The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
My mentor once told me, real kindness seeks no return. I never knew the meaning of those words till I visited the public library this past Tuesday morning. Having been an Accountant by profession, I was trained to seek deficits, profits, returns and long term investments. Never charity, and definitely no pro bono services.
So here I was at the library to renew my borrowers card. I was in line when I saw these group of people, mostly adults in there 30’s -40’s. And they were reading childrens books. My curiosity led me to ask the librarian what was going on at that side of library. She said that it’s a community literacy program. What happened next came as a surprise, as the librarian suddenly asked me — Would you like to volunteer? We’re short of three people. I’m sure we can use your help. Now, what was I to say?
To make the long story short, I said yes. I’m not exactly english proficient, but I’m willing to give it a try. This will keep busy for a little while. Besides, it’s only twice a week and two hours long. So it wouldn’t be that much of a hassle. Half hour later, I was given two students. A lady named, Reshma and her husband Jasbir, both from Jaipur, India.
The couple were very eager to learn. They were able to read a whole paragraph, except for a couple mispronouncements. Writing was a bit tough. They had a hard time writing in script, so I settled with there handwriting. They were legible, but they could be better. They just needed more practice. But then again, they just started the program. So I can’t be knit picky!
Two hours has passed and I didn’t realized our session was over. Never in my whole life have I known that teaching can be fun. Reshma and Jasbir thanked me for helping them, they gave me a big warm hug. In return, I told them that they were excellent students and quick learners. Suddenly, Reshma got teary eyed and I just had to asked her why. She said to me, It’s nice that someone is treating us like equals, like you. I didn’t bother asking for an explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. I gave Reshma another hug and asked her to smile.
In a world filled with bigotry and vainglorious people, one person can easily feel inferior if he or she is not equipt with tools-of-the-trade (literacy included). I myself have been mocked for my accent. It’s given as I was born in the islands. Duhhh? At least I’m not pretending to be someone I am not. Now, how about those people who has no knowledge at all of the english language? Do we simply look down at them? Blame them for there ignorance. What if they were born poor and unable to afford proper education. Do they deserve to be treated like second rate citizens?
Reshma and Jasbir are kindhearted people. They’re both smart in there own right. I don’t think they should feel terrible not being highly educated and all. I think it’s those discrimininative, vainglorious and disdain people, who should feel horrible. For the ignorant and imbecilic person that they are.
What good is there in putting people down and making them feel inferior? I say, it only cultivates more hatred.