Every morning, before the rooster crows, tales of gloom are being published somewhere in the city. At the crack of dawn, a bunch of men peddle around the city and drop these tabs at our doorsteps so that we may devour the distasteful actions of others simultaneously with our breakfast. It never ceases to amaze me that most people prefer to start their day, not with thoughts of gratitude or hope but with this chronicle of scams, murder and chaos.
It makes me question humanity. My faith in the very goodness of people is shaken as many times as I pick up a newspaper. It makes me wonder if I truly want to live in this world.
But then, there are those days when a tiny act of kindness will re-affirm the belief that people can be nice. Not everyone on the streets is looking to be callous, uncaring or hurtful. One such act happened last Sunday.
I was out with my cousin for shopping. I had to drop her back to her boarding school in a few hours and we figured that we’d pick up all her necessities en route. Being a weekend and the beginning of the furor that is Diwali, the mall was predictably buzzing. Since the only entry to the parking area was by the elevator, we waited for one to enter into.
As the elevator stopped, some people poured out and we waited to seep in. A man of 30, who was already in the elevator moved to the front and positioned himself in such a way so as to block the passage into the remaning spaces. We couldn’t possibly reach the empty crevices at the back without having to brush up against him improperly. At the time when I was asking him to move and he was pointedly ignoring my request, a lady who was already in the elevator nudged him a little and took my cousin by her arm and pulled her into the space behind the man. She smiled at me, as if she knew exactly what was going on in my head and proceeded to pull me in. I shot her a grateful glance and she just shrugged.
When the doors opened to the basement parking, she whispered into my ears; “I too have a daughter. I understand your predicament.”
And with that inconscpicuous action and statement, she reaffirmed my faith in the very niceness of strangers. We certainly don’t live in an era of castles or fairy godmothers, but we still live in a world of beauty. And just like the fantastical world we inhabited as a child, this world too, has its share of unpleasant people. And while our saviours are no longer weilding swords or riding horses, we still have compassionate people.
Why then, must we begin our day with accounts of sordid and depressing actions? Why then, do we not highlight such simple gestures of compassion?