When an act of kindness doesn’t cut it

Ever since I can remember, my parents have always ingrained in me the importance of kindness. “Never turn down anyone who comes to your door for help. At the moment of desperate need they are a form of god testing our values and virtues.” Although these words were soothing and made me believe in humanity early on in life, it also started to brew turmoil when I witnessed them executing those ideals in reality.

Their inability to turn down anyone who needed their help started being perceived as their weakness to the “usual suspects”. Instead of resembling god, the help seekers started to look more like a form of evil to me. They took comfort in knowing that no matter how ill mannered they acted with my parents on a social standing, all would be forgiven if/when they were in time of disparate need. They relied on my parents to rescue them but after the good deed was done, they would resume their pompousness.

It all took a turn for the worse when my parents, for a change, needed the same people’s help in return. Contrary to feeling ecstatic to finally be able to repay, they humiliated my parents and gave them an advice that scarred them for life. “I know we are family by blood but in this day and age no one can really be trusted. You need to be agile, resourceful, and learn to look out for yourself.” My parents were shattered. Along with the bitter echoes of those words they were crippled by the thought that their children would start questioning a core believe system deeply rooted by their parents. How would we cope with the clash of the titans between reality vs ideals at the tender age of 7, 9, and 12?

I think the contradiction turned out to be their biggest strength because they were eventually able to reach their goal without anyone’s help. Instead of being bitter they came through the tunnel more resilient and generous. Even tough I still hold dear the value they taught me about being kind and always helping someone in need, I’m starting to evolve a different value system than the one originally planted.

Yes, one should be kind, generous, and help others in need but at what point do you say enough is enough. Specially if the people knocking at your door are the “usual suspects” and repeat the pattern over and over again.

1. Pompous when they don’t need you.
2. When your help is needed. All of a sudden you are the center of their world.
3. You help them.
4. They are ungrateful and default back to being their pompous self. In extreme cases, they actually backstab you.
5. And repeat!

Am I not doing a disservice to my being and the person with a strong pattern of ungratefulness by coming to their aid every-time as expected? Surely I can “kill” them with kindness but instead of using 100 bullets of kindness isn’t it efficient/effective to just fire 1 bullet of “Fuck No!” Don’t get me wrong, I still am a very optimistic person and have faith in humanity but I can’t change a course of someone’s life by 1 act of kindness.

After all, the mirage of goddess Durga is embracing Sudarshan Chakra, symbolizing unfailing weapon to destroy the evil and inspire righteousness, for a reason. She might not use it as often as the lotus on her palm that represents spiritual consciousness but use it she must.


Richmond, VA

Anjali RokaComment