Kindness is my Religion

I would like to share the lighter moments of my visit to China which is the reason to start this blog.
My Alarm didn’t wake me up. My morning meeting time urged me to start ASAP. I got ready, grabbed an apple from fridge with laptop in my back pack, rushed to office. I was completely engrossed in my work until I felt very hungry at one in the noon. Then I have realized that I forgot to get my lunch box which I used to pack daily in the morning after cooking food.

I went for lunch with one of my Chinese Teammates (Ivy). Ivy is a very kind girl, always with smile on her face. We both walked to the food court which was very much nearby. We joined the queue to collect the food. I ordered spinach and rice and Ivy had chosen pork and rice. After paying the bill I took a set of chop sticks for Ivy and a spoon for me. The spoon is very wide, as it is meant to have soup. (I didn’t find any other spoons too.) We sat on the table to have food.

The ambience reminded me of B’lore Infy food courts. When I looked around, I felt nostalgic. Slowly we got into some conversation. I was not able to pay proper attention to her words as I was trying hard to place the spinach on the spoon to have a bite. My appetite was increasing so was my impatience. Ivy observed it and suggested me different ways to have it easier, but still I faced some difficulty in having the lengthy spinach leaves. Ivy took the spoon and tried to show me the easy way but even she failed as the sauce added to the spinach was sticky. She helped me with her chop sticks and placed the spinach on my big spoon and asked me to have.

Let me stop the above narration for a while and take you back to my school days. I’m from an orthodox family and a vegetarian. I was taught at home, that having non veg is against our religious norms and many other things. (I’m emphasizing non veg as my next eg is based on it …;)) This had not only frightened me to see the uncooked meat but also I started to dislike. I never asked or gave thought about it. One day when I was in 6th standard, all our class girls sat in the ground to have lunch. As usual we shared our food with one another. Unknowingly I had non veg from my friend’s box. The moment I got to know that I had non veg I got up and ran to the class room crying. I didn’t know whom I need to blame — myself, my friend or my religious norms??? Bewildered, panicked, disheartened I reached my home.

After I reached home, my mom asked to give my Tiffin box to put it along with vessels to be washed. The moment she took the box from my hand she asked me the reason for not having food. I was frozen with fear and guilt and I couldn’t answer her words other than asking her ‘What punishment would God give if I have non veg food?’ with tears in my eyes. My mom understood the situation happened at school and took me close and held me in her hands. I was even much confused as I expected her to ask me to take shower first, scold me or look down upon me (none of which she did). With a smile on face mom said, “My Love, God will not punish you. He’s is a very kind hearted person and understands His children well. Don’t worry and refresh now. I hope you didn’t have your lunch properly I will prepare nice dosas for you”.
I felt happy as my mom assured me that God will not punish me. At the same time I was confused, as I very well remember my mom told me once, “Having meat is against our religious norms and God will punish those who disobey these norms.”

When I saw Ivy placing the lengthy spinach with her chop sticks, I looked at her, kindness in her eyes, friendly look on her face and more than anything the innocence in her; who has no idea about my religious norms has left me with guilty feeling. With pure heart and affection she was waiting for my acceptance which really made me feel ashamed to think ‘I’m I supposed to have or shall I deny???’ For that moment I completely ignored all the thoughts running in my mind and accepted the bite of spinach that was dropped on to my spoon from Ivy’s chop sticks.

It is like one among the many situations where in we often get confused to choose in between religious/family norms and humanity/kindness? The best way to choose is at times giving up our values for the sake of godliness or goodness and still being happy and content seeing the happiness in other person’s eyes.

The example I came up with was very small but the intensity of discrimination varies from sharing food to the impact of choosing a life partner if he/ she belongs to other religion as afraid of elder’s rejection. When the entire world is stepping towards globalization, it was sad to note that there are people in and around us who are still superstitious (even if not required). I have nothing to say other than showing sympathy for such people. As rightly said one can’t choose their family and background.
Children are very tender and will obey to their elders’ words. Just recollect – have you not ate food with fear when your mom said , ‘If you don’t eat food, the witch will take you away?’ Can the same kind of methods be implied to teach children about religion?
We have every right to follow our religious policies but at the cost of others’ happiness?
Give it a thought…

I have decided from my experiences that I will follow my religion but also I will take care not to hurt others’ feelings… If at all I compromise I will gain pleasure looking at the happiness in the eyes of the other person.
I belong to the religion called Kindness and you?

P.S – My intention is not to hurt anyone’s feelings. My apologies in case I had…

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