Life-affirming gesture


I love this adage — “Kindness has a beautiful way of reaching down into a weary heart and making it shine like the rising sun.”

Sometimes, people touch our lives when we least expect it. I had an encounter with one such person, which surprised and pleased me. I’m thankful such people exist. Let me start with a little background about our trip and then relate the episode.

Sometime ago, my hubby, my in-laws and I went on a trip to the place where they had spent their childhood. This visit, after 40 years, was a nostalgic one. I tagged along for a joyride and to be the official photographer.

The benefits were the relaxing train journey, sceneries, and the company of my family. I was a silent spectator to their excited chatter about their school days, their friends and all the memories that connected them to this place woven into the strands of time. Listening to their animated talk made me smile. Recalling our childhood memories brings us joy.

Not much had changed where the infrastructure was concerned. The school, church, railway station and market place remained the same. Since my father-in-law worked in the Railways, they had stayed in the quarters close to the station. The house still stood there, beckoning them to muse over childhood episodes and friends who shared their playtime. The best part of the entire trip was meeting a few old teachers. Words cannot express their brimming-with-joy moments.

Let’s get down to the ‘angel in disguise’ part of the story. The last visit of ours was to a playground, an arena once for local matches, now converted into a small stadium. We were going around in circles trying to find its entrance, as the main gate was closed. We assumed there was a smaller entrance, but didn’t know on which side. Our queries to passers-by or shop owners near the playground got us no answers. We were either met with quizzical glances or were just ignored. Frustrated, we turned to return to our place of abode, when we heard unusual sounds behind us. Someone was trying to get our attention.

Turning around, we saw a hawker beaming at us and pushing his cart. We realised that he had a speech impediment and couldn’t talk. He was pointing out in the direction of the smaller entrance, for us to follow him to the back of the stadium. He had been watching our futile efforts for directions. This small gesture really touched my heart. Here is an example of a man who couldn’t speak but was guiding us. How nice of him. As I write this, I remember this man with a feeling of gratitude. He chose to help us, while the rest of them had ignored us.

Often, we wait for great occasions to help someone. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we started with little deeds of kindness? This mute man taught me a lesson through his simplicity. I know that he won’t read this, but I pray that God will bless him. May he continue helping other people and touching lives.

For those of us who can be helpful to others but won’t — give kindness a thought. It may be just a kind word, calling a lonely friend, or lending a helping hand to the aged. I have started doing my bit. It’s a start. Be the reason someone smiles today. Don’t wait for tomorrow. You or they may never have one. Let us leave footprints of kindness wherever we go.

I would like to end with the wise words of Dalai Lama — “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

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