“The most important trip you may take in life,” Henry Boye said, “is meeting people halfway.”
When I look closely at the nature of our existence, it strikes me, that we all are strangers meeting halfway along our journeys… No matter who they are – our parents or spouses, our children or grandchildren… clients, borrowers, lenders, neighbors, strangers, friends or enemies… yes, whosoever they are… we all have met halfway – somewhere along – our respective journeys…
And, the closer I look at it clearer it becomes to me… that, it is the simple, random – spontaneous – act of kindness from our hearts that makes our life journeys fruitful.
If I have touched many lives through my own random acts of kindness... so have others done to me. Neither have I kept the count of my kindness acts nor have others. Our acts of kindness are like the wild seeds of a jungle… We simply drop them, here and there, as we journey along… And, when time comes, these seeds grow into mighty oaks!
Mr. Rao is a gentle soul who is in his mid sixties. Manohar, too, is a kind soul, who is in his late thirties. They both live in my housing complex and just as I met them halfway my journey , they met each other the same way… Some two years ago, when Manohar was seeking admission for his little daughter in one of local convent schools, the application was rejected. When Mr. Rao – who did not know Manohar – learnt about it through a common friend in our colony, Mr. Rao took upon him the responsibility, used his good contacts and got the little daughter of Manohar admitted to the school. For Mr. Rao, such acts are routine in his life. He has done it to umpteen number of people, umpteen times in his life… getting someone a job, here or abroad… getting someone admission in a school or college… helping someone obtain a loan… yes, he has done such random acts of help with no strings attached… He isn’t a social worker or politician… He isn’t a wealthy man either. All that he has is the desire to be resourceful. He operates from that clean space… and, leaves it at that.
“A kind act,” as it is said, “is like a boomerang… it comes back!”
Some eight months ago, Mr. Rao’s wife had to go to America when their daughter was to deliver. Due to some complications during the delivery, Mrs. Rao ended up staying there for eight months. Back home, here, Mr. Rao had to live alone. During this entire eight-month period, Manohar and his wife – who are a busy working couple with two little children – saw to it that Mr. Rao had his dinner every night with them… Mr. Rao was shy and reluctant to do so… But, Manohar’s wife would not leave him… Their little children would not eat till their ‘Ajja’ (grandfather) came home… If they went out, they would make it a point to be home before the dinner time… “Sir, two or three chapattis, this little quantity of dal, vegetable and rice will make no difference to us,” was how Manohar’s wife would repeatedly reassure Mr. Rao each time she noticed the shyness on his face…
Two days ago, Mrs. Rao returned from America. And, I am sure, she alone knows how much difference this genuine act of kindness from Manohar and his wife had made to her husband and their family!
If at all we need a religion in life, I think, it should be this religion called ‘Kindness’. When kindness springs from a clean space in our hearts, it is spiritual… very holy. “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” when Maya Angelou tells us this, what she tells us is: “Be blessed!”
This world maybe a rough and tough place where we all live. But, let’s not allow our hearts of shrink with despair… “Sure the world breeds monsters,” let us be inspired by May Karr, “but kindness grows just as wild.”