I Wish for a World of Empathy

I Wish for a World of Empathy


Disability
Photo by Yomex Owo on Unsplash

My recent and the first tour to the US opened my eyes to a whole new world which was so fantastically friendly for the differently-abled. I wonder why we in India cannot make it the same! It is not so much about the economy or the wealth a nation has. I am sure it has more to do with the culture itself  —  with the way we think and look towards the differently-abled.

Nearly everyone I crossed on the streets of America – in the shops, on the ship, in the desert — everywhere — had the same regard for the disabled and gave way for priority access to them at the cost of waiting a little more for their turn. It was one of the most humbling experiences in my life.

I am thankful to all those people for the courtesy they extended and made my wheelchair-bound mother feel equal in every way.

It was the tourist season at the time when we were there and therefore many times we were part of large groups at entry and exit points of tourist spots. People from all over the world were there and yet everyone was polite to the differently-abled and extended a helping hand whenever they felt that someone requires assistance.

I feel sad to see the state of things at home, in my country. We have somehow forgotten our basic culture of being courteous and to respect everyone.

The attitude towards this small group of society (of the differently-abled) is of neglect, ignorance, and indifference. Shameful to say the least! While towns are turning into cities, businesses are willing to spend millions on lavish decor and swanky lifts but not on creating ramps and easy access for the differently-abled in their offices, shops, or malls.

It is nearly impossible for a differently-abled or a wheelchair-bound to navigate in India – we do not have proper pavements, roads are uneven, there is absolutely no way they can cross a road and get onto a pavement safely (we do not have those wheelchair ramps on any traffic light), most malls and shops have stairs at the entrance as the initial access point, and certainly no one wants to wait or give way to the differently-abled. In fact, most people take advantage of the slow speed of such a lot and run ahead of them to save their spot. That’s sheer apathy in action.

I am not sure how we Indians will ever change and imbibe empathy. I am not even sure how to make my countrymen understand the importance of being nice and being considerate towards the differently-abled. A minuscule percentage of people/not-for-profit organizations work towards helping the differently-abled but no one ever demands an equal place for them, an equal infrastructure for them. The efforts are clearly unable to move the needle. All of them, including the state governments, seem to be busy attaining something except cleanliness, hygiene, health, quality of life, ease of access, and empathy.

The difference between us and America is that there it is a law to create ease of access for the differently-abled and that law applies to governments, shop owners, infrastructure agencies who build roads, hospitality industry, everyone. So every service is meant first for the differently-abled and then made available for the able folks. The key is – the law is enforced to the core. Honestly. The intent is to make everyone in society feel equal and safe and nearly everyone works towards it, together.

Will any government in India ever be able to enforce such a law and lead that change? Will my people ever realise what society they are creating by choosing apathy over empathy? I love my country and I wish that someday this world of mine becomes equally safe and accessible for the differently-abled.

Freedom to Work is One of the Best Motivators at a Workplace

Freedom to Work is One of the Best Motivators at a Workplace


Freedom to operate or function at work is one of the best motivators for most people to not only perform well, but also to stay with a company for a longer duration. Do you agree? Do share your comments. I would be happy to read what you have to say about this topic.

Workplace_
Photo by Damian Patkowski on Unsplash

I met a friend this evening over tea and we ended up discussing how different countries encourage different workplace cultures. We both talked about how freedom from a restrictive workplace culture —  such as an organization’s expectation of you to work for a set number of hours, the limitation to allow you to work from the location of your choice, the environment that demands you to be always available for work  —  can be so important to a person’s aspirations to perform well and to do good. A trusting environment not only ensures the workforce feels respected, but also that they feel more inclined to be loyal to the business that is helping them lead a good quality of life.

Companies that allow trust and empathy to thrive will certainly attract better talent than the organizations that encourage control.

There are companies which are progressive and change with the times to offer the new workforce an environment that helps them to express more, do better, and work passionately. We need more such workplaces. Life is short and precious  —  let everyone enjoy their share : )

Power of giving

Power of giving


It’s strange how our emotions surface whenever we give or receive gifts. Yes, today I was blessed to receive two gifts in a day! A beautiful, delicate dragonfly brooch from the US and a pair of earrings from Russia : )

Gifts

While the gifts made my day, it also made me wonder about the power of giving  —  the idea of someone actually giving a careful thought for buying or saving something for someone is so pure, affectionate, and generous that it leaves the receiver not only happy and smiling, but also deeply touched and loved.

Giving is one of the powerful ways of expression — it bridges distances, shows care, and no matter how the two people feel about each other, it always makes a gentle, loving impact, paving way for a better bond. I am blessed to have received innumerable gifts all my life and today I really thank every giver of those gifts from the bottom of my heart : )