"Cavernous responsiveness towards torment of others coupled with the wish to mitigate it is compassion to me."
I use the local bus to commute to my work place daily. I meet thousands of people on my way from all walks of life. A regular companion of mine was Sumi everyday up and down my way. She was a cheerful person who would never reveal her untold heart to anyone. One day she came to the stop as usual on time and found me waiting for her.
We both started chatting about the general office schedules and our routine nonsense talk about movies. She told me about the water scarcity problem they were facing at home. This is a routine summer mania in my city where many areas are affected with this scarce.
She told me how she had to stand in the long queue and get up early to make up to the queue. I listened to her woes and just ignored them as usual. But as she continued on this she told me that sarcasm she was undergoing within her own family everyday. She had actually managed to arrange for 2 to 3 pots of water everyday from her friends house nearby. And her home members ridiculed this that she had an affair with her friends brother that`s why he was agreeing with her to give them water even in such a scarcity. My friend`s eyes started to fill when she told me this; she controlled herself and tried to hide her whelming tears in her laugh.
I could sense the pain and humiliation she felt when her own family commented on her. I dint know what to do at this juncture. No words came out of my mouth to ease her pain.
As the bus came along we both got up and reached our respective destinations. We did not utter a single word on our way. In the evening we gave a smile to each other as we met at the bus stop. We just spoke in general and purposely did not touch the morning topic again.
Back home I was reminded of my friend`s tearful eyes. It did hurt me that she was suffering a normal problem but with an extra tinge of humiliation in it. I felt I should have spoken to her, pacified her with warm words, instead of ignoring her words blindly.
The next day started with my regular work and the rush to the bus was also a regular one. I saw my friend already there waiting for me. She gave me a beautiful smile like a small child as if she had no problems inside herself. I wished her and we both started our endless gossip again. At this point of time I started the issue again. I asked for a sorry for avoiding the topic the previous day. She just smiled to me for that. I spoke to her for more than fifteen minutes pacifying her and taking to her about the lesser-privileged people in life than her. My talk was more like an advice session than a friend soothing the other. I felt I was boring her with my nasty boring talk, for as such she herself was depressed.
But my heart was 95% relieved of the guilt that I could not help my friend in anyway. I felt that I should have done that the previous day itself. The day went on as usual and up came the evening....time to meet Sumi again arrived. She gave me the striking smile and we started telling each other about our day`s highlights. Suddenly Sumi held my hand and told me that I had helped her in an incredible way. I felt puzzled at this gesture of hers. She told me that after the fifteen-minute talk with me she felt that her life was much better that many other women in this world. She told me that I boosted her morale by my talk and she felt elated at my words and also felt confident about herself now on.
I felt so happy at this, I felt great and felt myself on the ninth cloud for sometime. The pain I carried with me the first day evening to my house for not helping my friend vanished with this confirmation from my friend.
Helping a person is not only through material gifts but also by your own soothing words itself. Whatever is done with a full heart is always appreciated.