Because Kindness keeps the world afloat
It was the very first day of the New Year, 2021. I was just wandering around my home. It was a beautiful evening; the sun was almost down, and the night started to settle in. Different shades of colors painted the sky, making it to look like a canvas from an oil painting. I took my phone out to check my messages. Just like any other year, I could see that the people making new year’s resolutions with so much interest that they publish them on social media. Unfortunately, almost all those resolutions end in vain. That is the reason why I do not take any such resolutions.
I came across the junction and crossed the road. There was a tollgate ahead, so the place was very busy, with a lot of vehicles and people. It was a local landmark. By the tollgate, were some homeless people, living on the streets, sleeping by the cement corridors outside the nearby shops. They even had kids, and the families did some odd jobs to make ends meet. At night, I have seen them sharing their food with their groups and then getting ready to sleep. They would just take a piece of cloth and use it as their bed. They would sleep peacefully with it even though there would be a lot of disturbances in the background and the constant trouble of mosquitos. Also, they were prone to any accidents that may occur, which by the way had occurred more frequently.
Sometimes, I would wonder how would it be if I switched places with one of them. “What would it like to be a homeless person and live on the street?”. The thought itself scared me, especially considering the pandemic. I thought about their meager income in a demanding society. Sure, it will be a fraction of what I am earning. My single mobile phone will serve them food for an entire year, such a gloomy comparison. I could not help but feel a pang of guilt.
My conscience was riddled with questions. “What is wrong with me?”, “What is wrong with the society?”, “Why would someone have to struggle even for a single meal?”, “What did they do to not deserve a roof above their heads?”, “Why would they struggle for a decent pair of clothes?”, “In what universe this discrimination is fair?”.
I could not give myself any answer. Also, I could not think of any good reason why this kind of discrimination exists. On one hand, there were people filthy rich, so much so they can even buy a village or a town if they wanted. On the other hand, were these people whose immediate problem and concerns will start and end with the necessities of life which most of us take it for granted: food, shelter, and clothing. The more I thought about it, the more somber I became.
Another memory flashed inside my mind, it was the same place, but a few months earlier, I was coming outside a shop and I saw a few kids begging me for some money. The Lockdown was really a difficult time for the entire country, more so for the poor and homeless. I helped them with whatever I could, and just as I was leaving the place, I saw two guys coming on their bike with a lot of parcels in their hands. From the look of it, I deduced that they were food packets. One of them got down and gifted a small kid with a parcel, the kid’s face lighted up. They then moved on to the next place to proceed the good deed.
I was happy, in fact, happier than before. It not only feels glad to help someone, it also inspires others to reciprocate the act. Kindness is a beautiful thing; it is the quality that makes people really beautiful. Kindness is like a boomerang, if you help some random stranger without any expectation, then it will surely start a chain reaction and all those are involved in it will feel and spread the kindness. It will reach you back tenfold. It was good to see people bringing their good side to the world during the time of crisis when it was needed more than ever.
I came out from my train of thoughts and found myself inside a bookstore. I was standing opposite the portrait of one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time, “Mahakavi Bharathiyar”. I took a big book from the shelf. It was a collection of all his work through his lifetime. It felt good to read it, so I reached for the counter to make that treasure mine. But I stopped short, my heart told me that I had missed something. I noticed the portrait once again, down were the words written in my mother tongue with pride:
தனி ஒரு மனிதனுக்கு உணவில்லை எனில்
இந்த ஜகத்தினை அழித்திடுவோம்
[Translation: If One Man Doesn’t get food, we shall destroy the world!]