Tag Archives: kindness energy

Values to Cherish

“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.

The tree and the pavement

The tree, the shade, the pavement

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?

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Do you have the energy?

The feet.  The ankles.  The knees.  They are aching.  They are not used to being subjected to carrying the heavy weight above (the rest of me) for so long.  It was meant to be a short ride.  Not so long.

It seemed like a long time ago, but in reality it was only 40 minutes back that I decided to walk it to the nearest bus stop, and take the bus to Jayanagar 4th Block complex.  I got a bus almost immediately.  I got a seat too. And then I gave it up.  At the very next stop an elderly gentleman also got into the bus, and I got up and offered my seat to him.  He thanked me, and sat down.  I moved closer to the door, anticipating that my journey would end in another 5 minutes on a traffic free Sunday evening.

That’s when Mr. Murphy decided to strike.  The bus got stuck in a gridlock. It took a good 15 minutes to break it up.  Traffic had built up by then, and we virtually crawled into the 4th Block bus stand. As I got done, the elderly gent also got up from his seat and asked with concern in his voice “Why did you give me your seat if you are getting down now?  I thought you were getting down at the next stop?” I shook his hand, smiled,  and walked away to my destination – a book shop.

Later, I am across this blog article – http://jimwoodsblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/tom-peters-physics-of-kindness-and_26.html – and it made me ask myself some questions:

Why did I do what I did? Courteousness? Would I have done the same if I knew that I would have to stand for 20 minutes? Was this an isolated act of kindness on my part?

The article makes one point that “it takes energy to propagate kindness”.  And that kindness does not propagate easily for this reason.  Perhaps I had rested well that afternoon to be kind to a stranger. Perhaps my children do not see that aspect in me, when I come back home late at night (tired? energy less?) and ask them about their school work!

To quote a Chinese Taoist philosopher: “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

I was the recipient of an act of kindness myself from a stranger myself.  I was eating dinner one evening at what we Bangaloreans refer to as a standing joint – Prasiddhi – about 100 m away from home – and was finding it too spicy for my taste.  Those who have been to such places would know that there is a water cooler from which the guest is expected to take water in steel tumblers (lottas).  I had taken one, and already finished it.  Unknown to me, one of the workers had been observing me from across the counter.  He came out into the dining area, went to the water cooler, filled up water in a fresh tumbler, and brought it and kept it on my table. He then asked me “sugar beka saar?” and without waiting for my answer, went to the juice counter, and brought some in a small steel bowl. This guy, and the others typically work from 7 AM to 9 PM every day.  They stay on their feet most of the day. It was about 8 PM when this happened. Where did he find the energy to be so kind? He went back behind the counter.  I thanked him after I finished my meal. He seemed to be embarrassed by my thanks – did not want to draw attention to himself I suppose.

So, dear reader, have you been kind today?