I borrowed this quote from Aesop, but its truth resonates deeply with me, as I have experienced it firsthand in my own life. Today, I want to share three incidents that completely changed my perspective.
During my first year of graduation, I faced a significant setback. Graphics, a subject that required drawing skills, proved to be my greatest challenge. While I understood the concepts, I struggled to express them on paper. When the results were released, I discovered that I had failed in that subject. The failure shattered my world, leaving me broken. However, during that difficult time, I received help from Nithin, Arjun, and Pranav, who supported me in passing the supplementary exam. I also want to acknowledge Shabnam, a civil engineer and my cousins’ aunt. Despite being on a holiday visit, she generously offered her assistance, teaching me valuable drawing techniques. Their kindness and support were instrumental in overcoming that failure.
Seminar Presentation at College:
Public speaking has always been a daunting challenge for me. In my fourth year of graduation, I faced a mandatory seminar presentation, a fear that had plagued me since my first day of college. Typically, the presentation order was determined by ascending or descending roll numbers. However, our professor, Vineetha Miss, decided to mix up the order, providing me a great relief. I had prepared my topic, seminar report, and slides, which had been approved by my mentor. I did what I was comfortable with and attended classes until the end of the semester. But as the presentation day approached, I contemplated quitting. Thankfully, my mother reached out to my friend Pallavy, who informed Vineetha Miss about my situation. Vineetha Miss assured my mother that I would pass the seminar, given that I had submitted the necessary materials. When I returned home, my family and friends encouraged me to face the challenge head-on. With their support, I decided to confront my fear. As I stood before the audience, I experienced overwhelming anxiety. While attempting to present, my words failed me, and darkness clouded my vision. Unable to proceed, I approached Vineetha Miss, who kindly told me to submit my report, assuring me that I would not fail. She was already aware of my fear, and without her understanding and support, that day could have marked the end of my graduation.
First Day of My Career:
May 11, 2015, marked the beginning of my career as a software developer. The first day included a training program for all new employees, totaling 16. As I entered the meeting room, I felt a surge of nervousness. Interacting with new people had always been a significant challenge for me. I found a seat far away from the person already sitting there. Once everyone settled, Arun Babu, a senior resource in the L&D department, began speaking and asked us to introduce ourselves one by one. Being the last one to introduce myself, my heart raced with each completed introduction, and darkness began to cloud my vision. I couldn’t move or speak, and even my own name slipped my mind. Finally, it was my turn. I stood up and managed to say, “My name is Afsal.” A deep silence followed, as everyone stared at me. I stood frozen for a moment. Arun approached me, patted my shoulder, and kindly suggested that I go to the pantry on the right side to have a cup of tea or coffee. Confused and overwhelmed, I walked towards the exit door, intending to leave.
However, since I didn’t have my access card, I couldn’t open the door. Feeling trapped, I reluctantly headed to the pantry and decided to have some tea. To my surprise, I encountered some of my college seniors there, which brought me a sense of comfort and familiarity. We engaged in conversation, and their presence lifted my spirits. After spending some time with them, I returned to the meeting room. Arun smiled at me, and I returned the gesture. He proceeded to talk about our company and other relevant topics.
As the day progressed and it was time for the lunch break, Arun requested that I sit near him for the remainder of the day. Initially, I had considered it my last day at the company, but his small act of kindness began to change my perspective. Towards the end of the day, Arun approached me and asked, “Nale varille?” with a smile, which translates to “Are you coming tomorrow?” It felt as though he understood my inner struggle, and his compassionate gesture transformed my thoughts.
Looking back, that simple act of kindness from Arun completely altered the trajectory of my career. From the following day onward, he became a great friend and continues to be one even now.
When I was chosen as a mentor for freshers in my company, I gained a deeper understanding of their struggles and could provide them with better support. I maintained close connections with all my mentees, offering help whenever they needed it. I believe that no act of kindness is ever wasted; it spreads from one person to another, ultimately shaping the world we live in.
In various religions, God is often associated with kindness. For example, in Islam, Allah is referred to as the Most Merciful, embodying kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. In Christianity, Jehovah is described as a loving and merciful God, emphasizing kindness and grace towards humanity. In Hinduism, Brahma is believed to be the ultimate reality and the source of all creation, often associated with compassion and benevolence. Similarly, in Mahayana Buddhism, Avalokitesvara, known as the Bodhisattva of Compassion, exemplifies kindness and compassion towards all beings. These examples illustrate that the concept of God is closely intertwined with kindness and benevolence.
In conclusion, my personal experiences have demonstrated the transformative power of kindness. Acts of kindness from others have helped me overcome failures, conquer fears, and shape my career. They have taught me that simple acts of kindness can have a profound impact, not only on individuals but also on the world at large. Let us remember that kindness is a universal language, and by spreading it, we contribute to the betterment of humanity.