very rich … and the poor not so much as the government is supporting them, but it is the middle-class people who depend on their day to day earnings that are most affected! Salute to the medical, police and the like for whom it has been tough to endure!

    Liked by 1 person

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