At the end of a rainbow

Lucy found her diamond sky

Compassion management

on September 5, 2015

In a world ridden with apathy and general callousness, this title would rightly seem bizarre. After all, has anyone ever had a fatal dose of compassionate acts? Well, I would hunt for the origin of the phrase “being smothered by love” for that. It turns out that there are indeed people whose concern often oversteps the bounds of societal etiquette, turning it into a case of disaster management for the rest of the family, in order to avoid subsequent glares (and occasional avoidance for a lifetime). Not that family members are immune to such extremist versions of compassion, it is just that they learnt to deal with it by returning the acts of kindness. In my family, our father has bagged the “deadliest kindness of the year” award for quite sometime now. Once, we were visited by family friends, whose young brat of a son was creating a ruckus like most brats do. This was perhaps a novel phenomenon for dad, whose children (i.e. me and my brother) had grown up being showered with a healthy dose of shouts and slaps, such that our ‘brat-iness’ never got a chance to show itself in its full glory (until much later, when it is nicely dubbed existential angst). Now, taking his own adequately weird children as representative of the entire spectrum of child behaviour, he instantly asked the parents, “Have you shown him to a psychiatrist? He may need serious help and medication.” To be fair, he was genuinely concerned; but this was a proclamation about a 3-year-old healthy Punjabi boy. I mention Punjabi, because you might want to take a minute to imagine his father’s nostrils flare and his fists tighten as my father (the puny Bengali guy) carried on breezily about his self-acclaimed experience in handling children and so forth. When my mother’s eyebrows (raised high enough to hit the ceiling) also didn’t work as a signal to stop, she hurriedly offered some chocolates to the boy and lavishly praised his talent for breaking things, before bidding them an abrupt farewell.

Visits to doctors are generally memorable for the fact that one has to cough up money and phlegm at the same time, with nothing but trust that the former will take care of the latter. In our case, along with the sick kid to be diagnosed, came a concerned father who would want to make sure that nothing but the right medicine would be ingested by his child. Fair enough. But for our doctor, it meant defending every punctuation of his diagnosis, along with justification for not considering the other trillion possibilities that father would have read on the internet (or homoeopathy leaflets). I think only the Hippocratic oath kept this doctor from getting violent, though he did ask us to only come with our mother in the future. As a family, we have tried our best to indulge in ‘compassion management’ and compensate for his concern, and over time he does realise that seeing flushed cheeks combined with a puckered face together is a pretty good indication to stop talking, though often it does end with, “have you had your blood pressure checked? You don’t look quite normal.” Well, someone once said, “compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” I completely agree, except that the nature of those stops and rises can be quite different.


One response to “Compassion management

  1. Satyaki says:

    Truer words ne’er were spoken 😀

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