No, I won’t!” Faria snapped and slammed down the phone.
Rabia paused in the doorway, surprised by the sharp tone of her younger sister and watched in amazement.
“Who was that, Faria?” Rabia asked.
“It was Hira!” Faria answered disdainfully. She wanted my history and geography copies to cover up the work she had missed because of her illness. Our tests are starting next week.”
“And you refused to help her? That’s not like you,” the older sister commented.
“I had asked her to lend me the book Scorpia Rising from the Alex Rider series last week and she had said ‘no’. So I decided to say ‘no’ to her today,” Faria explained a little sulkily.
“Hmm. And do you feel happy about your decision?” Rabia tried to guide her sister to the right path.
Faria did not answer immediately. She had a good heart and was usually very helpful and generous, but she had felt very angry when Hira had refused to lend her the book which she eagerly wanted to read.
“No, actually I don’t feel happy. Hira had been ill and it isn’t her fault that she has missed so much of the school work. Maybe I should have helped her,” she replied.
“Did you ask her why she could not lend you the book?” Rabia further tried to resolve the issue which has caused resentment between the two friends.
“She said that it belongs to her older brother and he does not let anyone touch his stuff,” Faria told.
“So it’s not Hira’s fault that she could not give you the book, Faria. You should not have been so hard on her,” Rabia said gently.
“It seemed so right to say ‘no’ to her when she had said ‘no’ to me in the first place. But now I am all confused,” said Faria.
“Faria you should not let other people dictate how you behave. Otherwise you will spend your whole life reacting to other people’s attitude and not develop a mature personality of your own,” Rabia explained.
“What do you mean? I don’t understand,” asked a confused Faria.
“I mean that you should be kind and generous and helpful even if the other person does not return your kindness or does not show gratitude. Not many people are in a position to reciprocate at once. If each one of us waits for someone else to be good and kind first, no good deed will ever get done,” Rabia patiently explained to her sister.
“But sometimes people are mean and selfish intentionally. Are you saying we should be nice to them too?” said Faria angrily.
“You should not let anyone take advantage of you. But if others are callous or uncooperative, it should not mean that we should harden our hearts and not help them when they are in trouble or need our help. What will be the difference between those you call ‘mean and selfish’ and us, if we copy their behaviour? Besides, who knows your good nature and kindness might inspire others to take a good, hard look at their own attitude towards others and change.
You know, I once read some very special words which had a deep impact on me. Let’s see if I can remember them…” Rabia closed her eyes and concentrated and then recited the poem from memory.
“People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.”
“Wow! These are really very inspirational words. Who wrote this poem?” asked Faria as Rabia finished.
“They were inscribed on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, and are attributed to her, but I don’t know who the original poet is. The important thing to remember is that you should not be nice to be pretentious or for showing off. Doing the right thing always brings you inner peace even if the person hasn’t been that nice to you,” said Rabia.
“You are right. I had felt very bad after I refused to give Hira my copies. An inner voice kept on telling me that it is not right to say no when I could have helped her so easily. I’ll call her right now.”
With these words, Faria went to call Hira to offer her help. After all, being the helping hand has its own rewards. It’s just a matter of looking at things in a different way!