We all can count the number of seeds in a fruit, but can we count the number of fruits in a seed?
What will happen, if you give without expecting anything back? A lot of happiness…and a lot of questions. In these times of what-is-in-it-for-me, people don’t believe you, if you offer them anything for nothing. They try to find out the reason. If it is not obvious, they try harder…looking for an ulterior motive. What was our motive?
One morning, a group of friends, got together and prepared ‘poha’ (flattened rice) and ‘nimbu-pani’ (sweet lemon water) at home. We then went to a nearby garden, where people throng for morning walks, jogging etc. A few friends made a beautiful ‘rangoli’ (decorative design on a floor) with flowers, just inside the entrance. Poha went into paper-bowls and nimbu-pani in plastic glasses. And the fun began…
We offered them to people walking by. The first reactions were puzzled, or plain curious. Who are we? What are we doing? And why? Are we selling something? If not, what’s the catch? When we asked them to have fresh poha and lime juice, they were hesitant. But, we were persistent.
Some smiled and asked, why are we distributing these? Is it a festival, a special occasion…? We replied, no, just out of love. No strings attached, no expectations. In disbelief, they followed with, which organisation, institution…? We are just a bunch of friends, we answered. Furtively, they tried looking for a banner of an organisation or a symbol or anything that can subside their curiosity about this undefined act. What most they could find, was a poster that said ‘food + love = prasad’. Finding no clue whatsoever, they were flabbergasted, but still gave it another shot; ok, but there must be a message. What was our message?
Soon, some elderly people started having it. Children were not only having it, but also demanding more for their friends. A group of ladies started appreciating the mint leaves we put in the lime juice. Now seeing people relishing it, others stopped too. Asking the similar set of questions in different variations and then settling down to having the hot poha and / or cool nimbu-pani, with a smile on their faces. Seeing those smiles and the hint of blessing in their eyes, it felt as if, more than the happiness we were giving, was the happiness we were receiving.
The caretaker of the garden emerged and asked, what we are doing. When told, he was very appreciative and said, had he known earlier, he would have arranged for media to cover such benevolent initiative. An old gentleman, regular to the park, sat with us and talked, his eyes welling up with emotions. More such initiatives should happen, he said. People were happily surprised, felt a little better about the world in general, about the society and most importantly, about themselves. Some even decided to do something similar. Youngsters were talking to each other that there is hope…still.
And slowly but steadily, the poha and nimbu-pani finished. What wasn’t finished…was the hope. The hope that, the children who enjoyed it without a care, would remember this and care for others, when they grow up. The hope that, the youngsters will talk to their peer group about this unique scene in a garden (some took photographs from their mobile) and spread the message. The hope that, the people who experienced an act of pure selfless serving – an offering made without any expectations of return, will pay it forward. The hope that, there will be many more random acts of kindness. The hope that, they will do a good selfless deed to others, as we did it to them. Perhaps, that was our message.
People are generous, but the environment around makes them skeptical. Initiatives like this gives a sign that their surrounding space is positive. Habituated of listening to negative news, this comes like a breath of fresh air. It brings them closer to their own kind true selves and starts a ripple effect. Today, they are the recipient of a selfless act of kindness, tomorrow they will be the initiator. And by doing so, they will start another ripple…which will then cause more ripples to follow…and so on. It is like, you can count the number of seeds in a fruit, but the number of fruits in a seed…is countless. Hope, we provided that seed, of a selfless deed, which will cause a change indeed. Perhaps, that was our motive.
What do you think about this little initiative? What else can we all do together?
Do share your thoughts and ideas, in comments below.
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