“Garage ka chaabi de jara” said my brother (Give me the keys to the garage). He normally does not keep anything there, so as I gave him the key I asked him what he wanted to keep inside. “Nahin. Plastic chairs nikal na hai andar se” (No. I have to remove the plastic chairs from inside).
Apparently a family was taking shelter under the solid shade of the Honge tree in front of our home, and there was an elderly lady and gent among them, and he wanted to offer the chairs to them.
I have mentioned earlier about the Hospital that is virtually next door to us. These folks were visiting the hospital to be with a loved one. They had brought packed lunch with them, and in the absence of a canteen in the hospital, needed a place to sit and have their meal in peace. I noticed that they had brought their food in steel containers. They were having their meals in disposable plates.
Later in the afternoon, when I went out, I noticed that the chairs had been kept back on our verandah, and there was no food or disposable plates at the base of the tree. Yes, there was traces of water at the base of the tree where they had possibly washed their hands. My heart swelled with pride for my fellow Bangaloreans actions. In spite of their personal situation, they had made sure that there was no litter left behind. Along with it came a sense of shame that I had expected them to litter the place, if nothing else, at least with the disposable plates. They hadn’t.
My thinking was based on an incident a few days back. An early morning, when I had seen a number of disposable plates that had been littered by the roadside in front of our home. I felt that it was a Ganesha immersion party that had done the deed. I had heard several processions go past our home the previous night. And then there are the many smartly dressed youngsters who often come to the store next door, pick up ice cream or chocolates, and think nothing of dropping the sticks or the covers on the pavement in front of our home. Naturally, I wished Bangalore had more people like that family, and less of the latter.
Also, is there not a common thread between my brother’s and the family’s actions? A mind (or is it heart?) that cares for entire strangers. One which thinks about not inconveniencing others. This to me , is a value that is to be cherished. A value that anyone has to be thankful to one’s parents and teachers for inculcating in us. A common refrain is “It is not easy to practice this value in this age. Everyone cares only about themselves first.”. Do try. The more you do, the better you will get at it. And the world will be a better place for it. Agree?