Yesterday I was waiting at the end of the small road in our colony. The road leads to the main road and one has to wait a long time to cross the main road due to the packed traffic during peak hours. And then I saw a blue Santro slowing down and the driver signaled to me to cross the road. Absolutely taken aback at his gesture I drove into the main road and crossed it, stopped the bike and waved a thanks to the guy. He waved back and drove off. I was so touched with this gesture that I could only stare stupidly at his receding back!
Last week I was crossing the road in front of my house and I saw a car coming in full speed down the road. I stopped ready to turn back but the moment the car driver saw me, he slowed down, stopped and gestured to me to cross. I said a thank you and crossed the road. He drove off but he left a very grateful girl on the road.
This has happened to me several times while crossing the road on foot or on bike. People have actually stopped and given way knowing that I am waiting for a pause in the traffic to cross the road. Some have even held up traffic for pedestrians like me. And none of them tried to act fresh or over friendly. They just did their small act of kindness and moved on. I remember every single incident because it made a big impression on me. Random acts of kindness from random strangers.
Many a times I am surprised by guys holding the door open for me. People who feel that they should hold the door for a lady unlike the twits who bang the door on your face.
What makes these people so different from others? Why do some guys try to mow you down or speed up when they see you crossing the road while others slow down to help you along?
When you are so used to an insensitive and callous world, such random acts of kindness leaves lasting impressions on you! Today as I drove to office I saw an old lady trying to cross the road. I stopped the car and she smiled gratefully and crossed the road. I thought nothing of it. Then it occurred to me with a bang that I had done the same thing that others had done for me. I guess it was because I realized the difficulty of crossing a road during peak hour traffic. Perhaps it is realization of others predicaments that makes people help them, because they themselves have been in the same situation.
I hate doors being left to swing on my face. So I make sure I hold the door till it closes. It is when you put yourself in other peoples shoes that you appreciate their position. And these Samaritans who helped me cross the road or held the door open for me were such people. What makes them sensitive and the rest insensitive? Have you observed your maid servant? If she is taking home some food and finds another maid going home without food, she will give her some of hers. That’s because she has experienced days when she did not get left overs and maybe had to do with a bun or a banana.
Being kind to a fellow stranger requires great sensitivity I guess. Or maybe just observational powers and motivation. I have never understood why some people can understand other peoples predicament having been in their shoes once, while others completely miss it.
Sikh stand-up comedy anyone? Click here, here and here! Quite good! And do check out Vijai Nathan too. Links courtesy "long time reader"