Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Action speaks louder than words

Recently, I heard a story that inspired me. It is a true story about a professor of mine from college days. He was conducting a course on HIV for doctors from mission hospitals to enable them to begin HIV clinics in their own hospitals. It was a 3 week programme and the first week was based in a home for people living with HIV/AIDS in Bangalore. The 20-odd participants, most of them physicians and community-health specialists from various remote areas of the country would have been expected to share a high level of compassion and empathy with the members of the home and yet, there was a palpable sense of uneasiness in the room as many of the doctors were encountering HIV/AIDS in this magnitude for the first time.

The professor entered the room and asked for chai to be served as everyone sat around in a circle and introduced themselves. When the chai came, he did something unexpected. He called one of the children of the home over and sat him on his lap. He then proceeded to share his cup of tea with the child, taking alternate sips as the whole room watched. That single act did more to relieve the tension in the room than any lecture on empathy and identification would have. And when I heard it from one of the participants, I too was inspired. And reminded that great men still live and walk among us. Thank you, Professor OC Abraham. You inspire us......