Opinion: Language of kindness

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Rajesh Kumar, a local Indian who lives in Gamru Village, Dharamshala.
Rajesh Kumar, a local Indian who lives in Gamru Village, Dharamshala.

By Tenzin Deden

As my family was going through the unimaginable period of loss, I was anxious for the taxi driver who drove my parents from Delhi to Dharamshala. While we were in quarantine abiding government and hospital advise, I was told by a friend that our driver and his family was being blamed and shamed in his village and it was a perplexing situation for him and his family. I couldn’t imagine what his family might be going through. I gathered enough courage to call him and was ready to face his frustration.

I was trembling while searching for his number in my phone, I had to talk to him because I believed at the time whatever he was going through was my family’s fault. I owed him an apology.

When the call connected, I said ‘Hello’, and from the other end, “Namastey Bhaiya, App log sab kaisay hain, Ama kaisay hai” {How are you all doing? How is Mother?} I was taken aback to hear his greeting and concern. Instead of complaining about what he was going through, he chose to lift us all up by his optimism.

I had only met him once in my life when he dropped my parents home after the trip. It wasn’t like I knew him for ages. The empathy and kindness he showed was something I don’t know if I would have offered, if I was in his shoes. His name is Rajesh Kumar and he belongs to the local community of Gaddi in Gamru Village, Dharamshala.

I said “sorry” to Rajesh bhai for putting him and his family through the ordeal. “Aarey kya boltey ho, jaan booch kar thorey kiya hai aapkey pala ney” (what are you saying? It wasn’t like your father did it deliberately), replied Rajesh.

On 28th March, the test results of the China Covid-19, of everyone who came in contact with my Late father was declared negative by the authorities. I found out the result about half an hour in advance from a friend who works for a Hindi newspaper before the District Commissioner announced it during the press conference. My first call was to Rajesh Bhai.  He said, “Bola tha na aapko, kuch nahin Hoga. (I told you, nothing bad was going to happen).

Without love and compassion, humanity will cease to exist. This sentence would have sounded clichéd to me before the misfortune struck my family, however today I understand its meaning well.  I would like to thank every individual who have been considerate and empathetic towards victims of this pandemic, for I know personally what even a word of love and courage feels like from another. What we need right now for the world is random acts of unconditional kindness and more wisdom towards victims to alleviate their pain.

Rajesh bhai did not have any stake in my grief, instead he bore the brunt of the fear that this disease has brought. We often see how things differentiate us, but he cut through all that. His empathy is worth more to me than anything else during this difficult time for me and my family.

Here’s the ultimate words of wisdom we’ve heard from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the pandemic, “We Need to Fight Coronavirus With Compassion”.

 

The author is the son of Late Tenzin Choephel la who was declared Covid-19 positive by the authorities of Kangra District.

13 Responses

  1. RIP, Pala Tenzin Choephel – Om Mani Padme Hum. Big Thanks to Rajesh Bhai for his service and compassion. Thanks to you for sharing the story. Stay strong, we will get through this together.

  2. Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.”
    During uncertain times it is easy for us to be scared and angry and blame others. But Rajesh Bhai rose above the blame-game, and took the road less traveled: that to me, says tells me he is a man of character.
    Thank you for recognising Rajesh and your story with us Deden-la, despite what you and your family have been through. Prayers and best wishes to all.

  3. It brought a lump in my throat. Here we have a simple taxi driver with such a wonderful attitude in the most trying of times. I believe the poor are the most generous and also the most sympathetic because they know, how it is when difficult time befalls. I understand the pain of losing ones loved one and also the stigma that is attached to those who are afflicted by this disease. It’s our fear that is making us such cold and uncaring individuals. We have to fight the fear within ourselves to be compassionate towards others

  4. Yes agree, definitely it’s the power of compassion and pure intention. Yes to fight this very cunning dangerous disease is with motive of compassion and full care. Thank you very much for the taxi driver Rajesh Kumar who bravely has helped. I wish the person who passed away may he has good rebirth and full fill all his wishes.

  5. I will search for Rajesh Kumar, next time, when I need a trusted gentleman to drive my near and dear ones. He passes the greatest test of character of very good human being; which has become a rarity.

    It also show that you are a strong gentleman. Undoubtedly any death is tragic for any family; but always remember that whole of Tibetan community had your late dad in our prayers and we all are overjoyed that you, your mom and rest of your family and friends were not reported as +ve. We are in this together and through this write up, you also brought our Indian friends and us bond together. It show a strength of character in you.

  6. What a beautiful heartwarming story ? Thank you for sharing this. May pala be reborn swiftly into dewachen realm 🙏. May all who need love and compassion at this critical time receive it in abundance, from the spark you have lighted here.

  7. Kudos to the driver for humility. Despite the declaration by Kangra authorities, nobody has seen the report about Covid -19. We Tibetans have to be kind to each other irrespective of our backgrounds,political ideologies, and leave behind deadly poisons like Cholkha-choelug and sarjor-nyingjor prejudices. We all too often are jumping at opportunity to advertise in joy the misfortune that befalls the other group and take pleasure in it.

    I have seen many Tibetan brothers and sisters spreading the story of the author’s late father with some sort of word excitement. We gotta stop this or perish together in fire or ice.

    Let’s be kind to each other and recog kze that deep down, we are all same – a group of refugees like Hobbits – curving a precarious existence in other people’s turf. Let’s be kind.

  8. It was a tough time for all the family to go into quarantine at the time of grief, and you have been brave to face the situation. This virus is deadly and such situation can occur with anyone..

  9. Thank you Tenzin Deden la for acknowledging Rajesh Kumar’s love and compassion in in the time of adversity. I think that’s how love and positive energy is infectious and infect more people with positive emotions amidst this turmoil.

  10. Dear Rajesh Bhai you have proved to be a real human being and सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिंदुस्तान हमारा
    Thanks wish you al the best.

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