THE LITTLE ACTS OF KINDNESS; published in Daily Dawn Magazine

We generally think that life is all about grand deeds and great achievements. However, it is our little, nameless acts of kindness, which we hardly remember, that actually beautify our as well as others lives.

It was a hot summer day. I was standing in an overcrowded, speedy coach on my way to home. Suddenly the bus driver applied full breaks to avoid an accident and I lost my balance. Before I collapsed, the girl sitting in front of me politely clutched my hand. She put my bag in her lap and kept on holding me with her other hand for the rest of the journey. We had no relation, yet her timely act of kindness filled my heart with thankfulness and hers’ with pleasure, as was evident from her glowing face. We could hardly exchange a few words as the bus soon reached my destination. An impulsive act of kindness by a complete stranger made her a memorable character for me.

In the modern, fast moving world, kindness without interest is considered strange. Most of the time, we run after our set goals –- money, status, fame, name and people who can be beneficial to us. At least once in your life, try to help someone without any selfish intention, without any desire for reward and recognition; you will feel a unique sense of joy and pride. And once you have that feeling, you will develop an ever-growing urge for being kind and helpful to others.

I still remember that old, smiling uncle of our childhood who distributed sweets and love among all the children of vicinity.  His unconditional generosity made him every child’s favourite and we cherished him as an angel.

Love and kindness establish a bond that is stronger than any other relation.The people who help us in need and in trouble have become dearer than the rest. A friend of mine desperately contacted an ex-university fellow for some professional guidance after her divorce. The kind fellow listened to her patiently, gave her best possible advice and comforted her by mentioning many other similar cases. They frequently talked to each other after that and soon become best friends.

For some of us, friendly smiles, cheerful gestures, boosting comments, helping hands, little favours and others feelings might not be that worthy; but indeed such little acts of kindness have great value.Apparently insignificant moves might make a great difference to others. Imagine by removing a stone or broken glass from a road or pathway, you can save someone from an accident. By giving place to a senior citizen in a public bus or in a bank line, you can get immense joy.

Quite often we help ourselves by helping others. One day while returning from office, some of my colleagues asked me for lift. I was in hurry so I started thinking about an excuse but couldn’t say no. I had to change my route for them and it saved me from a serious accident on my regular route on the very day. Since then, I try to be less selfish and look for opportunities to do small favours to others. Who knows God helps us in which way?

It’s said that love cures people; both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. So try love humanity, the best medicine for all our sufferings and sorrows. When you feel lonely, don’t attend parties, rather look for other lonely people around you and make a company. When you are hurt, don’t take revenge; rather identify people who are more tormented than you. By sharing their pains, you can get true relief.

It might sound quite idealistic but frankly it’s more practical than anything else since it is based on personal experience. After going through a setback in my life, I suffered with serious depression and anxiety. I lost faith in everything including life and was even considering suicide very often.

I found a silver lining in the dark clouds of despair when one day I accidently came across a charity organization for orphan and abandoned children. Initially, I visited the place just to accompany my friend but soon started enjoying the time I spent with the little kids. After meeting them, I realised what real suffering was. They taught me the art of courageous living against all odds.  In reality they are my rescuers who help me forget my pain.

Quite often our sufferings make us sensitive to others’ pain. But how many of us ever bother to take trouble for them. Many people might have lost their loved ones due to cancer but how many of them would ever try to help cancer patients within their capacity. We don’t actually need to build a hospital like Imran Khan to do so; our weekly visit to such patients and little emotional support can make a world of difference.

It is said that the best charity is one that involves one’s self. A broken heart, an abandoned child, a lonely old fellow and a depressed soul don’t need our money. They need love, attention and company. By teaching someone who can’t afford formal education, by listening to those who have no one to talk, by sharing a few moments of joy and sorrows with the sick and old, we can help others in a true sense.

Abdul Sattar Edhi once said that they never face short of funds. But there are very few people in our country, especially from affluent and educated background who are willing to devote their time and energy for a social cause.

Charity and kindness are the spirit of human soul. It begins from home and extends to the entire mankind. It gives meaning to our existence and makes us believe in human values. So if you want to live happily, be kind and generous to others. Make a difference in someone’s life and feel difference in your own world.

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