Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kindness: the best self-satisfaction

This story is from the time I used to be around 11 or 12 years old. I had been visiting my maternal uncle for a week or so during my summer vacations from school, which was a regular activity every year for me and my siblings. Once I was invited by my uncle to accompany him to the local market to help in handling the grocery and ration items to be bought. While passing through market area, I spotted an old beggar asking for one poori-sabzi from a food-hawker but he got rebuked and marched forward asking the people passing by for some alms in exchange for God's blessings. Some gave him small amounts of money as most didn't pay any heed to his pitiable condition.

I had studied and believed that offering alms to beggars will only increase their quantity in our country. While my family believed that we should be kind towards everyone especially poor and needy ones. But I being a revolting teenager always used to keep my ideology superior to other's advice. Therefore, I didn't ask my uncle who was busy in bargaining for some items from his regular ration shop at the time to give some money to that beggar.

While coming back the same route, I again spotted that poor being and could not control my heart from helping him now. So I showed him to my uncle from a distance and asked if we should help him. My uncle being a generous person rightly brought out some coins from his trouser's inner pocket (people of those times didn't use to use wallets) and walked towards him. I had a different idea.

I confronted my uncle. "Won't giving them money will make their belief in begging stronger?", I told. He looked at my face with confusing looks. I continued, "Mamaji, khana khila dete hain!", as I had already seen him asking for food earlier. Uncle smiled big time and ruffled my hair in his exuberance, disturbing my hairstyle. But more importantly, he went to him and asked him, "Chalo baba, kuchh kha lo idhar" while pointing to a different food-hawker.

The beggar (should I call him that all throughout my story? I don't like it. Uncle only told me he ain't a beggar, he is a fakir) was surprised a bit but came quickly on his invitation to relieve himself from his hunger. Uncle gave me the money to pay to the hawker so that the fakir showers his blessings on me for my future well being.

Well, that one act of kindness coupled with my uncle's wisdom and fakir's blessings made me believe in this blissful act of humanity which is seemingly dwindling fast these days. From that day on, whenever I encounter any such person (old/weak male/lady) who are physically not capable of earning/supporting themselves, I try my best to offer them food from some nearby stall instead of handing money. Furthering this cause, I support Akshaya's Helping in HELP Trust in their work through yearly donations. May we all live a hunger-free life!

P.S. -- I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.

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