Thursday, May 16, 2013

Being Kind

Among the many things that I truly admire about my Dad is that he is a very kind person. He tries his best to help out others as much as he can. Though I try to be kind to others as well, my Dad is a tough act to follow. 

Today, my Dad went with my stepmother and I to the dentist's office. My stepmother needed to have a tooth extracted. With us was an old lady who is a good friend to my Dad and stepmother since their childhood. I fondly call her Bhua (meaning paternal aunt).

Bhua helping my stepmother cut some carrots
When I first came to India in 1997, Bhua would often drop by our home. She would always help us out when we needed an extra hand  -- like when we needed to deal with the chickpea or the turmeric harvest. Bhua would work tirelessly with us. Every time my stepmother got sick, she would be among the first people to run to our home to help out in any way she can. 

However, after her daughter had gotten married, the daughter abandoned her and she started living alone. She has never been rich to begin with -- she earns some money by doing odd jobs for other people. Her home has just one room. There is only one lightbulb, one stand fan, and one old radio (which I had given her as a gift many years ago). She gets water from a hand pump and she cooks using firewood. Her life has become more challenging as she lives alone and is now getting old. 

A few months back, while using the hand pump, there was a small accident and the handle of the pump slipped from her hand and bounced up so fast that it hit her in her chest and chin. The blow was so hard, almost all her teeth came loose. It became hard for her to talk and to eat. 

A short time after that, Dad asked me to take Bhua to the dentist as I was already planning to go to have my molar checked. I was going anyway so I had no problem taking her along. Dad had decided that he would take care of Bhua's dental treatment because it was hard for all of us to see her having such a painful time. 

Since then, I would take Bhua to the dentist and back once a week. The dentist extracts a tooth or two each visit to get rid of all the teeth that just can't be saved. She has several more weeks to go until all the bad teeth would be extracted and she can be fitted with dentures. 

Through it all, Dad makes sure that Bhua gets to have lunch with us after she comes back from the dentist and my stepmother makes something soft for her to eat. It is not easy to take care of all the expenses that come with dental treatments even if they are less expensive here in India than most places. That is especially true for a man who has retired from being a farmer. Yet, Dad is taking it on and making sure that he takes care of the childhood friend who is always there for us. 

I salute my Dad. He is the epitome of being kind to others. 




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