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The word charity is ambiguous. I get a different sense every time I ponder over it. Growing up, I thought I was a kind person. I always went that extra mile and extended myself to those in need. I did what I could, nothing constructive. I never felt I should be rich enough to be able to help others. I did what I could. It made me feel happy when I fed a hungry stomach, sheltered a homeless or counseled someone out of their poor life decisions (not that I know better, but when they relied on me to do so). My grandfather always said the greatest addiction in the world is to make people happy.

I stood by this till I suddenly started facing a different world. I came across situations where people pretended they are needy. They often exploited my kindness. Professional beggars, fake charity organizations, people barging into my home making unusual monetary pleas, obligations, list goes on. I got dejected that my hard earned money went into something hoax and greedy. Every time I consoled myself and moved on, I was disappointed.

All these increased my insecurities. I withdrew myself from everything and felt cozy in my own world and the challenges it gave. Bad experiences coupled with other life incidents made me bitter from within. I was reacting less to people. Situations were not shaking me or giving sleepless nights as they did. I became that rational, not emotional human being.

One day on my visit to my kid’s pediatrician, I saw this very young couple crying holding their tiny new born. I tried my best not to bother but the mother in me had learnt what was going on. The baby had a heavy metal poisoning, bleeding from parts, he needs to be rescued at earliest before things turn fatal. The doctor accommodated them to an emergency as his clinic was not fully equipped but was holding himself back as his limits are clear. The baby needs prolonged treatment. The problem was obvious. I tried my best to be stern holding my little one tight. My husband then slowly asked ‘shall we’. He didn’t even complete, I said it out loud NO. We left the clinic. Our car was heading home but with a grave silence between us. I reminded myself of all the situations where someone I helped came back chasing me to take more advantage. I’m struggling within myself finding reasons why I shouldn’t help them. My husband again said ‘why shouldn’t we?’

I replied. Aren’t you the one who said I trust everyone and lose my money, who asked me to be rational, and wanted me to be less emotional? He replied, “Yes I did. I did say to change your thought process so you could suffer less. I never wanted you to change yourself”. Tears filling in my eyes I said go.

He galloped back to the emergency, paid for everything not just that one day but every day till the baby came out of the hospital healthy. I waited till I heard the baby is safe. As I went to hospital I saw the happy parents rushing to me thanking me with tears of joy. I held the teeny tiny one close to me and I felt this new life is definitely worth all that I have lost. The young mother did call regularly after that never once to exploit, but to always update me about how her baby is reaching his milestones.

On that day when my husband said he didn’t wanted me to change myself, right at that moment, I did see a bit of Morgan Freeman in him. He inspired me to continue my random acts of kindness.