May I Help You?

Posted by Meghna Banker on Mar 11, 2019
7031 reads  
[In a Laddership Circle last month, a dozen of us had a thoughtful-provoking dialogue around the topic of scale and ripples, where Naren shared this stunning story below!]

My dad was visiting us in the U.S. from India, and on the cold, winter mornings, he takes a walk. He's been a walker all his life. He's now 86 years old, and still gets up at 4:30AM and walks two miles. So he walks, and because it's cold, he walks in the mall. One time, he saw that there was a desk at the mall, where volunteers sit down to help. They simply see a board which says: "May I help you?"

For him, it was a new concept, coming from India for the first time. Something resonates in him.

That was almost 20 years ago.

As soon as he returns to India, he makes a small cardboard sign, which says: "May I help you?" in English, Hindi and Kannada. Then, he goes to a local hospital and sits there.

He says, "Look, I just need a chair. I will sit here."

And believe it or not, he hangs that board around his neck, because they didn't have a table, and sits there.

Today, after 20 years, it's a 70+ person organization, composed of all senior citizens who are highly educated. And what does my Dad do? He helps the illiterate fill out the forms when they were admitted to the hospital. He shows them where the departments are, explains to them what is the difference between pediatrics and something to do with x-rays, in his own way.

One thing led to another. It was a ripple effect. Now it has become a movement, where he's almost there every single day. It has become the purpose of his life. In the process, he learned about body donation, this, that, and the other. And has lived that whole example by himself.

So that left me thinking, why do we always use stone as an example for a ripple? Why not the dry, light leaf? Why don't we say: "When a leaf drops, there is a ripple."

Posted by Meghna Banker | | permalink

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Comments (11)

  • Michaele Premet-Rosen wrote ...


  • Mohan wrote ...

    Very well said.

  • Birju Pandya wrote ...

    stunning story. wow!

  • Andy wrote ...

    In my reality, this is exactly how the world works. I love having the illustration because it makes it come even more alive in my heart and mind.

  • Somik Raha wrote ...

    Loved this story! Indeed, the lightness of a leaf holds out an invitation to lighten ourselves of our agendas.

  • Richard Whittaker wrote ...

    really a wonderful story. thank you.

  • Preeta wrote ...

    Wow!! So amazingly simple. So simply amazing.

  • Shreenabh Agrawal wrote ...

    This story reminds me of my grandmother who helps the little girls in the slum area near my house by teaching them how to keep themselves clean and healthy. She gives them combs, oil and soap as gifts and teaches them to use these. Please convey my BIG Thank You to your Oldy Goldy!! And a lots of hugs to you too for sharing this story here.

  • Anu Jain wrote ...

    Such a simple, beautiful and powerful action. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.Write a comment ...

  • Shyam Gupta wrote ...

    beautiful story. My friend , who is at present in Bir ( a small viilage in Himachal pradesh in India ) was telling me about the good nature of the people there.
    In cities , if you ask someone the way to a place , the best they will do is guide you well. At Bir they will go along with you and drop you there. Such a simple but a profound gesture.

  • Amber Brion wrote ...

    Your father is a philanthropist, he has a kind heart, and thank you for sharing his story. SEO expert Cincinnati