Life seems to be an untiring teacher. At every turn, in every twist, it holds out a lesson. Is it because we are the typical, indifferent, happy-go-lucky students who forget the lesson the moment the class is over? I wonder. But, whether we like it or not, the teacher teaches us constantly. It is up to us whether we learn or not. The other day, after my morning walk, I stopped my car at a roadside teashop in Secunderabad in India. I like to patronize the small vendors, whether it is the local grocer or the vegetable hawker who sells vegetables from house to house carrying the basket on her head. Or the flower seller on his cycle. My conviction is that my business with them goes a long way for them. The personal relationship built up through daily interaction goes a long way for me. Therefore, the stop at the ... Read Full Story >>
I live in an Indian city and at every traffic signal there are women and children who beg. Once, while I was driving by, I noticed a woman in tatters. So, the next day I brought along two used garments we call 'saris' which are five-metre pieces of cloth that we wrap around ourselves. She was happy and so was I.
Some days later when I stopped again at the traffic signal, I saw the same woman. When she saw me, she called out to another woman and said, "Say thank you to this lady, say thanks..she's the one who gave us the saris." This woman, who had no clothes worth wearing, had shared with another equally deprived woman one of the two saris I had given to her!
It is a lesson in generosity I will never forget. How often do we share although we have so much? Yet this woman with almost nothing didn't think twice about giving away half of her gifts!!
I have discovered the joy of speaking to strangers and now that I have crossed the age of 50 there is less danger of being misunderstood. The best thing about it is seeing the surprise and happiness of others when they are addressed or are included in the sharing a thought. Invariably, one kind gesture is returned with more kindness.
During my morning walk one day, I noticed a bush in front of a house that had half-opened buds of my favorite flowers that reminded me of my childhood. I went close to the bush for a better look and noticed the house lady looking at me curiously. I smiled and told her that I loved the flowers for their fragrance. She reciprocated. “I plucked them all for my morning prayers. You can have some,” she offered. I was touched by her generosity and blessed her in my heart for making my day.