Is Compassion Your Cuppa?

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It happened on a dog day when I got my car mired in a traffic-jam.
My friend, a good Samaritan, sitting beside me in the car, closed his eyes tightly when we saw an Ambulance whizzing past our car with its siren on.
I chuckled, thinking that the good Samaritan must be having a sort of sound phobia.
Poor guy! 'How long has he been under this awesome spell?' I wanted to taunt him, calling his phobia a shit.
But, then, so overcrowded was my mind with thoughts about the word compassion- on which I was to speak to a bunch of school children- that I didn't have either time or intention to talk further to my friend about his phonophobia.
Mercy, charity, consideration, kindness, humility and sympathy et al.
All the words the Oxford dictionary fish out to define compassion failed to catch up with my perception of the word.
To get to know about compassion should one need to refer to a dic? No...
But, I b did this brazenly several times in the morning, and now, while driving to the school, a host of questions confronted me.
Didn't I ever feel compassion in my life without knowing its meaning by book? Didn't I ever see compassion in the loving eyes of my mom; dad's affectionate hands stroking my hair; sister's appreciative prodding on my shoulder; friends' camaraderie slapping on my back; and my wife's passionate hugs at times of distress.
So, this is what compassion should mean.
Coming out of my big and fat dictionary, and finding compassion in the words and deeds of my fellow human beings, I now began to know that compassion is not an artificial fountains you see around in a park, but a natural waterfall that glide with gleam from the sympathetic and empathetic hearts of people.
That the circle of compassion has such a wide circumference and many strange dimensions came to my notice recently.
Two men, walking ahead of me in the pavement of a train station, stopped in their tracks after hearing a beggar cry for alms.
Strangely, the first man's hands rummaged thro his pocket, in a reflex, scooped out all the coins he'd over there and placed them, without hesitation, in the beggar's plate.
He then walked nonchalantly, vanishing in the crowd.
The second man was slow and measured in his action.
Like his counterpart he, too, took out coins from his pocket but counted them all before giving a dime to the beggar.
I was taken aback by the strange behaviors of the two men, and, later, when I narrated the incident to my psychologist-friend, he, with a smile, branded the first man having compassion in heart and the second in head.
Compassion in heart or head, I found the two men got greatly moved by the plight of a beggar and offered him alms, though the first man liberally and the second one, being a little world-wise, in somewhat measured way.
Compassion is, therefore, not about the quantum of help you offer to the needy but it's primarily about melting down of heart seeing the sufferings of fellow creatures.
Such melting downs, and moistness in human hearts, I'm sure, make the wheels of the earth move ahead, and distinguish us from other species.
There were times when I witnessed people showing compassion out of compulsion or needs.
My wife had once misplaced her jewelry box in a river bank of the village where we'd gone to worship our family god.
When word broke out about our missing box, there arose a furor and the entire village was on the run as if stung by scorpions.
The box was, after a long search, retrieved from under a bush.
I thanked the village headman for being so compassionate to us and traced our box in no time.
But he seemed insolent and said they had no compassion or whatever for us.
"We searched and found out the box just to keep the image of the village clean.
We don't want to get its name spoiled by a bloody missing jewelry box", he added in good measure and went off in a huff.
This was indeed compassion, but a tagged one as it arose for a purpose or cause.
While driving down home after my pep talk on compassion to the school children, I asked my friend why he closed his eyes when we saw, in the morning, an ambulance speeding past our car.
"Don't you know it's childish to have such a sound or noise phobia?" I laughed and pinched his thigh.
"You're wrong", the good Samaritan spoke with a little sneer.
"An ambulance never gives me the creeps.
And I don't have either sound or noise phobia.
I do close my eyes whenever I see an ambulance moving past my way because at such times I pray for those who're inside the vehicle, struggling for life.
This I do in a reflex.
And it's not an acquired trait but a family heritage.
" I now sat in my radiation and knew what compassion is.
My friend, by his gesture, had defined the word more clearly and comprehensively.
All the stuff I'd till now presumed to be the meaning of compassion left me for good.
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