Where Does A Ripple Begin And Where Does It End?
Posted by Rohit Rajgarhia on Aug 9, 2020
One of the hands practice of our first Laddership Pod read -- “take a walk without a destination.” During our call, Shyam shared his experience of that act -
"I've recently been thinking of embarking on a sacred, 2700 kilometer walking pilgrimage in India, that is done without any money. Seeing this prompt, I thought that perhaps I experimented today by walking for 22 kilometers. As I was departing, I thought to leave behind my phone and wallet, just like the pilgrimage. But then, with my health, I wasn't sure if I would just be able to survive 22 kilometers -- so I took two bananas along with me.
Little more than half way through the walk, I ran into a young man on the streets of Delhi, who was literally crying. Saddened by it, I approached him to console him. He told me that he hadn't had any food for 2 days. Because of Covid-19, his personal situation was quite bleak. Usually, I would've given him something, but I didn't have my wallet or my phone. Just then, I remembered my two bananas -- and I gave it to him. We sat together for a few minutes as kindred spirits.
Later, as I was walking, I realized that it was the first time in my life that I had given everything I had. Most of the time, I give from my leftovers. I take care of myself and then give to others. Today, I gave everything I had. It was a wonderful feeling of connection with the universe."
As serendipity would have it, that day was also Shyam's 61st birthday!
We sang a birthday song at the end of the call, and learned a bit more of his ever-kind spirit. Given our shared values, some of us felt that we do a small act of kindness and dedicate it to him.
More than 30 people did an act of kindness, in their local context and left a story behind. It found expression in a quirky and touching video.
Shyam being Shyam, he said “My impromptu birthday celebration was my best one in 61 years and will stay with me for decades.” (while another participant said that this video triggered ideas for a labour-of-love project for her).
He added "I am filled with tears of joy. I will pay forward your love with a dedicated act of kindness every single day of my 61st year." Below is the super special, highly inspiring first monthly batch (best read with a tissue box) --
♥ An old man was walking in the park and his shoe laces were open. I mentioned it to him , but seeing his inability to tie them himself, I tied it up for him.
♥ A person was going carrying two small food bags on his head and a small gas cylinder in his hand. I could see his discomfort carrying all three things. I walked up and took his cylinder and walked beside him to drop him at his home.
♥ Got a message in our group , an old couple needing an Oximeter in a different city. Googled a chemist near to his place and got the Oximeter delivered to him.
♥ My daughter had packed festival sweets to be eaten along with my tiffin. Shared it with co workers.
♥ Saw a person walking without a mask. With folded hands offered him a spare mask and asked him to use it.
♥ Saw a crippled dog trying to walk on the road. Got off from my car, offered him food out of my tiffin.
♥ Got an opportunity, as a volunteer, to read evaluate essays written by youngsters across the world. Mentioned to someone she also wanted to volunteer. Since no spot was available, gave half of my allotted essays to her to evaluate.
♥ A Young lady, whom I had supported in treatment of her mother, informed me about the death of her mother. Spoke to her for a very long time for consoling her.
♥ Came to know about a paralysed person, spoke to his family and offered help and assistance and support.
♥ During dinner, noticed that one vegetable would fall short for people who would be eating after me. Ate very less of that vegetable.
♥ During rakhi festival, purposely made a point to visit my cousin sister, whose husband had passed away some months back , to console her and be with her despite there being a lockdown.
♥ My sister had given me sweets while coming back . Gave the box to my driver.
♥ Had two new T shirts , lying in my cupboard for some time. Gave them away to two different sweepers.
♥ A small puppy had been run over and was badly wailing, awaiting death. Called up a vet and also called up an ambulance so that it may get some relief.
♥ Helped a person understand his prescription by googling all information and providing it to him.
♥ Gave a banana and a Cadbury to a courier boy.
♥ Purchased Cotton masks from an NGO deploying under privileged woman and distributed to whoever would use.
♥ While buying fruits for home, instead of taking back change asked him to give bananas and distributed them on the way.
♥ In a community reading programme, saw a person , visibly struggling while reading, due to some disturbance and impromptu started reading his part.
♥ Saw Earthworms on the walking track a, picked them up and put them beside the track.
♥ Saw a lady struggling in the park , due to the presence of a ferocious street dog. Got in between the two, till the lady safely moved away.
♥ One of the relatives wanted a pack of sweets delivered to her friend. Googled, found a way to deliver , and got it delivered. When she wanted to pay me the amount, asked her to help another person with a need.
♥ One of the cow loving groups wanted to get water drums for stray cows. Located them from our factory and donated it to them.
♥ One known ( not so well off) person’s father passed away. Consoled him and helped him financially to tide over the crisis and expenditure.
♥ While supplying medicines , as part of my project, came to know , someone needs a diagnosis. Got her diagnosis done.
♥ While supplying Medicines , as part of my project, came to know, one patient wanted to eat fruits and could not afford fruits, so arranged it for him.
♥ One person was giving missed calls , and when enquired , he said he wanted to talk to me but had no charge left , recharged his phone .
♥ Saw snails on the walking track, picked them up and put them beside the track.
♥ Noticed RO water being wasted in our house. Started having my bath with that water and have made it a daily practice.
♥ With a view to save environment , stopped consuming Packaged food for a month. ( I am inspired to extend it further)
♥ With a view to protect environment, have stopped using the Air conditioner, except on exceptionally hot days.
Every time I feel I know kindness, stories like these luckily shake-up my assumptions. What a blessing and a delight to be around people who are always deepening the commitment to compassion in such sensitive, gentle and emergent ways. Super thanks to everyone’s favourite Shyam ji, he is 61 but his spirit to be-the-change and flip the selfishness to kindness makes him young as 16.