Kindness as described in the dictionary is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. To perform such an act of generosity, help, or share with someone if you know they need it may be defined as an act of kindness. Every act of kindness has been proven to increase ones happiness and reduce stress. At the same time, spreading kindness brings happiness to innumerable people in this world. Acts of kindness are innumerable, they depend upon the situation, any act of yours that brings happiness to others is an Act of kindness.
My father was juggling with the seat of his bicycle. He was a tall man and hence he had fixed the seat a few inches higher. Our neighbour had requested to lend him the cycle for some errand. Those days in the early sixties in our locality hardly any one owned a bicycle . Our neighbour was a short man and would have found it difficult to ride it with the seat so high up and that’s why my father was working on it to bring it down to make it comfortable for him to ride. To share your bicycle with someone who needed it was kind enough, to make it comfortable for him was even kinder. It was a small act of kindness which my young mind noted, never to forget.
Mr N had to send his wife to Kerala, her home yown. Her father had come from Kerala to accompany her. Those were days when money was sparse , you needed it but didn’t have it. He needed money to buy them the train tickets, he didn’t have any. It’s then that he came to my mother for help. We werent any rich either. My father’s pay was hardly enough to pay for the rent, the school fees of us three siblings , bus fees and home expenses . Naturally my my mother had no money. She knew that this person needed money desperately, he was our friend, she needed to help him. As I watched, she pulled out two gold bangles from her hand and handed it over to him. Go , she said pawn them and use the money to buy the tickets, you can get them back when you have the money, two bangles less on my hands until then for a few months won’t hurt. As she smilingly handed over the bangles I could see tears of happiness in the persons eyes. You don’t need to be rich to be kind, you need a large heart. Another act of kindness got imbibed in me as I grew up .
The school I went to, St Ursula was run by Swiss missionaries. Mother Nicholas, the principal was a stern, strict disciplinarian yet very kind at heart. She would at times walk into class rooms during lunch hours to see whether each child had his tiffin. Whenever she noticed that some child had not got his tiffin , she would round up all such kids, take them to the staff room and give them meals . When those kids walked back into the class room the sparkle in their eyes was enough to see that they had been overwhelmed by this act of kindness. These incidents happened throughout my school career , bless the kind Mothers soul, her actions again imbibed in me the need to be kind.
I was in class 6. The month of July, it was raining heavily ,many of the school children had got drenched. They were shivering , it was still raining incessantly. Mother Nicolas took rounds of each classroom, picked out all those who were wet, took all of them to the staff room. She managed to arrange a new set of clothes for each of them. Of course many were ill fitting . But now each one was now dry and warm in their new set of clothes. So thoughtful ,she had each child towelled dry and into dry clothes. Kindness personified, who wouldn’t love such a sweet personality. My principal.
My father’s salary could take care if all the monthly expenses. Rent, school fees, bus charges, the shopkeepers bills were more than what he got. So naturally he would default on some payments. The payments he would mostly default on was school fees and house rent. The house rents were pending for over a year now. The landlord would pay him regular visits with no success. One day Narayan Kalbhor the landlord came home, he spoke to my father, he said he understood that with three school going children it was difficult to pay the rent, but he couldn’t waive it off. He placed a proposal , he said you pay my rentals every month from now on, the pending rentals , you just add rupees five every month and over the next five years your past amount will be cleared . This was a magnanimous offer. That night I overheard my father tell my mother , there are very few understanding and sympathetic landlords. We are lucky to be Narayans tenants. Another act of kindness which I witnessed, imbibed in me the need to be kind as I grew up.
When still at school, a classmate Debashish mother passed away. Mother Nicholas went over to their house to console them. One of our teachers who too was there later told us that Mother prepared some tea herself for some of the people who had gathered there. They were surprised , a swiss nun, a principal in her white habbit was such a simple personality. Acts of kindness vary with situations .
The train was packed beyond capacity. I travelled to my junior collage daily by train. It was the same story daily you never got a seat to sit. The old man was bent over, he had a small cloth bag in his hands, his grey hair was cropped short, his beard was grey. No person who was seated offered him a seat to sit, neither did he ask anyone for one. The boy at a side seat was lame, polio had affected his legs at childhood . His eyes fell upon the old man, Baba , he called out to him, please come and sit here. The old man slowly came towards him, the young man got up as he got up the old man noticed his disability and refused the seat saying he would manage. No way the young lame man stood up, gave a gentle push to the old man and seated him even as he with his disabled leg stood , his body distorted holding on to a berth for support. The sparkle in the young mans eyes were evident, the wetness in the old mans eyes couldn’t be missed. Each able one who were seated in the train put down their heads in shame, this disabled person had done what none of them did, which they should have done. Acts of kindness is not for everybody.
I was in my second year of medical college. My senior Naresh and I travelled by train to college. One day as we were on our journey back home and alighted at Chinchwad rail station , we were walking back home, there was an old man pulling a hand cart full of packed gunny bags. The man was old, he wore old leather chappals, a dhoti, kurta and a gandhi cap. He was pulling with all his strength, sweat trickled down his forehead , his was panting. Naresh ran to his cart and began pushing it from the rear, the man felt the lightness, the ease with which he could pull now, he turned around and smiled at Naresh. This went on till his destination was reached . All the while I was walking along. The old man thanked Naresh, we both now continued walking towards our homes. I looked at Naresh in awe. He came from a very rich family, he was in his final year of medicine, yet he willingly and happily pushed the cart to help the old man. This incident reiterated in me the need to be kind to others always. This was an act of sheer kindness .
I was in my car at the junction, the red signal was on. A little girl in dirty tattered clothes was knocking at cars windows ahead of me. The lady in the car rolled down her windows and handed over a packet of biscuits, the girl nodded her head and pointed at something inside the car. The lady smiled , took the doll she was pointing at and handed it to the little girl along with the biscuits. The girls eyes glittered , there was a large smile on her face as she walked away doll and biscuit in hand. The lady too was smiling, happy that she could make some lesser privileged happy. The act of kindness had made two people happy, each in her own way.
It was late night party, we were 7 of us. Having settled our bills we walked out of the restaurant, it was a cold December night. We were busy saying our good byes when I noticed these two children on the pavement. Unkept, dirty, the girl mast have been 7 or 8 years old, the boy 2 or 3 years. Her hands spread out in my direction. I stop there watching their misery, I walked towards them pulled out a hundred rupee note ,bent over and handed over to the girl and turned around to go back. She called out to me the note in hand,asking me to take it back and give her some food instead . I looked into her eyes, hunger was evident. I walked back into the restaurant and asked for a fried rice and some dal. The manager said the kitchen had closed down, I pleaded, one parcel please, he conceded and packed it for me. Carrying the parcel I came out, my friends had dispersed, two of them were still waiting for me. I handed over the food parcel to the girl, she again tried to return the note to me. I refused, I looked at her slowly open the parcel, put in a dirty hand ino the packet, pull out a handful and put it into the little boys mouth. The happiness on their faces was there to be seen. One of my friends went back to the restaurant and got a couple of disposable plates and two bottles of water for the children. In all this, the best act of kindness was the little hungry girl feeding the hungry little boy first oblivious to her own hungry state. Sharing and being considerate to the little boy was an ultimate act of kindness.
There was a huge rush at the out patient department. I was seeing my patients. A patient in the que suddenly felt giddy. He was middle aged and unkept. He lay down on the bench. Some one called out to me to come out and see him. As I was busy examining another patient it took me time , when I came out the patient was sitting on the nurses chair , she had given him a glass of water and some biscuits. She had ordered tea too. Happiness was evident on the mans face, how caring was the nurse. She had picked him up , ushered him into her chair , given him water , biscuits and tea. Kindness, what else was this.
She was with her two year old at the hospital. The doctor had seen her child and prescribed medicines for 5 days and nebulization daily. She was at the pharmacy counter. All she had was 10 rupees, that would be the charges for 5 days of medicines , how would she pay the 2 rupees for the nebulization. She requested the pharmacist to issue her 4 days medicines and return 2 rupees. He asked her why, she explained, the pharmacist looked once at the sick child, he handed her 5 day medicines and also the 2 rupees she would need for the nebulization. She smiled shyly , the pharmacist slowly took 2 rupees from his pocket and put it into the counter. What a silent act of kindness!!
Incidences are innumerable, I don’t intend to keep writing each of them. This blog is only to make all of us realise that one act of kindness from our side can bring succour and joy to someone who needs it most. My primary teacher in this aspect had been my mother , she always believed in the art of giving, be it love, food or money. She always said whatever you give you shall always receive twice as much. Today she’s gone to her heavenly abode, eight years now, but her teachings have had the necessary impact on my life. Let’s all perform atleast one act of kindness daily.