Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Little acts of mercy

Life throws up some wonderful lessons when you least expect it and it is up to you to make use of these lessons. Today was an eye opener; it was not totally unexpected because this was something that was planned however life as I said will constantly surprise you.

The Pope has asked for this year to be celebrated as the year of mercy, so small acts of mercy are encouraged by all as a part of our spiritual life. So an outreach programme was planned for the students between class 9-12 today and the chosen venue was Jeevodaya Cancer Hospice. This is a palliative care centre that takes care of those ravaged by cancer and have exhausted the curative options available in medicine and are counting their last days. The sisters from the congregation running this institution do their best to ease their pain and make their days comfortable.

Since I was aware of the situation at the centre and I was part of the team that organized the activity I was prepared for meeting the inmates or so I believed and then I realized that visits to these places can throw many people off their balance. The sister in charge told us that these patients suffer a great deal and some are resigned to their fate in a sense of acute helplessness. I was shaken up to see that the ward that housed these patients was called thus…

While I tried to make sense of what initially seemed to be a cruel joke on these people, I also realized that for some the end may actually be a thing of joy for some as they may look forward to a better after life. Then all of us were deeply affected by a little bundle of joy, a small girl of twelve years who floored us with her wit, her charm and her take on life. She showed us how life is beautiful. No words can describe the experience with this girl whose name is Mercy. She is suffering from a brain tumour and has already undergone four surgeries and has been in the facility for six months now. She showed us how the little things in life make life worth living.
The rest of the time went by in a blur, we saw other patients, some who could not even speak due to cancer of the throat. Tobacco use is the biggest killer in that place and if you are a tobacco user please stop now. An old lady sang so beautifully that some of us stayed back to hear some more of her songs. Time passed by quickly and when we knelt down to pray for the inmates and their care takers in our last act before leaving the place it was with a heavy heart.
This hospice is run purely on donations from donors; the inmates are welcome without any regards to caste or creed. If you feel like having a life changing experience do stop by, they allow visitors with prior notice or any other similar organizations they will be glad with any help you can give. Often the presence makes a bigger difference than the presents.

Imagescourtesy Google Images

Monday, January 18, 2016

It is just a number....

I have resumed running; scratch that I have resumed run / walking and it seems to be a big deal already. After a long period of relative inactivity with bouts of ill health in the middle of a crazy travel schedule the year 2015 passed by as a year of limited physical activity and it shows very badly on me.

On the topic of running I am fascinated by this craze of numbers among some runners, the craze for “PBs” or “Personal Bests” if you prefer. People want to flaunt, share, compare, probe from others this number that it seems to be a little silly. This number is relative and that means you need to compare it against something else and since it is a personal best the usual comparison is against another number of the person at another time. There lies the challenge, I find people comparing an apple and an orange and saying that this is a better apple or orange if you prefer.

The number that is the result of a process is subject to a lot of external stimuli which are usually ignored. Let us for a moment try to list out all the possible things that can affect this number: the event itself, the health and fitness condition, the weather, the warm up, the fluid intakes, the climatic conditions, the sweat factor, the winds, the terrain, the gradient, the crowds, the pacers, the company in the race are some I can think of during the race. How about the factors the day before the race?  The amount of sleep last night, the food of the previous day, the work load of the previous day, the mental makeup, the general health and so many other small things. Each of these can alter the final number.

All the above things will be overshadowed by the process that led to this outcome, the process that started many days earlier when this number this PB was not the prime objective but was incidental to the greater plan. I am not too sure how many started lacing up their running shoes one day with a PB in mind, I did not and I am grateful for the same. I believe that in this craze for numbers sometimes we may miss out the bigger picture. I will be interested in knowing your process for the outcome because the outcome the number in itself is meaningless to a third person, what does it matter if the number is any different? I would be happy to learn how I can do a little better than I did earlier, by how much comes later.

If you are a runner do not forget the process that you have followed, be gracious enough to share it to a new comer so that the benefits of running that you have enjoyed is given to someone else, let the numbers speak for themselves, they are after all incidental and true to their name PERSONAL bests only!