A few days ago, I was looking through my Facebook news feed and I came across a video that warmed my heart. CNN runs a series where they pay tribute to their “CNN Heros” and Narayanan Krishnan’s story literally had me sobbing. Seeing as how it is Canadian Thanksgiving today, I thought this was a perfect subject. What we should be thankful for are people like this man.
Having traveled to some of the most impoverished areas on the planet, I have seen the suffering that Narayanan speaks about in his narrative. Being a well-traveled person should not only mean you have a nice tan or have stayed in every Park Hyatt on the planet. It should also mean that you are a student of the world and are aware of how fortunate you are. One of the things I am most thankful for are the experiences I have had in my travels and to have met people from all walks of life.
Goyal, my driver and guide in India took me to places I would have not been able to see if I was on a bus with all of the other wide eyed tourists. The back alleys and most poverty-stricken parts of Delhi were heartbreaking, but it makes you appreciate the basic needs that we take for granted on a daily basis. When I hear about women buying shoes or handbags for astronomical amounts of money, it makes me sick to my stomach as I automatically think of my time in India. Just one pair of Christian Louboutin shoes could feed and an entire village for months. It does not make any sense to me.
I know that some of you are frightened at the thought of getting off the beaten path. Trust me when I tell you that the things you will see and experience will be well worth the few days without your Starbucks Latte and your hair dryer. You cannot appreciate your own life until you see how little most of the world lives with. I truly believe that travel is the best teaching tool.
Travel in itself is a privilege that most people on earth don’t have the means to participate in. When I tell people in North America that I have been to 44 countries, they are usually impressed. When I tell that same bit of information to a person living in a straw hut, they can’t comprehend what that means. They don’t have enough money to travel to the next town over let alone board an intercontinental flight.
The last two sentences in the video are the ones that really got me thinking (and then writing). Often, we think of ourselves. “What can I get?” “What’s in it for me?” Very seldom do you hear about truly selfless acts of generosity. Narayanan Krishnan is an outstanding and inspirational human being.
The next time you are upset or sad about your current state of affairs, I suggest you watch this three minute video again. It will show you that no matter how bad you are feeling, someone out there is much worse off and that there are people like Narayanan out there who have the heart to change the world for a few of the less fortunate.