Empathy The Treasure Buried

Empathy The Treasure Buried

“Tears? What happened?” Lulu, my parrot was surprised and hopped closer to me. I do not know if parrots ever shed tears, but they surely have a noble quality: empathy.

“I was watching this movie, ‘Bandini’ the old classic. Female prisoners sing a song in that they are speaking to a bird, a free bird. I found the scene very touching.”

“People get emotional easily as they grow old.”

“Oh, yes. My children laugh seeing me in tears while watching a movie.”

“Some can empathise so easily. Don’t you remember what Malar Vannan Fernando said? He has adopted ten HIV affected children and he is looking after them for last ten years or so.”

“When I mentioned this in his introduction to the audience, we had invited him to speak at a forum, they burst in a loud applause. The audience instantly appreciated it.”

“Malar certainly displays high level of empathy. Some wish to serve the poor, help the sick persons, because they feel good doing it. But people like Malar feel the pain, that’s the difference.”

“Empathy is not always evident, it is often latent. It takes an event to explode it on surface.  Satya Nadella of Microsoft in his ‘Hit Refresh’ tells of an incident.”

“Tell me….. Read it out”

[Richard] had one simple question. “Imagine you see a baby laying in the street, and the baby is crying. What do you do?” he asked. “You call 911,” I replied without much forethought. Richard walked me out of his office, put his arm around me, and said, “You need some empathy, man. If a baby is laying on a street crying, pick up the baby.””

“Wow! Most people in the corporate world would have answered like Sathya. Empathy so badly missing there.”

“Why talk of the corporate world? It is terribly in short supply in our society. Empathy is like a treasure buried; it is there deep down and you discover it suddenly.”

“What matters is whether you are moved to help the person, it is not feeling what he feels is enough.”

“You mean ‘Compassionate Empathy!”

“Yes, Professor”

“Oh, shut up, Lulu. People relive their experience when they feel empathy, which is what drives them to tears.”

“Showing empathy and emotions is not considered ‘manly’. That could be one block to empathy. Showing emotions comes naturally to women, it is almost totally the privilege of ladies.”

“How can you be authentic without sharing your feelings? They say good leaders are not afraid if their emotions are seen by the world.”

“Disclosure is a no-no in the man’s world. People focus on ‘feedback.’ Only on feedback, to be precise. It necessary for self-development. But if you want to be understood by others, disclosure holds the key.”

“You are right, Lulu! Disclosure does not come to us easily. It is not without reason that my wife says ‘Even after forty-one years of marriage I have not really understood you.’”

“Ha ha ha! Never too late, my friend, it is time for some confessions, yaar!” Lulu said as he continued nibbling his fruit.

Vivek S Patwardhan