#AtoZChallenge gratitude

An Act of Kindness #AtoZChallenge

An Act of Kindness #AtoZChallenge #Gratitude

With my son home for a short break, we’ve been reminiscing quite a lot as we enjoy conversations. My folks always tease me about my penchant for remembering all sorts of things. So many memories!

​We were talking about my school days and this is something he always finds amusing. From first grade to tenth grade, I studied in five schools across three cities. Each one was a major learning experience—not to mention a culture shock.

Perhaps my happiest move was after my sixth grade from a boarding school. After the academic year was up, I couldn’t wait to join my folks in a different city. I was going to live with my Grandma, Mom and Uncle (mom’s bro)—my three most favorite people in the world.

I was going to start seventh grade in a school about eight kilometers away. This involved traveling by bus from our place to the railway station and then walking a kilometer to school. It was an interesting year, what with my Uncle, fatigued by the long queue at the time of admissions, filled out my second language as Tamil by mistake, instead of Special English in the admission form. This couldn’t be changed and I spent summer brushing up on reading and writing my mother tongue.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Just for fun, when things went southwards last month, I made all sorts of lists. One of them was acts of kindness I’ve experienced when I least expected them. And one stood out, because I made tomato-onion gravy.

My Grandmother traveled to Mumbai every year, where she would spend two months with another of my Uncles. In her absence, my Mom, Uncle and I functioned like clockwork in the morning, cooking, packing lunches and making breakfast. Mom would leave at 6.45 am. Then I was next, at 7.30 am. Then Uncle, at 8.30 am.

Now, I would be the first to return, around 4 pm. Uncle would be home by 6 and Mom, by 7, after which we’d have dinner together and listen to the radio and talk about our days.

I didn’t carry a house key and so, after I returned from school, would settle on the front porch and finish my homework. My neighbor would offer a snack, but I’d politely decline and prefer to wait until my Uncle got home.

Then one day, I headed to my Uncle’s officer after school as I wanted to see some lab equipment we were learning about. After that was done, I sat in the open reception area, reading. One of his colleagues saw me there and chided him for making me wait. He then suggested that I go to his house, have something to eat and wait there until my Uncle got back home. After a little yes-no, my Uncle agreed.

His colleague lived in a tiny one-room house with his wife and two kids. It was one of those mud houses with a thatched roof. The room had a single light bulb. One wall was devoted to the kitchen area while its adjacent wall had a bench for visitors. The third wall had a couple of metal trunks with rolled bedding. They slept on the mud floor on a mat. The fourth wall had a small window and a door one had to bend to enter.

In spite of their own condition, they were abundant with their love. They treated me so lovingly. The colleague’s wife—I called her Aunt—would wait at their door step, busy shelling peas or cutting vegetables, or hanging out clothes to dry. The moment I arrived, she would get busy in her “kitchen”. After I had washed up, she’d serve me a plate of two rotis with delicious tomato gravy. It was invariably tomato-potato-onion. While I ate, her kids arrived and they’d join me. Then the three of us would settle down to do our school homework. Aunt would then serve us all some tea. We’d play for a while in the yard, until my Uncle turned up. I’d grab my bag and we’d walk home together.

Two days later, Aunt suggested that I leave a set of clothes at her place so I could change when I returned from school. She’d hold a saree like a curtain and turn the other way while I changed in a corner of the room.

This went on for two months.

I can never forget the love that family showered on me. I can never forget how they gave me a safe place to be for almost three hours after school—because when my Uncle had overtime he came back at 7 too.

I can never forget the warmth with which she put her arms around me and her kids and squeezed us in a hug. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can smell her–a mixture of food, soap and jasmine flowers with a bit of incense.

I make that tomato gravy often and when I sit down to eat it, my heart feels full.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see #InspiringQuotes #Kindness #AtoZChallenge

By way of an epilogue—we wanted to reciprocate their kindness. My Uncle bought his colleague a bicycle he was saving up for–and some gifts for the kids. Luckily Diwali was around the corner and that was an excellent excuse.

Do you think back and recall random acts of kindness you have received?

I’d love to hear your favorite in the comments.

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    April 1, 2018 at 10:44 am

    This is such a heartwarming post. It is usually seen that the people who dont have much materialistic wealth in their life are the most generous and kindest.

  • Reply
    Mayuri Nidigallu
    April 1, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Kindness always leaves a mark, that no length of time can fade. A beautiful memory, Vidya. Glad you shared.

  • Reply
    Ramya Abhinand
    April 1, 2018 at 11:41 am

    It is random acts of kindness such as these that make life worth living. I remember travelling with two tiny tots some years back on a long flight when the younger one was crank. A gentleman seated behind, came up to me, and picked up the child and walked down the lingth of the flight with her. IN a couple of minutes she was caom and after some few minutes fell asleep. SHall never forget his act of kindness.

  • Reply
    Roshan Radhakrishnan
    April 1, 2018 at 11:42 am

    This is a beautiful story. And it is important to chronicle these stories the way you did. More people need to see the good we are all capable of.

  • Reply
    Tamara
    April 1, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    What a lovely family! I’m pretty sure this experience contributed to your own kindness?!
    Happy Easter and a fabulous month of A-Z!

  • Reply
    Shilpa Gupte
    April 1, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    How beautiful and heart warming! It’s really so simple being kind towards another being.. All one needs to do is open your heart wide! This is such a precious memory Vidya!

  • Reply
    JazzFeathers
    April 1, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Such a great story. And it’s true, sometimes it’s small, everyday gesture of kindness that remain with us over the year and make small things become so much more imporant, enriching our life.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Reply
    Kalpana
    April 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    This was such a sweet story of your childhood – and that you remember it and appreciate what it meant. I must say you made the world a little brighter with that story.

  • Reply
    susan scott
    April 1, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Not only do we never forget such acts of kindness we commit to carrying them forward – pay it forward with no thought of reward or any such thing. Your post is lovely Vidya – it made such a lovely image in my mind as I was reading it …

    Yes something rather dear happened yesterday … from someone I least expected it.

  • Reply
    Shalini
    April 1, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    What a beautiful story, Mam. I was imagining the little you sitting alone in front of your locked house and then playing with the family. It is difficult to find such a selfless family these days. Happy A to Z 🙂

  • Reply
    Arti
    April 1, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Dear Vidya.
    My heart feels full after reading your beautiful memory.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Janet Yarwood
    April 2, 2018 at 12:46 am

    Such a beautiful story. True acts of kindness like this are never forgotten. Have fun with the #AtoZchallenge

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 2, 2018 at 6:03 am

    What a wonderful memory and such a sweet act of kindness.

  • Reply
    Shalzmojo
    April 2, 2018 at 9:29 am

    When one is living simply, one has so much more to offer- no? This is what I have been feeling since sometime now that all the money I spend on buying expensive gifts for peeps is such a waste when they welcome the warm meal I serve them more than anything. Or something I do to help them out in someway. I have met many such angels in my life when I was at a breaking point and boy was I grateful- your story reminded me of all of them. Bless this family and many others like them who are just brimming with love.

  • Reply
    G Angela
    April 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Very inspiring post vidya and yes world has some lovely people like the one who gave you a safe place to stay and also shared what she had with her. There are plenty of such moments in my life where people who do not know have been kind to me, your post brought some experiences filling me with gratitude, thanks for sharing your post.

  • Reply
    Soumya
    April 2, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Oh this is such a heartwarming post, Vidya.

    As someone who has learnt the importance of kindness only recently, I realize how blessed you must have felt back them. May that family have all the happiness in the world 🙂

    Love your theme and your post, hottie! <3

  • Reply
    SHEILA
    April 2, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Love your story for a-z challenge on kindness, It can start with us and be passed on to others,
    I have a kindness note book that helps me to remember others and motivate me to offer same.
    great reminder!

  • Reply
    Tawnya
    April 3, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Beautiful! I LOVE this idea! It makes me want to write my own memories down of kind acts that people have given me! Thank you for sharing a piece of your story!

  • Reply
    anupriya
    April 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I used to visit this particular shop in our local market where this uncle who must be my grndfather’s ae really pampered me. My mom pften asked me to be cautious, but he treated me like a princess with just the way he smiled when he saw me. Thanks for making me remember him.

  • Reply
    Neha Tambe
    April 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Oh! Such acts of kindness stay with you for ever. I remember being in 2nd or 3rd std and having to travel alone in a public transport for school everyday. A man one day started asking me questions like what was my name, where did I live etc and even before I could open my mouth, another uncle, who traveled regularly, just got up from his seat, and asked the guy to exchange the seat with him. I don’t remember the excuse he gave, but he sat next to me for the whole trip and kept giving me tips about talking to strangers. I felt so safe then!

  • Reply
    Birgit
    April 3, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    What a wonderful story and an experience you will never forget. Kindness is often overlooked by the negative events we experience in our life, when I was in high school, my grade 9 math teacher was a slimy jerk who made an advance towards me. I rebuffed him and from that point on, he never even answered an6 question I raised in class and then said I should take the grade 10 math class at a lower level because I was not smart enough to handle the regular class. I took the regular class and had a teacher that I thought was one of the most beautiful of men. Mr. Allison took the time with me and, at one point, when I was not understanding it at all, the kids were laughing at me and calling me stupid etc… Mr. Allison got angry! He raised his voice which he never did and he defended me…me! He told this others to shut up and he then calmly spoke to me and we went through the math problem and with that help I got a B. He was wonderful

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