What makes someone profound? As Gratiano in a play by Shakespeare asserts, there are many who maintain a silent and grim exterior in order to be recognized by the world for their profound wisdom. But such men according to him only wear masks and are in fact fools. So what really makes someone profound? Is it their ‘Mariana Trench’ level deep thoughts; their ability to read the emotions of others; maybe their sense of righteousness or is it their willingness to help a fellow human? Or is it, all of the above?

When I asked my mother the same question some time last year, all she did was chuckle. I had a little ‘Monica Geller’ moment as I knew, that she knew…something, unfortunately, unlike the afore-mentioned person, I didn’t know that something. I realized that maybe being profound was doing something really great in the society, helping hundreds of people and accomplishing unimaginable feats. After all some people who came under the category were Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa.

Recently, I spoke to my mother for almost ten minutes, (she doesn’t have the patience to listen for longer than that) regarding my plans for beginning an organization that would give shelter to the homeless who would in turn help keep the city clean. My mother was visibly exasperated. I didn’t really understand why my mother would be angry when her daughter had such great plans for the world (well, society anyway) That was when she told me that we needn’t do great tasks to be good people. Doing the duties assigned to us responsibly, treating the elders with respect, children with love and being there for people when we see them in need, were the only things we had to do to lead a profound life, according to her.

I was reasonably baffled. If that was all it took, then why were there so few people who live such a life? “Moreover, the synonyms that the thesaurus gives for the word are, ‘far reaching’, ‘deep’, ‘intense’ and ’emotional’,” I couldn’t help but argue. “What is so intense about doing what we always do?”

Do we, though? ” my mother asked me and boy did that give me a lot to ponder about!

A moderate, yet profound life

A simple life where we always do our duties, where we don’t shirk away from responsibilities; in the different roles that we take up as students, parents, teachers, employees; as humans. A simple life where we recognize the experiences of our elders and respect them, where we understand the ignorance of children and forgive them; love them. A simple life where we are there for people truly in need. There may be no cameras facing us in those moments. We may not have people watching us, waiting to praise us for our actions. Would we still be of help to the suffering?

“Are we heroes even when no one is watching us?” That is what my mother taught me to ask myself. To live a profound life, we need to first be capable of being proud of ourselves for having completed all the tasks that God has given us, for treating fellow humans as humans and for making a difference in the lives of those around us, even when the only ones who know about our good deeds are us and the Almighty.