Random acts of kindness

Random acts of kindness

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For a few years I lived in a small town of Central India. We had a house on top of a picturesque hill with a lake at the bottom of it. The downside, however, was that the area was deserted. A half a kilometre walk got you to one of the most famous heritage hotels of the city and that’s where you could hope for any kind of public transport.

I rarely minded the walk except during the summer when the sun beat down relentlessly and the sweat ran down your face and back in incessant rivulets making a ragamuffin of you no matter how much care you’d taken to dress up.

One such summer day as I was walking down the deserted path a car stopped by me. The windows rolled down and I found a bunch of AfroAmerican girls staring out. ‘Do you want a lift?’ asked one of them.

I have to stop here to explain that a ‘lift’ was unheard of those days and all my mom’s warnings about talking to strangers rang out loud and clear in my head. However the sun was so very hot that, apprehensive as I was, I got into the car. I think the girls sensed my apprehension and one of them remarked – I hope you’re not thinking we’re going to kidnap you or anything.

That completely freaked me out. I poised myself to spring out of the car at the slightest hint of danger. As it turned out they were simply doing me a good turn, they dropped me off at the hotel and drove away. I was so relieved I couldn’t even thank them properly.

It’s been almost two decades and I have not forgotten either their kindness or my fear.

Each time an unexpected act of kindness visits us, we look upon it with suspicion. Click To Tweet

Sad, isn’t it?

And then another time..

My sister and I had to catch a local train in Bombay. We heard the whistle of the train even as we were struggling down a rather steep flight of stairs with a huge bag which we held between us. Along came a man in a checked lungi and a vest. Before we knew it he had taken the bag from us and was almost running down the steps, his slippers flapping on the ground. We ran after him worried and apprehensive, but all he did was put the bag down on the platform. Then he disappeared into the crowd. He didn’t wait for any kind of acknowledgement, no thank yous, nothing. Just walked off.

Random acts of kindness, such as this one can make someone’s day.

Then again..

The other day I was coming home staggering under the weight of multiple shopping bags with all my monthly shopping when an old lady offered to help. She took some bags from my hand and walked with me to the lift. A small act I know, but the strange bit was that up until that moment I had always dismissed her as a rather unpleasant old woman going by the way she yelled at the children for making a noise in the building lobby.

The man who stops his car on the road to let you cross, the person in the supermarket queue who gives you his place because you had just one thing to buy, the young girl who gives up her seat for you on the bus – small, simple acts of kindness can bring a smile. It really doesn’t take much  – a word, a smile, two minutes of your life – can make a difference.

Kindness is one of the most underrated virtues - the easiest to give and receive. Click To Tweet

All we need to do is open our eyes and hearts and be ready for it.

Have you ever received kindness from strangers? Would love to hear from you.

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Linking up with Amrita for #ThankfulThursdays.

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26 Replies to “Random acts of kindness”

  1. True, acts of kindness by strangers are usually met with suspicion and bewilderment. And this is when these acts of kindness truly warm our hearts and we remember them with a fond smile, always. This suspicion is because of our general cynicism or a distrust of mankind/people around us. But, we must nurture this habit/desire of helping people around us. Enjoyed reading this post, Tulika 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently put up this amazing post…Surthrive -Thursday Tree Love #3

  2. It feels so good when people are kind and not blow the horn on it.

    I agree, its the most underrated virtue, but being kind is nice!

  3. Loved reading this Tulika. I could imagine the fear of getting in that car. I could write a while post on such random acts. It takes a little to be kind and so much pleasure when someone is kind to us. Definitely worth trying.

  4. Excellent post. This is why, we’ve initiated the #WATWB blogfest, to highlight these random acts of kindness. Kindness is such a natural instinct, but people mostly shy away from it.

  5. Wonderful post, Tulika. Isn’t it true that our initial reaction to kindness is to be suspicious? I remember these guys offering me their shopping cart at a store so I wouldn’t have to put a coin in it and I refused because I thought they were up to something when they were just being nice. I got all flustered. Mostly it was because I hate those coin type carts and I couldn’t figure it out!
    I remember when I was in London and trying to travel the Tube. So many of the stations don’t have escalators so I’d have to drag my suitcase up and down the stairs. A few times, some of the Londoners gave me a hand and carried the suitcase for me which was so kind of them.
    There is kindness in the world if we look around and are open to it and most of all, if we set an example and do acts of kindness ourselves, right, Tulika? Thanks for the reminder.

    1. That’s true – there are many kind people around. Many times I find myself hesitating to help out someone because I’m not sure how the kindness would be received – but one should should just go ahead and do it.

  6. I think random acts of kindness are quite common. I have been at their receiving end many times. And I have, in turn, helped out many people as well. It is this that makes our lives interesting as well as worthy.

  7. Such a beautiful post, Tulika. Reading the instances you shared made me realise that the world is not such a bad place after all.
    Yes, kindness is viewed with suspicion and we are all guilty of doing so at some time or the other. But I guess we can never have too much of kindness, can we?
    Thank you for writing for #ThankfulThursdays

    1. Thank you Mayuri. I have been unusually fortunate :-). I often find people being kind to me. These instances stood out so very much because they were from total strangers and also because I didn’t appreciate them enough.

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