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Humanity By Way of Humility, 2016

The Saga of Cox and Kings - Part 4

Hari Prasada Das


I strolled over to Melissa with the new application and waited for her to stop arguing with the present anxious applicant. Eventually, the exchange wound down and I walked up.

Hi Melissa, here’s my corrected application.

I was still panicked at the thought that there’s no guarantee any of this will work. In fact, the odds are severely stacked against me. But I’d made it to this point and defied so much adversity to have this exchange with our Melissa, I was not going to lose hope now...

She carefully examined the printed document.
How do you do it? I suddenly asked her.
You must get impatient, fearful, angry customers regularly who take out their frustration on you.
She sighed, nodding her head.
And I can see you’re doing what you can to genuinely help them. “Well, thanks, although sometimes I’m tempted not to…”
I understand.
I appreciate your intention to be of service to us.
It shows.
And I know it’s not easy.
I empathize with your situation.

Some lightness appeared on her stern face and she, too, smiled.
“Thanks for saying that.”
No problem, I mean it.
“Well, your application’s good to go.”
“Look out for an email from us and track the status.”
“No guarantees, but I really hope you make it…”
Thank you!
I walked away, completely humbled by the day.

It dawned on me that I, myself, didn’t even feel like a human being in that place… It was hard to treat others as human. And with my objective so pressing and intense, my agenda pushes whatever prospect of humanity could be present to only the most distant realms. But that’s where I felt I’d returned from when I walked back into our apartment to work again. Like I’d gone to another country, much farther than earthen India.

My mind was ill at ease about the unavoidable situation and all its uncertainty. But my heart was full. I distinctly felt it. And I was tired. Emotionally more than physically, as if after a good workout for the insides.

I thought about my life and how it would look from above. Would these seemingly insignificant moments count?

It was clear: Not the pressures. But the way I conducted myself in spite of them and because of them. That counts! Even when it looks like no one’s watching...

But the Cox and Kings employees are not no one… That is the greatest mistake. That is the violation of the ages. It’s why our world is so vicious to the underprivileged and cold to the privileged. We don’t realize the responsibility that’s in our hands. Every day. We’ve got a chance to embody these aphorisms:

“Strive not to be a success. But rather to be of value.”
-Albert Einstein

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

A little visa crisis ingrained it in me.

Everything’s an opportunity, even the very petty… the mundane… the banal… How will we seize it?

Hari Prasada Das

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