As rituals go, as soon as it was 10 o’clock, my phone showed “home calling”. And almost every day it’s the same old spiel, “How was college?” “Did you see anything interesting?” “Eat properly. Drink water. You’re a growing kid, you don’t need to diet.” Needless to say the latter is most often than not from my mother. Today however, my dad narrated this incident involving my Uncle VJ. Now uncle VJ lives in Bangalore and owing to the crazy traffic there, he has come to detest driving his car through the city. Hence he has a driver (lets call him Matt) to take him to work, run any errands, pick his kids up, so on and so forth.
Uncle VJ being the workaholic he is leaves for work pretty early and comes home just as late. This gives Matt an equally long workday leaving him no time to go back to his family who live in the outskirts of the city. My uncle, being the good guy he is, always makes sure that Matt gets Sunday’s off no matter what, even braving the mad roads of Bangalore himself if he had to. Now this particular Sunday, it so happened that due to circumstances that could not be avoided, Uncle VJ with my aunt and cousins had to go out for a bit while his mother had a function to attend in another part of the city at the same time. His mother needed to be dropped so, much to his chagrin, he just had to call Matt.
Having to deprive Matt of the one day in the week he got to spend with his wife and kids greatly bothered my uncle, so here’s what he did: he told Matt to bring his family along with him on his way to my uncle’s house. So in the time between dropping uncle VJ’s mother and picking her up, Matt could take uncle VJ’s car around the city and make sure his family had a good time! He gave Matt the keys to his brand new car, with a tank full of gas and told him to have a great Sunday with his family in the city!
Maybe it’s not that a big deal. Maybe people do this sort of thing all the time. But in my head, where opinions are still forming, where I’m learning new things everyday: it was a big deal. I could think up a whole bunch of reasons why this decision could have taken a turn for the worse! I’m sure my uncle, being certainly better well versed with the world than me, would have been able to think of the same reasons. Yet still, he pushed aside all those doubts, put all his faith in Matt and just wished for the happiness of his driver and nothing else.
It was such a small gesture on his part as Matt’s employer, yet to Matt who didn’t get to see his family as often as most of us, I’m sure the drive through the bustling city would have brought warm smiles to his wife and little ones and given them yet another happy memory they had made together to add to their life as a family.
Being someone who gets to see her family only once every few months, I completely understand the joy and importance of being able to physically be there with your family, have fun together, create, relive memories together and simply just be together. Uncle VJ understood that too and out of the goodness of his heart, the gratitude for his driver, he decided to take just a little extra step and give his driver an invaluable gift.
My main motivation to become a doctor has always been to be able to make a difference in someone’s life. What I’ve realised from my uncle’s act is that it’s not the grandiosity of what you do to help someone. There is no definite scale to measure kindness and the impact of that said kindness on someone’s life. As long as you try to be kind, in whatever little way possible, that kindness will go out and make some sort of difference, big or small depending on how you look at it. In today’s world full of strife and sorrow, I think any little difference we can make in the every day of the circle of people around us is a great thing and these little differences can eventually come together and, as cheesy as it may sound, make the world a happier place!
Maybe we need to stop thinking so much in terms of profit and loss, pros and cons. Maybe we just need to tap into our innate desire to be kind and just give. Little by little, through acts of kindness like my uncle’s, maybe someday our faith in humanity will be restored for good.