28 November 2012

Thanksgiving story: karma catch-up

I love the concept of Thanksgiving. I love the idea that at least once a year people in this part of the world pause and take a moment to express their gratitude. There is so much life to be thankful for- our family, our friends, our health. The list is practically endless.  But the occasion is not just about the thanks, its also about giving. So this year for thanksgiving, I wanted to share a story about 'giving'. And how it all somehow comes back.

Every year, N and I write out two small donations at this time of the year. Mine is usually to Vancouver's BC Children's Hospital- this place has a special place in my heart. It was the hospital where little V was born and I can never forget the wonderful service I received at this place- the doctors, the nurses, the staff were absolutely marvelous so I send them a little token of appreciation from little v and me every year. N's donation these days goes to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, which works hard for pioneering research for pediatric cancers.

This year as we were writing out the cheques, N told me a little story about the very first donation he ever made and how it all came back. About 10 years back, when N was in the last year of his undergraduate program, he got an internship with a pharma company in Mumbai. On his way back home one day, he saw an advertisement in the paper requesting donations for a young girl who was suffering from cancer. The girl was from a small town and belonged to a poor family who  unfortunately could not afford the expensive treatment needed to save the girl. Something about the story touched N so he sent him a cheque that night for half of his monthly internship income. With the cheque he sent the girl his best wishes and then forgot all about it. A few months later, N was pleasantly surprised to see a handwritten letter of thanks from the girl thanking him for his generosity and goodwill. Also included was a heartfelt invitation to visit them at any time in the future. Unfortunately, amidst all the hustle and bustle of the later years, N lost the letter. To this day, he regrets not keeping in touch with the girl-  we both hope that she is happy and healthy.

What is interesting for me though is that this good karma nudged N into the right direction. Years later, N went on to work with one of the best researchers on anti-cancer medications in North America- an experience of a lifetime. Not only that but at a time when getting jobs in US is tough even for experienced folks, N secured a position right after his PhD. Again, with a company focused on anti-cancer drugs.

You could call it coincidence. I call it good karma. I sincerely, earnestly believe in giving back- doesnt matter if its a little or lot. Its the gesture that matters. And the goodwill behind it. Because if it is with a clean conscience and a true heart, it has the power to make a difference.

I did not write this post with the intention of glorifying N. He is what he is. What I wanted to share was my takeaway from the story that once a good deed is done, even if we least expect it to (or perhaps because we least expect it to) it somehow always comes back.

 Picture courtesy: compassionistagirl.org

A very happy thanksgiving to everyone.

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