If you open the newspaper, they are filled with some killings from all over the world.

I have wondered how a beautiful place like Kashmir can be eternally peaceful?

I have wondered is there an easy way for the perpetual Israel – Palestine conflict?

Why does Maoism or Naxalism persist?

All of the spiritual leaders advocate Compassion, and I see Compassion as a good formula for resolving conflicts of any kind.

However, the devilish voice inside me tells me

“What is going inside you is all idle talk. You claim to be compassionate, but when it comes to you, will you be compassionate?”

When a dog chases me during my morning walk, I just get the feeling that I should turn around and kill it, but my better sense prevails. I go for the fight or flight approach and somehow after the moment passes I wonder ‘How can I  get the thought of harming another living being,’ and I credit myself of having survived without getting harmed or harming the dog.

I answer the devil – “You are wrong.”

I have cheered myself when I have overcome a potentially explosive situation with compassion mostly with members of family and people outside. The gargantuan ego of mine swells with pride realizing my compassionate nature!

However,  this week I got a rude shock, and I was humbled more than ever.

It was, as usual, a busy morning with my wife getting the kids ready for the school and me as an involved parent, attempting to escape for my morning walk, noticed a mouse and unfortunately mentioned to my wife there is a mouse near the TV.

All hell broke loose, and I was handed the charge of the getting the mouse out of my house.

The mouse was too agile for my skills.

My wife, sensing my lethargy called my son and the security guard for reinforcements.

Three of us were in the mouse hunt now, and still, the mouse was getting the better of us.

We took a deep breath, evolved a strategy, blocked all the exit points except one and cornered the mouse. The one exit was to provide a smooth exit to the mouse out of the house.

The mouse finally gave up and was nearing the exit point. However, for some reason, it wanted to return to the house and turned its back.

I lost my patience and in one light swift blow to its neck, ended its life.

The security guard took the lifeless mouse and went away.

My son credited me with “Super Blow, Appa” and shouted, “Amma – Appa killed the mouse.”

My wife came out screaming and did not stop shouting at me. ‘Why did you kill the mouse. Your dad and my dad have never done that in the past in similar circumstances. Who asked you to kill it.’

My daughter came out and told “Appa – you could have let it go.”

My mother said, “It is ok.”

In a few minutes, I have turned from a compassionate individual to a ruthless murderer.

I have stopped defending any of my actions, but on reflection, this incident revealed a great insight about me.

As the devil inside me suspected, I am a hypocrite.

All the talk of compassion is for others.

If anything as harmless as a mouse threatens my space, I shall do anything to protect my space.

At night, at the dinner table, when the conversation returned to my surgical strike of the mouse, I was pronounced guilty 3-1, and the only word of solace came from my son. He told

“Forget it Appa, what you did falls under the category of Desperate Measures.

What do you think?

Does this make me a hypocrite?

In the end, aren’t we overly protective and possessive about our spaces?

Do we have the will for compassion, when it matters?

At least, for me, the answers to the above questions are a Yes, Yes, No

What would be your answers?

Or rather

What would you have done to the mouse?

Remember, despite being a real incident, the mouse is just symbolic. It could be anything that threatens your space!

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)