I was standing in the terrace of a building in suburban Chennai, India, where my in-laws live. Pointing at the opposite hospital complex, my wife said: “This TB hospital has now been converted into an AIDS centre thanks to Bill Gates (BG).”
Where is Bill Gates and where is Tambaram? What’s the link! I found the answer. Goodwill and compassion.
Why this talk on BG? There’s a reason. Yesterday Saturday. The usual bookstall visit. And the usual picking up of books at random. What came in my hand was “Showing up for Life,” by Bill Gates Sr.
I glanced for three minutes when the phone call from my friend forced me to move on. But two quick vague notes I made to share with you.
BG Sr wrote about the value of human goodwill. He referred to Pablo Neruda, a Nobel poet of Chile. When Neruda was a child he used to play around a big wall separating his house from a neighbour’s. There was a hole. One day N pushed his hand through the hole, just to see another hand come through. He played along, but never got to see the other face. Next day, when he reached the spot, there was a doll gift. He picked it up, played with it and the succeeding day he placed his own gift. BG Sr highlights how the value of sharing without even knowing the other person brings such immense joy, even to a child.
He also wrote about fight against polio. He had seen the parental anguish caused by the crippling effects of polio. “I am hopeful that I'll live to see polio completely eradicated,” says the man in his eighties.
BG Sr’s says: I believe our society works better when people think less about "me and mine" and more about "us and ours."
Bill Gates Jr.. I am not amazed by your humility any more. You have it in your genes boss. Ask your dad.