A couple of weeks back I was celebrating Eid with my friends, and we had our Eid Feast on Roosevelt Island. It was a beautiful day; the sun was out, the sky was clear and a perfect day for photography. I took out my phone and started capturing photos of sun-setting opposite the East River. However, I noticed that the pictures from my camera weren’t as good as my friend’s camera, who was also capturing the sunset. I thought it was the quality of the camera, but this is the same camera which has taken breath-taking photos in the past. In the midst of this thought, my friend asked me a straightforward but not very obvious question which left me reflecting for some days. He asked, when did you clean the lens of your camera last-time? I could not remember when, but why should I remember and why does it matter? It mattered because cleaning my lens the next minute entirely changed the result of my camera. It was unbelievable!

This question also stands true in our lives, when the world is talking about changing our lens through which we see the world, more often just cleaning our existing lens can make us a better human being. Maybe our lens is not the problem, but the dust of our biases on it needs to be cleaned. What does it mean to me and why am I writing about it? In life we underestimate the importance of small actions; however, our little efforts, of being kind, to apologize first, to forgive and embrace, to start again, to express love and to not judge can make a huge difference in the quality of life we live and our relationships with people around us. The kind question from my humble friend gave me an invitation to start thinking and keep on making small changes that matter. I would like to stay with this question for a while and see how cleaning my lens can increase my capacity to give and receive as a human being.