TODAY -

Random Acts of Kindness
- Through the lens of a Single Woman III -

Sophia AK *

Random Acts of Kindness



I believe that once we have been blessed with an act of kindness, we should not hold on to it. We should pass it on to the next person so that the person can pass it on to somebody else. It is important that we do this without expecting anything in return otherwise we get trapped once again in the trivial things of life.

Once when I was driving on a highway, I stopped at a Toll Booth to pay. The man at the counter just handed me a payment slip. I told him that I have not paid for it but he just smiled and said that the vehicle in front of me had paid my toll. I was foxed, I didn't know the person who did it and by the time I passed the booth, the vehicle was nowhere to be seen.

I don't know why the person did it but that mere act put a smile on my face. It made my day and I promise myself that I will pass it on to the next person, a random act of kindness.

That's what I want to talk about today. How many of us have promised ourselves a random act of kindness every hour, every day, every month, every year?? At times, we get too caught up in our lives that we fail to see things right in front of our eyes. We fail to realize how much a kind word, a little help, a smile or an ear to listen to, makes a difference to somebody.

We think about all the big things that we will do once we have the time and the money. But the fact is that no matter how much time we have or how much money we have, we keep on pushing it for some other day, some other time, till it altogether disappears from our list of priorities and finally from our memories. Then one fine day, somebody decides to do a good turn to you for no reason, in the process knocking some sense into you.

I have always believed that kindness has got nothing to do with money, time or status. When I was sharing my flat with my roommate, on days when I was late, I would find dinner waiting for me on the table, the mess in my room straightened out. I know that my roommate did not have to do it, she was under no obligation but she did. It just makes me appreciate her more for the small things that she did.

The other day when I was heading back home from work, I saw a small girl, maybe about 6 years, trying to pump water from the hand pump. She was so tiny that she could barely reach the handle and just a small trickle of water spouted every time she pulled the handle. I walked over to her and asked if I could do it for her.

After getting her consent, I filled up her bucket in a couple of minutes and carried it all the way to her house, which was right across the road. When I said bye, she gave such a beautiful smile that it filled every corner of my heart. Yes, it made my day and that smile stayed with me for a very long time.

When I go back to Delhi after my stay in the hills, it takes a couple of weeks for me to get back into the frenzy of things in the city. Instead of driving in wide open roads, I have to get used to bumper to bumper traffic and non-stop honking. Being in the hills taught me to be kind to myself too, I am never in a hurry when I am on the road, so I let every Tom, Dick & Harry over-take me.

I smile to myself when I hear a joke on the radio, or I pull over to the side when I hear a golden oldie. I never honk unless required. I stop to buy a bouquet of roses from the little girl at the traffic signal. The flowers might be on their way out but nonetheless I buy it because it makes me happy.

The other day I was pleasantly surprised when I stopped to hail an auto in Delhi. Autos are known in Delhi for fleecing people and driving at reckless speed. The driver was an old Sardar, old enough to be my grandfather. I asked him if he would take me home and how much he would charge.

It is a rule that you always negotiate the fare before you get on to the auto. He looked at me and asked me to get in the auto first. I was stumped; nobody has said anything like that to me for a long time. I just got in without a word. After a couple of minutes of driving, he asked me to pay him whatever I thought was fair.

He drove so well and so safely that when I reached home, I paid him a little more than required - just because he treated me so kindly. He did not see me in terms of money. He saw me as another human being.

I believe that once we have been blessed with an act of kindness, we should not hold on to it. We should pass it on to the next person so that the person can pass it on to somebody else. It is important that we do this without expecting anything in return otherwise we get trapped once again in the trivial things of life.

We can be kind to people who have been mean to us, who have hurt us or who have used us. As I said before, kindness has got nothing to do with money, time or status. Do it because you want to do it, not because people expect us to be kind or society pressurizes us to do so. Let it be a part of your being.

Can you then imagine how wonderful this world would be, through random acts of kindness???


* Sophia AK wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) as part of "Through the lens of a Single Woman" series
This article was posted on January 10, 2012.



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