Stories by Anon (16 matches)

Tagging the Whole Entire Plane!

What better way to start a journey than to tag the passengers on my flight? What to tag them with was the next question. The kids were easy. I went out to a party supply store and picked up a variety of goodies- bubbles, mini mazes, cards, candy, notebooks and pens. It was perfect, the store had smiley face bouncy balls and smiley face bags. But what of the adults, the day before my trip, I realized the perfect solution was in front of my eyes for weeks. For graduation, I had received a bag of smile stones. If you haven't had the pleasure of finding a smile stone, I hope you come across one. Smooth glass stones in a myriad of colours with smiley faces drawn on in permanent black. Mid-flight a child behind came crying to her family, it was time to begin. I pulled ... Read Full Story >>

6461 Reads

A Loaf of Bread

When I decided to be a part of the smile card experiment, the first person that came to mind to target was Lara, a fellow member of my research group and a mentor. I couldn't think of the perfect thing for her yet and on top of that found out that it was her birthday 2 months back. The next day, at a local deli, inspiration struck when I saw their freshly baked honey wheat bread. I picked up a loaf and headed to lab. Unfortunately or fortunately, Lara wasn't in her office, so I put a note on the loaf reading: Lara, Happy Belated Birthday! I really like this honey wheat bread and thought you would enjoy! An hour later, she comes by and I innocently tell her someone left a package for her. She reads the note and immediately looks at me, "Did you leave this?" I try my best to ... Read Full Story >>

5846 Reads

Incense and Generosity Bridge Faith Divide

In India, it is very common to see children and adults begging.  Standing at high density intersections, they can collect a good amount of money each day, while also enduring verbal and at times physical abuse.  It would be easy to say that they should be given work, but often they can earn more through begging than working. Without a doubt, there are those in genuine need who are begging, but there are many more who beg for a living.  As I made my way towards the rickshaw I had spotted, I slowed my pace as there was a man near the driver.  Moving closer, I saw that he wasn't a passenger disembarking, but someone selling incense.   Perhaps seeing me approaching, the driver put away his newly purchased incense and sent the man on his way.  While the scene on the surface was nothing extraordinary, there was something out of ... Read Full Story >>

5631 Reads

Good Foods, Good Smile Tags

A good friend of mine lives about 1 hour away. I called her last week and found out that she wasn't doing too well. Nothing big, but just bummed because a lot of things fell through which would make the following year a little more challenging. After hanging up with her, she was put on my smile list, but I couldn't think of what to do, but opportunities present themselves when you're not even looking. A few days later, some friends and I happened to be in her city eating at a restaurant with fabulous desserts. As we pored over the dessert menu, I got it. I turned to my friends and asked them if they wanted to join in on a game of tag. After explaining the idea, they were up to take 15 minutes more after a long day to make someone's day. ... Read Full Story >>

5517 Reads

Parle-G Biscuits and Grains

We live in a small flat in Ranip (in India). While all the families in the society live in flats, many families’ economic prosperity is not much better than many living in slum. One such family lives behind us. A couple lives with their son and the husband’s brother and mother in a small inherited two room flat, that is 8 feet by 15 feet in size. The entire household subsists on the daily wages of the daily wages the male earns from doing labor work (20 – 50 rupees/day). During Diwali, like all the other families, the wife was cleaning the home. Since they did not own a table, she stood on a tin box to clean the fan. Losing her balance, the tin slipped from underneath her and she fell on the back of head and had a brain hemorrhage. ... Read Full Story >>

5126 Reads

Sandals at New Year's Eve

Many people spend their New Year’s Eve, getting dressed up and dancing their way to midnight. We decided to do things a bit differently. We filled a backpack with clothes, shoes and other goodies and headed out to the railway station. The first person we spotted was a 15-16 year old boy picking up discarded plastic bottles on the platform. We called him over and started up a conversation.  We had a discrete look at his hands and noticed he had long fingernail.  We explained that it was important to keep short nails (studies have shown that disease occurrence in the poor can be reduced by 30% by keeping short fingernails) and then the two of us began cutting them for him.  When we were done, we offered him a chocolate bar, which made him look at us suspiciously. (In India, there is a fear that people cast spells on food and then lure children away).  ... Read Full Story >>

5034 Reads

A Little Bit of Love is the Price of the Fare

As I waited for the bus, a shuttle rickshaw came by.  It was headed towards my destination,and  since it was pretty much the same price as the bus I jumped in. Inside, I found a mother sitting with her daughter. The little girl was absolutely precious. She was all dressed up in a new outfit, her hair done, new shoes and a purse on her lap. I've been taking lessons from a lot of inspiring sources and knew this was the perfect time to meet some strangers. I began talking to the little girl. They were headed to her aunt's house to celebrate the holidays. She happily pointed out her school on route and told me about her shoes that squeek when she walks. Her enthusiasm and smile were heartwarming. While conversing, I noticed something unusual. The driver wasn't stopping at the bus stops en route to pick up more passengers. In my ... Read Full Story >>

4163 Reads

300 Rupees and a Blind Man

At Manav Sadhna, a non-profit organization in India, it’s a common site to see people come in asking to see Jayeshbhai (one of the Founders). One day, I was milling around when I saw an elderly man come in using a walking stick. It was obvious that the man was blind and as I went to him to offer my assistance, I found out that he was blind in both eyes. The man’s sons did not take care of the man, so he lived with his brother’s sons. Everything was fine at home, but the man did not want to be a financial burden on others. He wanted to support himself through his own sweat and effort. He could do the rope work for wooden bed frames and knew such a business in Palitana would do well. In order to start this business however, ... Read Full Story >>

3884 Reads

All You Need is Little Bit of Love

With the recent floods in Gujarat, India, I've been busy with flood relief work in the affected slums.  We distribute medicines, food, clothing, etc. but what is the most important thing to give is love. There are countless stories of how love makes a difference.  One important part of our work is going out, cutting fingernails, combing hair and playing with kids.  There is no particular incidence that strikes me but rather the power of simply giving love.  The magnetic force that drew kids to the volunteers was love, pure and simple.  As we talked to the kids, they seemed to blossom, basking in the attention that each was receiving. At one point, a bunch of kids had gathered around me, while I was watching over some pots of food, while others were going house to house for distribution.  Soon I was teaching head and shoulders, knees and toes and Simon says.  ... Read Full Story >>

3392 Reads

Answering Prayers

I was on my way to get some books for school, when I saw two old men sitting and talking in the sun near the bus stand. What struck me about them was not their stance, but rather their attire. Both were wearing old and torn clothes, one was barefoot and the other had on broken sandals. As of late, I’ve been keeping my eyes and heart open for opportunities to serve. Stocked with some extra clothing, it’s my job to find these items an appropriate new home. The men were engrossed in their conversation and did not pay heed to me as I inched closer to hear their words. “In these winter months, we’re lucky that the sun shines so brightly in the day and offers some heat in the cold, but what are we going to do at night? My blanket is thin and torn and offers no protection from ... Read Full Story >>

3258 Reads

Paying With Conversation

As I was waiting for the bus, I saw a shuttle rickshaw and decided to hope in.  Inside, I found a mother sitting with her daughter. The little girl was absolutely precious -- all dressed up in a new outfit, her hair done, new shoes and a purse on her lap. I began talking to the little girl. They were headed to her aunt's house to celebrate the holiday.  She happily pointed out her school on route and told me about her shoes that squeak when she walks.  Her enthusiasm and smile were absolutely heartwarming. While conversing, I noticed something unusual. The driver wasn't stopping at the bus stops en route to pick up more passengers. In my mind, I began to think if this trip was going to cost more than the bus fare.  "Maybe I should have asked how much it was going to be before I jumped in," ... Read Full Story >>

3132 Reads

Sharing Birthday Love

My sister is on the other side of the world.  I'm volunteerting in India while she's at home in Canada. While I can't be there physically to celebrate her birthday, I wanted to spread some love to mark the day. I set off to the market to get ingredients for cookies when I saw an old man carrying a long rod with a weight on one end and a large tray holding food which he was selling on the other hand.  Perfect! I went up to the man and took the rod off his shoulder and walked with him for the next half kilometer, talking to him and his grandson who appeared after a few minutes.  The grandfather and boy are the only regular income generators in the family.  The boy and granddad go out after the boy gets back from school.  After walking and talking to the wonderful pair, as I left ... Read Full Story >>

2460 Reads

Blanket from God

I was on my way to get some books for school, when I saw two old men sitting and talking in the sun near the bus stand. What struck me about them was not their stance, but rather their attire. Both were wearing old and torn clothes, one was barefoot and the other had on broken sandals. As of late, I’ve been keeping my eyes and heart open for opportunities to serve. Stocked with clothing, it’s my job to find these items an appropriate new home. The men were engrossed in their conversation and did not pay heed to me as I inched closer to hear their words. “In these winter months, we’re lucky that the sun shines so brightly in the day and offers some heat in the cold, but what are we going to do at night? My blanket is thin and torn and ... Read Full Story >>

1632 Reads

Cleaning with New Eyes

I can't really throw stuff out. Call me a packrat or blame on my parents who grew up with very little and instilled the idea of keeping everything, I simply can't throw stuff out. Now you can imagine what packing up my apartment was like after living there for three years. We didn't grow through the annual purging process typical of college students, instead my possessions simply grew over the years. Finally the time came, it was time to pack up and move all my stuff... across the continent. You can imagine that space was somewhat of a constraint on what I could keep. As I watched my roomate pack up within a day, either throwing stuff out or packing it up, I couldn't follow suit. The environmentalist in me could never throw away paper, it always had to be recycled, and now how could ... Read Full Story >>

1538 Reads

A Smile is Universal

My time at Aravind has been going well so far. Yesterday, I went to an eye camp, which is basically a van of doctors and nurses that goes out to remote villages to do eye screening. I've realized that Tamil and Malayalam are not as similar as I thought, so I have had a difficult time communicating with the patients. But, the patients here are all so receptive of a nice smile that can sometimes understandably be compromised by the doctors here due to the large number of patients that they see. This was especially true with a lot of the patients yesterday. I would smile at them and they would begin to talk to me in Tamil. When I told them that I didn't understand Tamil...a phrase that I have found very useful...some still continued to talk to me in words that they knew Tamil and Malayalam shared. It was great! I've realized that a smile is really universal!

1372 Reads

Colours of Light

It's Diwali or the Festival of Lights. During the five days, women draw beautiful images outside their homes with coloured sand, rice and grains (called rangolis) to decorate their homes and welcome the new year and visitors. This year, I took inspiration from a wonderful person I work with who is absolutely amazing at making rangolis. His work is beautiful. I decided after seeing him make so many that I was going to try my hand at rangolis. So I did. Off I went, practicing first outside my home. Loaded with tons of coloured sand, I thought of whose homes I should make rangolis at. Good family friends of ours live in the same city as I. They treat me like a daughter and are my family here. My uncle and aunt as I call them have two sons, no daughters ... Read Full Story >>

1165 Reads



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Tagging the Whole Entire Plane!

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