1. Very true! Sometimes we face things, we start to look past it, in background like a white noise. We should be compassionate, even if it means we may look odd. So did you speak up for those poor folks? I have a feeling that the answer would be yes.

    • Zengirl, your analogy of looking past it like white noise is so apt. And sometimes I wonder if this is what helps us get through all our challenges, especially when faced with poverty.

      When I went to India for the very first time, I was advised not to make any eye contact with beggars or street children, otherwise they would “latch on” to me. But of course that wasn’t me and sure enough I was surrounded right outside the airport. After that I simply carried packets of biscuits everywhere I went and that seemed to make the kids very happy.

      So yes, we should be compassionate even if it means we may look odd or in the eyes of some of the local people, foolish.

      And of course I did speak up for those poor folks.

  2. Hi Arvind, I’ve only recently subscribed to your blog … this post really resonated with me (actually, I cried!). I am not wealthy but, I am grateful to have a safe and beautiful place to live, healthy food on my table and free time to enjoy myself. I stopped watching the news years ago because the violence and suffering became overwhelming. But I do agree – we cannot be silent. Now I choose where I can best make a difference: my closest sphere of influence such as my family and friends, my community and the charitable organisations that are making a difference locally and globally. Thank you for your insightful post. Kind regards, Lisa.

    • Welcome to my world, Lisa!

      I was going to say I am sorry that this post made you cry, but actually I am glad that you did so and for sharing with us. Your tears show that you were touched at a deep human level – and at the end of the day that is what counts.

      One may not be able to do much about world poverty as an individual, but if the poor know that you are touched so deeply and that you really care, that is worth so much to them.

      And as you say, one can choose where best to make a difference – at the end of the day, every little bit helps.

      Finally, here in the west we all have so much to be grateful for – and yet we tend to take it for granted.

  3. Hey Arvind,

    A very powerful message this article has. (I sound like Yoda there)

    This reminds me of an article I wrote a long time ago called ‘when you walk past a begger’ with a similar message. I also am in the process of writing a new article which also addresses some of the things you mentioned, like, for example, do silent blessings actually make a difference?

    When I saw all the begger children in India I didn’t givin in to feeling pity, instead, I chose to see the greatness within them. I found that allowing the emotions of others suffering to enter me also ment that I was then in suffering and it put me into a place where I wasn’t equipped to then help people.

    So I chose of place of seeing greatness. not turning a blind eye, but seeing the blessings that not only I have but that they have too. People in the west won’t be happy when they see a penny on the ground, but see how happy one of those children are if you give them a buiscuit or they find a rupee in change on the ground….that’s an extraordinary gift. I believe that contrast exists for a reason and that’s why when you understand the beauty of it you no longer need to feel pity but you can understand why it exists.

    I can’t possibly help all those children individually, that would almost be impossible, what I can do is look to see the world and effect change on a much larger scale. whether that be through raising awareness, money or creating a new global mindset.

    I totally understand where you’re coming from and I believe there are many levels upon which we can bring wealth to the world,

    Lovely piece, i’m going to stumble it as I want more people to read this and take note!

    • Thanks Amit for your kind words of wisdom and encaouragement.

      You have given me a lot of food for thought – and I like the bit about empowerment rather than pity, and seeing the greatness in all people, regardless of their material state and well-being.

      Keep up the inspirational work you do.

  4. Zoli Cserei says

    Hi there Arvind,

    Well, it’s good to see that you have so zealous readers that your posts make them cry 🙂

    First, I thought that you are going to provoke us to be like.. talkative at all times. I happily realized that you’re not going that way! I think that silence and being silent is awesome, at least for me. However, your point of view is absolutely correct: when silence is led by fear not by wisdom, than it’s not wise but cowardly to stay so.

    Best of all,

    • Zoli, yes it is humbling to know that one’s words can move people to tears:-)

      Thanks for clarifying the difference between talking too much and not remaing silent.

      Sometimes I wish that some talkative people would be silent and if I can’t stand it I just dipolomatically leave their company. But as I have said above, it is where we don;t speak up and remain silent about key matters that it becomes wrong to do so.

  5. Arvind, I also was moved by your reaction to seeing so much poverty on your recent return trip to India. It can be so overwhelming to a person raised with plenty of food, safe shelter, and good opportunities. Years ago I went to Ethiopia for a short time. I was stunned by the beauty of the people and the country and by the extreme poverty. I saw things I had never seen before, such as people with leprosy who had no legs and puished themselves around on small boards on wheels. These days I contribute money to an organization which operates on children born with disfiguring cleft lips and cleft palates. It’s a wonderful organization, but I feel as if I should do more.

    • Madeleine, yes indeed we can all do more.

      But I have reached the conclusion that as what we do will never be enough, we should just be happy with what we do, rather than feeling guilty or beating ourself up for not doing enough.

      Travelling to places like Ethiopia and India certainly helps us appreciate more of what we already have.

  6. Anne Brandt Dias says

    Arvind, you said it all so beautifully and having just returned from India myself, I saw this with my own eyes – two extremities – one of beauty and grandeur and the other poverty and misery. It was heart rendering; I did what i could but when you open your bag, within seconds you have a whole gang of them. One feels so helpless. How can you help so many? Charity begins at home they say so I shall spread this beautiful message of yours and make more people aware of the situation. We have loads to be grateful for that we take so much for granted!


    • Thanks Anne for sharing your first hand expereinces.

      It is always hard as we feel helpless and yet wish to do so much more.

      I appreciate you spreading this message – it all helps to make the world a better place.

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